FAQs for Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is special experience for every mother, for multiple reasons. It gives the mother an opportunity to be close to and bond with her baby. It is cost saving and has health benefits for both mother and baby.
Here, you’ll find facts and answers to some of the common queries related to breastfeeding.
Why should I breastfeed?
A:Breastfeeding is normal and good for the infant’s and mom’s health. Breast milk contains hormones and disease-fighting proteins (called “antibodies”) that protect the baby against germs and illness. This makes breast milk very distinctive from other products, and helps to meet all the baby’s needs. Some reasons to breastfeed are:
- Breastfeeding contains vital nutrients and is a nutritionally balanced meal for young babies
- Breast milk is easy to digest
- Breast milk protects against disease
What is colostrum and how does it benefit the baby?
A:Colostrum is the first thick milk produced by the mother, immediately after birth. It is deep yellow in colour. This milk is enriched with nutrients and antibodies (disease-fighting proteins) which give the baby complete nutrition and prevent the baby from getting certain illnesses and infections.
How long should I breastfeed?
A:The experts say that a baby should be only given breast milk (it’s called “exclusive breastfeeding”) for 6 months after birth. After that, breastfeeding can be continued with other supplements up to 2 years of age or beyond.
How often should I breast feed my baby?
A:Breastfeed a baby “on demand”, which means, whenever the baby is hungry, or at least 8 times a day, or after every 2-3 hours as per the need.
Does my baby need cereal or water?
A:Until your baby is 6 months old, your baby should consume breast milk only. Giving your baby cereal may decrease their intake of the breast milk, which can decrease your milk supply. You can gradually start introducing other foods after 6 months of age.
Can I take medicines if I am breastfeeding?
A:You would need to ask your doctor before consuming any medicine, as almost all medicines can pass into your milk in small amounts. Some have no effect on the baby and can be used while breastfeeding.
- A Fact Sheet From The Office On Women’s Health. Breastfeeding. Cited 2016 April 20. Available from: http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/OWH_FS_Breastfeeding_7-25-2014.pdf.
- National Health Portal, India. FAQs’ on breastfeeding. Cited 2016 April 20. Available from: http://www.nhp.gov.in/faq-s-on-breastfeeding_pg.