Breastfeeding basics: Set yourself up for nursing success

During pregnancy, you and your partner will spend time getting ready for the new arrival. Many expectant moms and their partners prepare a nursery, attend birthing classes, and tour the hospital where they will deliver. Another important consideration is whether to explore breastfeeding. Our San Antonio women’s center team understands the thoughtfulness and deliberation required to make this very personal decision about nursing and nurturing your baby.

Breastfeeding at a glance

Also referred to as nursing, breastfeeding involves feeding the baby with breastmilk, typically directly from your breast. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) both encourage using this natural feeding approach exclusively for the first six months. At that point, you can introduce solid foods, but should continue breastfeeding too, up to age one.

Benefits of nursing your baby

Both mother and baby can reap the rewards of a natural feeding approach. For newborns, breastmilk provides an ideal mix of vitamins and nutrients that babies need to grow. Additionally, breastmilk contains antibodies that protect the baby from a variety of germs and illnesses. Modern research also shows that babies who exclusively breastfeed are healthier overall and make fewer trips to the doctor.

New mothers also experience benefits from nursing. The physical connection and skin-to-skin contact facilitate immediate bonding between mother and baby. Because your body burns extra calories with this feeding method, you will often lose postpartum weight more quickly. Healthwise, breastfeeding may reduce your risks of diabetes, certain cancers and osteoporosis.

Tips to get started

Although breastfeeding is the best option, getting started can be challenging. Initially, your baby receives colostrum until your milk comes in. Consider the following suggestions to make sure you and your baby have the most rewarding feeding experience.

  • Make your wishes known, so that the nurses can assist you with nursing as soon as possible after the birth.
  • Be patient with yourself and your baby, as it can take time to get into a natural rhythm.
  • Get comfortable, so that you and your baby can relax and not have interruptions during feeding time.
  • Watch for signs of success from your baby, including numerous wet and/or dirty diapers and regular weight gain.
  • Take care of yourself. This means eating well and getting as much rest as possible.
  • If you have difficulty, contact a lactation professional who can provide extra help.

Welcoming a new baby is a wonderful, exciting time in your life. The doctors at our San Antonio women’s center are here to support you each step of the way. Contact our office for more information about breastfeeding or any other concerns that you have.