The World Health Organization recommends mothers worldwide to "exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months of age to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Nutritious complementary food could be given after the age 6 months, with breastfeeding continued up to the age of two year or beyond."
Your baby does not need to drink water for the first 6 months; your milk is all he/she needs. Avoid giving your baby bottles, pacifiers or using nipple shields in the first few weeks of life unless directed by the Physician. The more often you breastfeed, the more milk you make.
Benefits of Breastfeeding:
|For the Infant||For the Mother|
Promotes correct development of
jaw and teeth
Enhances performance on cognitive development tests
Enhances immune system
Decreases the incidence and severity of infectious diseases
Protects against non-infectious diseases
Decreases risks of childhood obesity
Protects against allergies and intolerances.
Provides safe and fresh milk
Promotes mother-child bonding
Increases energy expenditure, which may
lead to faster return to before pregnancy
Promotes the return of the uterus to its normal size
Reduces blood loss after delivery
Decreases risk for chronic diseases such
as type 2 diabetes
Improves glucose profile in gestational diabetics
Reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer
Improves bone density and decreases
risk for hip fracture
Saves time from preparing and mixing formula
Breast Milk Changes:
Breast milk changes from colostrum to mature milk during 3 days after delivery to provide adequate nutrition for your baby and promote appropriate growth.
Colostrum is often thick, creamy, yellow milk rich in nutrient and antibodies that protect your baby from infections and diseases
Feeding frequency and duration
Try to breastfeed right after delivery if possible. Continue to breastfeed your baby every 2 to 3 hours even if your milk has not come in or you do not have a lot of milk yet.
In the early days of life, breastfeed your baby on demand (every1 to 3 hours), make sure feedings are at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.
Try to breastfeed for at least 10 to 15 minutes on each breast and alternate the breast you begin with at each feeding
Try to begin feeding your baby before he or she becomes too upset.
Breast Milk Pumping:
If you are unable to breastfeed your baby directly, it is important to suck milk from each breast during the times your baby normally would feed. This will help you continue to make milk. At first, milk supply might be low, but it will increase gradually with more pumping.
Make sure you wash your hands and nipples with water and soap before expressing or handling breast milk
Expressed Breast Milk Storage:
|At room temperature (<25 ͦC) for 3 to 4 hours|
Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible.
Covering milk with cool towel may keep milk cooler
|In the refrigerator (0-5ͦ°C) for 2 to 3 days||Store milk in the back of the main body of the refrigerator|
|In the freezer (-18°C) for 3 to 6 months||Store milk toward the back of the freezer, where temperature is most constant. |
How to Get the Frozen Expressed Milk Ready:
By transferring it to the refrigerator for thawing
By holding it under warn running water or setting it in a container of warm water
Avoid using a microwave oven to thaw or heat bottles of breast milk
Do not re-freeze breast milk once it has been thawed
Thawed breast milk can be used within 1 to 2 hours if kept at room temperature and within 24 hours if stored in the refrigerator
Meal Plan Guidelines for the Mother During Bbreastfeeding:
|Food groups||Recommended Foods||Serving Example|
|Dairy (3 cups/day)|
Low fat or fat free yogurt
Low fat or fat free milk
Low fat cheese or cottage cheese or labnah
1 cup of milk
¾ cup of yogurt
1 ounce (30grams)/ 2 slices of cheese
2tablespoons of labnah/cottage cheese
|Fruits (2 fruits/day)|
1 medium size fresh fruit (1 cup)
½ cup of fruit juice
½ cup of dried fruits
Whole grain cereals
Whole grain bread
1 slice of bread (30 grams)
1/3 cup of rice/pasta
½ small potato (1/2 cup)
Lean beef, chicken
Fish: halibut, herring, sardines
Nuts and seeds
30 grams of beef or chicken (3 small pieces)
Red/ green Pepper
1 cup raw vegetables
½ cup cooked vegetables
General Recommendations for Breastfeeding Mothers:
Eat high-fiber foods (such as bran cereals, whole-grains, dried fruits, fresh fruits and vegetables).
Plenty of fluids to help keep the stool soft
Small amounts of prune juice
Hot or very cold liquids to bring on a bowel movement
Do mild exercise (such as walking) each day
It is advised to avoid the following foods if it causes you bloating (sometimes also causes colic in the breastfed baby):
Vegetables: onions, green pepper, cabbage, broccoli
Legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas
|Milk taste changes|
Some food might flavor your milk like spices, onions, garlic, and cumin. It is better to avoid these foods in case you noticed that your baby is not accepting your milk after their intake.
Caffeine can pass into the breast milk and cause hyperactivity and sleeping problems in your baby - try not to drink more than 2 cups of coffee, tea and cola drinks per day
To limit your caffeine intake, you can try decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or mineral water instead of regular tea, coffee, and other caffeine containing drinks.
|Iron deficiency anemia|
Eat iron-rich foods:
Meat, chicken, fish
Legumes: beans, lentils, peas along with Vitamin C-rich foods (such as orange juice, tomatoes, and broccoli). Vitamin C helps the body with iron absorption.
Continue to take prenatal vitamins or iron supplements after your physician approval
Decrease intake of coffee and tea (as they interfere with iron absorption)
|Sugar Substitutes ||Although the available evidence do not suggest negative effect of sugar substitutes on lactation, it is better that they be avoided |
|Herbal remedies and other drugs or supplements|
Make sure to discuss with your doctor the safety of intake of any herbal remedies, drugs or supplements during breastfeeding
Nicotine from tobacco smoking might decrease your milk output. Maternal smoking presents significant health risks for infants. It is recommended to avoid tobacco smoking during lactation period.