For many women, the decision to breastfeed is natural. Beyond the many health benefits, breastfeeding gives you the opportunity to create a unique and privileged contact with your baby. Here is some information to help you make the best decision for you and your child.
BREASTFEEDING: AN IMPORTANT ISSUE
When a woman is expecting a baby, she wants more than anything to offer her the best of herself. If you are pregnant, it is quite normal to ask yourself a lot of questions and start preparing for the imminent arrival of the one whose well-being will become your priority. Breastfeeding is often at the top of the list of concerns and questions of the pregnant woman … and rightly so! The decision to breastfeed is a fundamental one that deserves reflection.
The woman’s body is able to produce a perfectly formulated food to meet all the nutritional needs of infants. No other food is considered as high quality as breast milk, and its exclusive consumption up to 6 months of age is recommended by the medical community. The benefits of breast milk go far beyond the dietary aspects. If you choose breastfeeding as a method of nutrition, this is a good decision for a number of reasons, including:You will simplify your lifestyle. Breastfeeding is practical and economical: nothing to clean, no milk to prepare, quantities to predict or material to handle.
- You will be providing an easy-to-digest food for your child.
- You will help stimulate the development of your brain and the maturation of your digestive and immune systems.
- You will reduce the risk of having certain diseases, such as infections (eg, ear infections), allergies, digestive diseases or respiratory diseases.
- You will promote the creation of a special bond and mutual attachment.
- You will relax. When all is well, breastfeeding provokes a very pleasant feeling of calm in many women.
- In the long term, breastfeeding will reduce your chances of developing certain diseases such as osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer or uterine cancer.
- The list of benefits of breastfeeding is long; talk to your health care provider to make an informed decision.
BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF BABY
During your pregnancy, start learning about breastfeeding, its benefits and issues. Thus, you will be ready to cross the small obstacles that may occur. There is nothing to do to prepare the breasts before giving birth. During pregnancy, they are naturally prepared to produce milk. Buying or borrowing a pillow and nursing bra will make it easy for you. In addition, you can prepare meals that you can freeze so you can focus on the arrival of baby.
Being well-rounded will help you make breastfeeding a success and a positive experience. Ask your health care professional (doctor, midwife or pharmacist) to find out what resources are available in your area. It is essential to know who to consult if a problem occurs. If you wish, you can also be paired with a breastfeeding sponsor who can guide you and give you advice. Check with your CLSC (or with organizations such as Nourri-Source or La Leche League) for support or answers to your questions.
Here are some tips to help you breastfeed:
In the hour after birth, keep your baby on you. He will start looking for your breast and this will further promote the production of your milk. Breastfeeding early will make things easier.Stay close to him in the first hours and days to make contact and have the opportunity to breastfeed often.
Breastfeed at his request.
- Make sure with the nurse or breastfeeding counselor that he or she has a good latch before leaving the hospital or birthing house. Ask them to show you different breastfeeding positions.
- Avoid skipping feeds, giving baby a pacifier or baby bottle before 4 to 6 weeks of age to help your milk supply.
- If you have difficulty breastfeeding, get help quickly. Many professionals can help you, like your pharmacist. For most small problems with breastfeeding, simple solutions exist.
- Rest whenever you have the opportunity. Ask your loved ones to support you and help you with housework or other tasks.
- Eat well and drink plenty of water.
HOW LONG CAN YOU BREASTFEED?
The choice to breastfeed is a very personal one. However, it should be noted that many organizations, including Health Canada, recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life and, after food introduction, up to 2 years of age. Continued breastfeeding depends on many factors and you may decide to breastfeed for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or longer. This decision is yours. Finally, some women choose not to breastfeed, to breastfeed or to stop breastfeeding earlier, depending on their personal circumstances. If you choose not to breastfeed or stop breastfeeding because you are having difficulty or for any other reason, do not feel guilty.
SPOUSE: AN ALLY IN BREASTFEEDING
The father’s support is crucial at the beginning and during the continuation of breastfeeding. Initially, it can help the mother settle comfortably and put the baby in the breast. It is important to encourage the mother to continue breastfeeding even if difficulties arise. In addition, dad’s emotional bond with the child will develop differently than feeding him, do not worry! You can rock him after drinking, change his diaper, bathe and dress. All the little things you do to make breastfeeding easier and your spouse’s job will be greatly appreciated and will make you feel that you are taking an active part in the well-being of your baby.
During pregnancy, take the time to prepare and enjoy each moment before baby arrives. Giving birth to a child is one of the happiest experiences of life, both grandiose and unique. Breastfeeding is a gesture that is learned and that is beneficial for the whole family. Your pharmacist can educate you about breastfeeding and your baby’s health, as well as help you find solutions to problems. Do not hesitate to call on him at any stage of the process. Being a parent is the greatest source of joy and wonder, so do not let worries stop you from enjoying it!