Breastfeeding is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman's breast. This process can also be called baby nursing. Doctors and midwives recommend that breastfeeding should begin within the first hour of a baby's life and it should be allowed as often and as much as the baby wants. During the first few weeks, babies may nurse eight to twelve times a day which could be every two to three hours. The duration of a feeding session could be about ten to fifteen minutes on each breast. However, the frequency of feeding decreases as the child gets older. Health organizations recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life. This means no other foods or drinks will be given to the child at this time phase.
There are quite a number of ways to nurse a baby. The best way for you should be the one most comfortable for you and your baby.
The cradle hold: To nurse a baby in this style, lay your baby lengthwise across your abdomen, using one hand to support his head and the other to support his bottom.
The football hold: To nurse your baby in this style, place him or her beside you face up and lengthwise. Lay your baby along your arm and guide his head to your breast. For women who have just had a C-section, this may be a more comfortable nursing position.
The lying-down hold: To nurse your baby in this style, lay him or her next to you in bed. Make sure you lie on your right side and make your baby lie on his or her left side. Your baby's mouth should be at the same height or slightly lower than your nipples. With your free hand, adjust your baby's mouth towards the nipple closest to the bed and circle your other arm around him or her.
• Nipple creams for when your nipples get sore and cracked.
• Nursing pads to prevent breast milk from dipping onto your clothes.
• Nursing bras to keep the nursing pad in place.
• Baby bibs
• Baby feeding bottles
• Feeding bottle sterilizing equipment.
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