Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization as a first choice of food for newborns. They recommend that a baby is breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, and then when complementary foods are introduced breastfeeding should extend for at least two years.
There are a few reasons to consider breastfeeding:
-breastmilk contains all the essential nutrients that a baby needs to thrive, as well as antibodies to keep them protected against common childhood illnesses.
-it’s good for the person breastfeeding. It can prevent postpartum depression, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer.
You might be surprised to learn that breastfeeding is a learned behavior. A person does not instinctively know how to breastfeed so it is crucial that you have the support of those around you while you are learning to breastfeed. Even if you’ve done it before there can oftentimes be different challenges (or not!) with each baby.
If you want to breastfeed communicate this with your partner so that they can prepare themselves to assist you. There are many ways that partners can support the breastfeeding person. Making nutritious food and making sure that it is eaten, keeping the breastfeeding person well hydrated, and taking care of household chores is very important as breastfeeding takes up a lot of time and energy. Being present, listening to the struggles, and supporting the choices (to keep breastfeeding, stop breastfeeding, supplementing etc.) is also essential.
If you’re struggling be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor for tips.
It’s always nice to have company and that’s where local support groups are absolutely essential to finding the peer support that you need.
Facebook has a great group called Nursing Moms in the Valley https://www.facebook.com/groups/511816805498217/ where there are a ton of lovely and knowledgeable people who are happy to offer guidance.
You can also get some great information from lactation consultants like LIquid Gold Lactation and Mother/Infant Support https://www.facebook.com/LiquidGoldBFS/ and Simply Nourish https://www.facebook.com/simplynourishlactation/
Check out your local Public Health Unit and Family Place for breastfeeding groups that you can attend and talk to other breastfeeding people in person.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding: wonderful! If you’re not planning on breastfeeding: wonderful!
Make sure that you make an informed and educated decision based on what would work best for you and your family. The most important thing to remember is that breastfeeding is not always for everyone and a fed baby is what matters.