Benefits of breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding provide energy and nutrition that the baby needs for the first six months of his/her life. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, and continuing even after solid food is introduced, until at least age 1 year or until both mom and baby agree to stop it.
Besides being the main food source for the baby, breast milk helps to strengthen the immune system of the child and increases his/her ability to resist infection and disease even later in his/her life. It reduces the risk of obesity in the long run, and helps in strengthening the vital organs such as the eyes, brain and other body systems.
The benefits of breastfeeding are not limited to the child but extend to the mother, as it reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
How often to breastfeed:
It is very important to breastfeed a newborn baby at least eight to twelve times in 24 hours during the first week of his/her life, and the child must also be fed whenever he/she shows signs of hunger, which may include: making noises or screaming and crying, sucking a fist or finger, putting their Hands in their mouth, moving arms and legs, closing fists, moving head when touching his cheek or mouth. The duration of breastfeeding ranges between 10 minutes to 25 minutes, or until the child shows signs of fullness, such as slow sucking of the breast, or separation from the breast, and relaxation of the hands, arms, and legs.
Focus on healthy choices that help increase your milk supply, such as high-protein foods such as lean meats, eggs, dairy products, legumes and lentils, in addition to fruits and vegetables.
It is also necessary to reduce caffeine, as its presence in breast milk may cause the child to become anxious. Also, reduce seafood not because it’s a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but sometimes it contains mercury or other harmful substances. Mercury can pass from a mother to her baby through breast milk. Mercury exposure can affect the baby’s brain and nervous system development for that reason; the mother should avoid eating seafood rich in mercury.
Health awareness in the Ministry of Health.
Health Encyclopedia – Mayo Clinic.