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Breastfeeding does more than provide nutrition for your baby, it can create a wonderful bonding experience for mother and child. But getting your infant to latch on to your nipple can be a tricky business. Watch this video for helpful breastfeeding basics.
Transcript: If you're planning to breastfeed, you're in good company: Up to 70 percent of American moms give nursing...
If you're planning to breastfeed, you're in good company: Up to 70 percent of American moms give nursing a try. Of course, it's also okay not to nurse...You will raise a healthy, baby either way! Your breast milk is tailored to meet the needs of YOUR baby. It changes in response to the amount he or she consumes and contains at least 100 ingredients that aren't found in formula. Other benefits? Studies have shown that breastfed babies are: Less likely to suffer from infections, less likely to be overweight, more likely to have higher IQs, and more open to various foods as adults. And there are benefits for you, too! When your baby nurses, your body responds by releasing the hormone oxytocin, which encourages you to bond with your baby, AND shrinks your uterus. You'll also lose weight more quickly: Breastfeeding burns 500 calories a day! And, for moms who like convenience, breast is best. Forget heating a bottle at 4am or packing up formula for a 2-hour trip. So how does it work? Before you leave the hospital or birthing center, you'll be visited by a lactation consultant who will help you get started breastfeeding. You'll begin by holding your baby so you're both comfortable. Encourage him or her to open up by gently rubbing your nipple along your baby's lips. When your baby latches on, ensure that the mouth covers BOTH your nipple and areola. If it doesn't, break the suction by gently inserting your finger in the corner of the mouth. Then, try again until your baby is properly positioned. This is vital, because if your baby doesn't latch properly, you'll wind up with sore, or even cracked, nipples! You can ease nipple discomfort by exposing them to air or applying a lanolin-based ointment after each feeding. And while your breasts will be engorged for a few weeks after delivery, rest assured that they'll reduce once your baby figures out how much milk he or she needs, and your body responds. While nursing, you may notice a small, tender lump on your breast, which is probably a clogged milk duct. Continuing to nurse, massaging the duct, or applying a heating pad should fix the problem, but contact your doctor if it doesn't.When you begin breastfeeding you'll wonder how often to nurse. During the first weeks after delivery, your baby should eat eight to twelve times a day. Nurse when your baby is hungry. He or she will let you know by nuzzling against your breasts, sucking, or opening his or her mouth. Try not to wait for cries, because at this point, he or she is already uncomfortable. Breastfeeding is a big commitment, but an important one for the moms who make it! You're bound to have questions, and that's normal, so talk to your doctor about your concerns.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-06 | Tags »
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Breastfeeding bonds mother to child, but you've got to know the correct way to give your baby the fullest benefits of nursing. Take this quiz to learn more.
Last Modified: 2011-08-25 | Tags »
Celebrity moms -- they're just like us. Even A-list movie stars and supermodels deal with breast milk supply and cracked nipples. See what your favorite celebs have to say about nursing.
Last Modified: 2013-08-28 | Tags »
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Even after you've given birth, you still have to watch what you eat if you're breastfeeding. Check out our video to know how diet impacts breast milk.
Transcript: Like most nursing moms, you probably worry that something you eat or drink will pass into your breast...
Like most nursing moms, you probably worry that something you eat or drink will pass into your breast milk and affect your baby. Here's what you need to know about how things you consume affect your breast milk. While it's true that what goes into your body usually does make its way into your milk supply, the amount is generally a tiny fraction of what you ingest. Gas and fussiness in your baby are the most common signs that something you ate has made its way into your breast milk. Common cultprits include: cabbage, onion, garlic, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, eggs, wheat, corn, fish, peanuts, nuts, and soy. Chocolate and citrus fruits, as well as cows' milk products like milk, cheese, yogurt, and even butter can also be common culprits. Keep in mind that diarrhea and a skin rash could signal an allergy. If you notice these symptoms in your baby, try eliminating the food or foods you suspect might be the culprit to see if doing so helps. Talk to your doctor, however, before making any MAJOR changes to your diet. What about a glass of wine with dinner? Although alcohol passes through your milk, the amount your baby gets is MUCH less than the amount you drink. Studies have shown that alcohol levels in breast milk peak about 30 to 90 minutes after one drink. So while it's probably fine to have one or two glasses of beer or wine a week, wait until the last feeding of the day (just after you nurse rather than just before) to allow a couple of hours per drink for the alcohol to metabolize And that morning cup of java? Your baby may be more irritable and feed more frequently if you ingest A LOT of caffeine. One or two cups of coffee a day won't harm your baby, but try to limit caffeine intake while you're breastfeeding, because babies can't efficiently rid their bodies of caffeine, so it can build up in their systems. Too much caffeine can also cause sleep problems and nervousness. Try drinking decaffeinated coffee and tea, and avoid colas and other carbonated drinks that have added caffeine. And remember, caffeine can be found in chocolate, soft drinks, and some herbal teas and medications, in addition to coffee and tea. And no cigarettes Mom! Nicotine ingested by smoking tobacco can get into breast milk. Heavy smoking (more than a pack a day) has been known to decrease milk production and to cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, and restlessness in babies. Stop smoking, for your sake and your baby's. But if you just can't quit while you're nursing, try cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day, and don't smoke just before breastfeeding or around your baby, especially indoors. Eat good food, be stringent with drinking alcohol and coffee, don't smoke cigarettes, and take good care of yourself, Mom, and you'll help keep baby happy too!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-09 | Tags »
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There are many reasons why a mother think about supplementing breast milk with formula. Watch this video to learn about supplementing.
Transcript: Planning to feed your baby from the breast and the bottle? We've got tips to make supplementing simple!...
Planning to feed your baby from the breast and the bottle? We've got tips to make supplementing simple! Nursing mothers have various reasons to supplement some of their breast milk feedings with formula. Many women decide to do this when it's time to go back to work. This can be an especially good option for moms who have trouble pumping. Other women just like handing off occasional feedings to a partner or caregiver. And some moms supplement when their babies just aren't getting enough milk from the breast. If you think YOUR baby is in this boat, watch for signs that she's constantly hungry, which include... fewer than six wet diapers a day, significant weight loss, and constant fussiness or lethargy. Weight loss can be tricky to assess since fluctuations will occur depending on when your child has last been fed, and when the last diaper change occurred. A full diaper can account for more weight than you might think. So the best way to do this is to weigh your baby on the same scale, at the same time, in relation to feeding, at each weigh in. Irritability and wakefulness can also be possible indicators of hunger, so watch out for them. Symptoms like this mean it's time to speak to your child's pediatrician about whether or not supplementing makes sense for you. Whatever your reason, as a supplementing mother, you should understand that your milk works on a supply and demand basis. In other words, the less you nurse, the less milk you will produce. This isn't usually a problem for a woman who has a strong, established milk supply...but a brand new mother may find that supplementing too soon causes her breast milk to stop COMPLETELY. For this reason, some experts suggest waiting a month before adding formula to your breastfeeding routine. And ALL moms who want to continue nursing should do so several times a day to keep milk production going. When it's time to give the first bottle of formula to your infant, let someone else do the honors. Your baby can smell you, and will have no desire for bottle nourishment when the breast she's used to is present! It's also smart to offer the first bottle when your infant is definitely hungry, and isn't looking to nurse for comfort. On the flipside, don't wait until your baby is so starving that she's crying! Some parents mix pumped breast milk with formula for those early bottle feedings. This is fine, and can make the transition easier... but experts caution that if your baby doesn't finish the bottle, you'll waste your hard earned, pumped milk! ! It's not called liquid gold for nothing! If your infant has trouble adjusting to the bottle at first, keep trying. All babies get the hang of bottle-feeding eventually, and you'll soon have supplement success!More »
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The breast milk vs formula debate has supporters on both sides. Watch this video and find out what is good for your baby.
Transcript: It's the first BIG decision you'll make as a parent: Will you feed your baby from the breast or from...
It's the first BIG decision you'll make as a parent: Will you feed your baby from the breast or from the bottle? Eighty percent of new moms follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and try breastfeeding. Often called the "perfect food," breast milk offers unique advantages over formula milk. For example, breastfed babies receive infection-fighting antibodies from their mothers, and may tend to be healthier. Breast milk is also more easily digested by a baby's delicate tummy, and the milk exposes a child to varied tastes. The other advantage of breast milk is that it's completely free, and always ready. Nursing is beneficial for mom, too, as breastfeeding hormones encourage bonding with her baby, and stimulate her uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size. But nursing can be painful for some women, especially at the beginning. In addition, breast milk is often deficient in Vitamin D, a necessary bone-building nutrient for infants. This means that a Vitamin D supplement is usually necessary. Breastfeeding also requires that a mom continue to watch what she eats and drinks, as everything she consumes is ALSO consumed by her baby. For this reason, women who take certain medications and those who have contagious medical conditions may not breastfeed. And since breastfeeding requires more of a mother's time and energy, some women choose to use formula. Convenient and flexible, formula using gets both partners involved in baby feedings. But formula comes with its own set of challenges, not the least of which is cost-about $1,500 for a year's worth! Formula is also timely to prepare, as water has to be boiled and bottles have to be sterilized for every feeding. And because it does not contain antibodies, formula-fed infants may be slightly more likely to get sick, or to suffer from gas or constipation. Some mothers weigh these pros and cons and decide that-while breast milk is best-personally nursing won't work. In such cases, another lactating woman, or wet nurse, may be asked to step in and feed an infant. Although wet nursing was popular in centuries past, today's health organizations do not recommend it, since a mother's milk is formulated for her own infant's age and needs. In light of this, other women decide to use breast milk and formula to feed their infants. This tactic is even RECOMMENDED in some situations: Such as for babies with jaundice, and for those who are slow to gain weight or take to the breast. While there is nothing wrong with supplementing your breast milk, it can backfire if your milk dries up, or if your baby starts refusing the breast. No matter what you end up feeding your baby, however, it's important that you do so often! Newborn babies usually nurse eight to twelve times every 24 hours, while babies over one month eat seven to nine times daily. Note, though, that formula-fed infants may eat less often, as formula moves more slowly through the digestive system. And while feeding your baby may seem complex at first, you, your partner, and your infant, will figure it out fast!More »
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Using a breast pump can be a challenge if you've never used one before. But a few pointers can make it easier for you and your baby. Check out our video to learn all about breast pumping tips.
Transcript: If you're among the 70% of women in the United States who give breastfeeding a try, you'll probably need...
If you're among the 70% of women in the United States who give breastfeeding a try, you'll probably need to pump your breast milk at some point. Breast pumps are electric or manual devices that express breast milk, allowing you to save it for later use. The most common reason to pump is to ensure your baby has breast milk when the two of you are apart. Pumping also allows your partner or another helper to feed your baby from a bottle, allowing you to get more uninterrupted sleep, or to perhaps take a break from baby care. Letting your partner share in the feedings can also be a good bonding experience with baby. Women going back to work pump in order to maintain their breast milk supply and to prep food for baby while they are away from home. Pumping can ALSO stimulate your milk production and allow you to nurse for longer. That's because breast milk works on a supply and demand basis: the more you express, the more you will make. And pumping allows you to build up a reserve of milk, which can come in handy if you need to be away from your baby unexpectedly. After you express your milk, store it in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours, or in the freezer for about three months. It's best to put breast milk in plastic or glass feeding bottles that have secure caps to seal in freshness. You can also use plastic bags made especially for storing breast milk or even disposable baby bottle liners, though they both may break more easily because the plastic is thin. Remember to write the date on the bottle or bag BEFORE putting it in the refrigerator or freezer so you'll know WHEN you pumped it. Breast milk may look different than you think when you store it: it's normal for the fat to separate and float to the top, and sometimes, the milk has a bluish hue. Please note though, that the process of freezing destroys SOME of the antibodies in the milk, so don't freeze unless necessary. HOWEVER, frozen breast milk is STILL healthier and offers more protection from disease than formula does. To thaw frozen milk, place the bottle or bag in a bowl of warm water and run it under warm tap water, or defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. NEVER use the microwave for defrosting or warming because it KILLS the nutrients in breast milk, and also heats unevenly, creating "hot spots" that can burn your baby's mouth. And most health professionals recommend throwing out any milk that's left in your baby's bottle after a feeding, as bacteria from the bay's mouth can get in, potentially causing an infection. If you are the mother of a baby who has trouble latching, you may also pump so that she can still consume breast milk. You might also use a breast pump to stimulate your milk production and increase your supply, to collect milk to feed a premature baby or one who can't latch on to your breast, or to relieve the pain and pressure of engorged breasts. To find the best type of breast pump for you, look at your budget and at how often you plan to be expressing your milk. The most efficient pumps are electric. These models are fully automatic, and can usually pump your breasts very quickly, and at the same time. Electric breast pumps range in price from about $200 to $350, and most pumps come with a one-year warranty. Some newer models are designed to mimic a baby's sucking patterns: they start with short, quick sucks to elicit the letdown response and then move into a slower, deeper sucking pattern. This feature can make pumping more comfortable, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll produce more milk. Battery operated breast pumps are less expensive, ranging from about $50 to $150. But they can usually only pump one breast at a time, and are much slower. Finally, manual pumps allow you to express your breast milk by pumping a piston or pulling a lever. Ranging in price from about $30 to $60, these models are the cheapest but they are extremely labor intensive, and may not work as well. A note of caution: stay away from the models that look like bicycle horns, as the rubber balls can harbor harmful bacteria. To use any type of pump, start by putting a breast cup or shield over your nipple. Nipple shields come in many variations, so make sure you're using one that's built for your nipple size. To use an electric pump, turn the machine on and let it do the work of emptying your breasts into a storage container. An electric pump will let you adjust the suction settings to a level and speed that's comfortable for you. A manual model of course, will require that you do the pumping work. It's important to note that a good breast pump mimics the sucking action of a baby and WON'T cause you pain, but it is not super comfortable, either. And you might want to consider buying a pumping bra so you don't have to hold the cups on your breasts, which makes things much easier! Remember that pumping may feel a bit odd at first, and may hurt a little, but it should not last beyond the first few moments.. If you're experiencing pain, or are having trouble expressing your milk, talk to your doctor or lactation consultant about measures to help.More »
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Breastfeeding problems are common in nursing mothers. Some of the most frequent issues mothers face is discussed in this video. Take a look.
Transcript: 8 out 10 ten new mothers try breastfeeding, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. If it's hard for...
8 out 10 ten new mothers try breastfeeding, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. If it's hard for you, don't despair, we've got some tips to help YOU bust through YOUR breastfeeding blockade! The most common complaint of newly nursing moms is nipple pain, cracking, or bleeding. While you adjust to nursing, you may experience mild soreness when your baby latches, but this normal condition will pass. Cracked or bleeding nipples, however, are often the result of your baby continuously latching to your breast improperly. You may eliminate this discomfort by ensuring that your baby's mouth bypasses your nipple, and instead, covers aboutone inch of your areola. If your baby is sucking properly, you should see "fish lips" and the tongue should be visible cupping your breast. While you wait for your nipples to heal, you can ease the discomfort by breastfeeding more frequently for shorter periods, which prevents your baby from sucking too voraciously. For deep, painful cracks, try medical-grade modified lanolin made specifically for breastfeeding mothers. Rub a small amount of the ointment on your nipples. This treatment, called "moist wound healing," relieves pain and allows the wounds to heal much faster without forming a scab. It does not need to be washed off before feedings. Additionally, you can apply a lanolin-based cream to your nipples. This treatment will allow them to heal quickly WITHOUT forming a scab. But even if your NIPPLES feel fine, your BREASTS may not. Many women report a very hard lump or tender spot in one breast while breastfeeding. A common source of such pain is a clogged milk duct, which occurs when your milk fails to drain completely. Although this can happen for a number of reasons-like a poorly fitting nursing bra or missed feedings-fixing it is often simple! In fact, the treatment is to nurse as much as possible! It may sound surprising, but frequent nursing will help completely empty your breasts and reduce discomfort and inflammation. And while you're waiting for a clogged milk duct to heal, frequently massage the painful area from armpit to nipple in a firm motion. Applying warm compresses before nursing may also help ensure that your milk is completely extracted. If your breasts are fine but your baby is not nursing correctly, you could be experiencing a problem with your milk supply. If your baby fails to gain weight, or does not wet at least four diapers a day, you should consult your doctor. Inadequate milk supply affects only 2 to 5 % of women, but it may require that you supplement your own milk with formula. If your baby chokes or gags as you begin to feed, you may have a problem on the opposite end of the spectrum-hyperlactation. This condition occurs when your body produces a great deal of milk that comes out fast and forcibly as your baby begins to nurse. To rectify it, express a small amount of milk before you allow your baby to latch on to your breast. While there are other difficulties that may hinder nursing, the bottom line is that breastfeeding should be a natural, pleasant bonding experience for both you and your baby. Successfully breastfeeding your baby can be a wonderful experience but it is sometimes challenging. If you are having difficulties, get help from a lactation consultant right away. It can make all the difference!More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-11 | Tags »
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If you're not sure what to eat while breastfeeding it's important to make sure you're getting enough to eat of the right foods. Learn more in this video.
Transcript: A curry or a glass of wine taste great-but are your nutritional choices preventing your baby from getting...
A curry or a glass of wine taste great-but are your nutritional choices preventing your baby from getting the BEST breast milk possible? If you choose to breastfeed, your milk may be your baby's sole source of nutrients. Therefore, good nutrition is even more important after birth than it was during your pregnancy! To ensure the most nutritious breast milk, experts once recommended increasing your caloric intake by about 500 calories a day. But when you get those calories from empty foods, like chips or candy bars, your baby may not benefit. That's why it's now advised that you focus more on WHAT you eat and worry less about HOW much. Enjoy a diet similar to the one you ate while pregnant, full of complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein. If you're eating a balanced diet of this nature, you probably won't need to supplement with additional vitamins or minerals. Your doctor may recommend that you continue to take your pre-natal vitamin just to be safe, and that's fine. Of course, a healthy diet also means eliminating-or at least scaling back-on certain foods. For example, you should avoid mercury-rich fish, like mackerel, swordfish and shark, and keep tuna -both canned and otherwise-to a minimum. If an allergy to a certain food runs in your family, it's best to avoid eating it now. Meanwhile-whether it's hot spices, cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, or cow's milk-if you find a food that upsets your little one, avoid it! What you drink is important, too. Because breastfeeding causes you to lose fluid, rehydrate with at least eight glasses of water a day. If you like coffee in the morning, you can stick to your tradition as long as you don't consume more than about 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. There are about 100 mg of caffeine in the average cup of coffee, and about 75 mg of caffeine in 20 oz. soda bottles. If, however, your baby seems bothered or overly stimulated by caffeine, you should cut it out altogether. It's also wise to reduce or eliminate alcohol intake, as it can enter your milk and may irritate or tire your baby. In fact, studies have found that babies consume less milk when their mothers have even one drink a day. The alcohol may also interfere with your body's milk let-down reflex. On the other hand, the occasional celebratory cocktail doesn't seem to harm an infant over time. Just remember that alcohol will be most potent in your milk about one hour post-consumption. So if you have a drink, enjoy it immediately AFTER a feeding. In fact, this rule holds true for many foods that you really want, but that you worry might negatively affect your baby. And don't get too uptight about your breastfeeding diet-your little one will DEFINITELY let you know if you've made a bad food decision!More »
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Breast milk is a healthy, budget-friendly (it's free!) way to feed your baby, but some newborns don't start to nurse as easily as others. Get helpful tips on how to breastfeed your infant.
Transcript: If youve decided to breastfeed, youre among 80% of proud new moms. But how does nursing ACTUALLY work?...
If youve decided to breastfeed, youre among 80% of proud new moms. But how does nursing ACTUALLY work? The main key to successful breastfeeding is to get your baby to latch onto your breast correctly. To do it, brush his lips with your nipple, which will encourage him to open his mouth wide, as if yawning. 1. Then, quickly pull him to your breast with the arm that is holding him. 2. Your babys gums should bypass your nipple and 3. cover about one inch of your areola. If your baby is latched correctly, you shouldnt feel a lot of pain, and he should begin sucking with lips extended. Improper latching is the number one case for nipple discomfort, cracking, and pain. So if you feel uncomfortable, gently break the suction by putting your finger in the side of your babys mouth before trying again. There are many ways to hold your baby while breastfeeding, but the most important thing is that your babys shoulders and hips are facing towards you. The most popular hold is the cradle, in which your babys head rests in the crook of your elbow, with your forearm supporting the back and your hand holding his bottom. Use your other hand to lift and support the breast your baby is feeding from. The cross cradle hold is very similar, but your opposite arm supports your babys body. You may also try the side lying position, where you both lie facing one another. Use your bottom arm to position the baby as in the cradle, and pull his body in to yours. 1. Or, attempt the clutch hold, by placing a pillow under your babys body, 2. bringing your newborn to the level of your breast. 3. Then, position your baby so his legs are under your arm and his head is in your hand. Once hes nursing happily, youll probably wonder how long you should continue to feed. General wisdom is that your baby should empty one breast fully, at which point he or she will detach on his own. In newborns, this may be 5 to 10 minutes per breast every few hours. Older babies nurse less frequently, but for 20 to 40 minutes per breast. Once your baby is done with a breast, burp him, and then offer the other. If hes hungry, hell continue to nurse. Regardless of how much your baby eats, remember to always start with the full breast at his next feeding. The reason its so important to empty each breast fully is that your bodys milk changes according to your babys needs. When he or she starts to suck, your newborn will receive what is known as foremilk, a thinner, lower-fat, milk that will quench your babys thirst. This initial sucking will then signal your breasts to let down a fuller-fat hindmilk. Your hindmilk satiates your babys hunger. Although it may take some time to adjust to all these intricate of nursing, you will both get the hang of it sooner than you think!More »
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If you're breastfeeding, at some point you may decide to pump your milk. Learn the breast pumping basics here -- from how to use a breast pump, to safe ways to store breast milk, and more.
Transcript: You have a hungry baby to extract your milk, so why would you need a breast pump? The most common reason...
You have a hungry baby to extract your milk, so why would you need a breast pump? The most common reason to pump your breasts is to collect milk so that your baby has a ready supply when the two of you are apart. Pumping your milk also allows your partner to feed your child without you, so you can take baby breaks. And-because the body produces milk according to what's extracted-some women pump to increase milk supply. If you decide to extract your milk, you'll use either an electric or manual breast pump. To use an electric pump, put a breast cup or shield over your nipple and turn the motorized machine on. Or, if you're using a manual machine, you'll extract milk via a squeeze device that you operate by hand. Generally, electric machines are faster and more efficient. However, if you're not pumping often, an inexpensive manual machine may be more economical. a. Once your milk is pumped, store it in bottles with tops or in plastic bags made specifically for breast milk, b. remembering to write the date on the container. You can then store the milk in the refrigerator for three days, or in the freezer for up to three months. It's better for baby to get refrigerated milk, as milk stored in the freezer can remove some of the antibodies. However, breast milk is still usually better for your baby than formula, so by all means, use the freezer if you need to! To prepare refrigerated milk, put it in a bottle and warm it by running the milk under warm water or putting it in a bottle warmer. If you've frozen the milk, you'll have to thaw it first. Run the milk under warm water, or leave it in the refrigerator overnight. But whatever you do, DON'T use the microwave to defrost milk, as this process can kill nutrients. Also avoid leaving breast milk out to thaw, as it will spoil within four hours of exposure to room temperature. And remember that thawed milk needs to be used within 24 hours, and should NEVER be re-frozen! After your baby consumes pumped milk, most doctors recommend throwing away any excess, to ensure freshness and sanitation. While this whole pumping process may feel funny at first, most women get the hang of it quickly. And your baby will thank you for the effort!More »
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When it's time to stop breastfeeding, transitioning your baby to formula or solid foods may not be as easy as you think. Watch this video to learn how to wean your baby successfully.
Transcript: Just like you chose to breastfeed your baby, you get to choose when to stop. But how will you know when...
Just like you chose to breastfeed your baby, you get to choose when to stop. But how will you know when that time has arrived? Weaning involves teaching your child to stop nursing. When your little one gets ALL nutrition from sources other than breast milk, this process is considered complete. The best time to wean your baby depends on many factors, including your child's continued desire to breastfeed and your own lifestyle choices. If you're looking for a more concrete deadline, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding your baby ONLY breast milk for six months, then combining solid food with breast milk until your baby is AT LEAST one year old. When you do decide it's time to wean your infant, undergo the process gradually, as abruptly withholding the breast can be both emotionally and physically traumatic. One such method is to simply skip a nursing session, and then another, until your baby eats only from a bottle or cup. With this approach, you can substitute your breast with pumped milk or formula, or, for an older infant, solid food. You can also gradually shorten the time that your baby nurses. Cutting minutes slowly will help make the process easier for both of you. Another weaning method that can work is to postpone feedings and distract your infant with another activity, whether it's reading a story or playing outside. Or, if your child is old enough to understand you, you can simply explain that you'll feed him later, like at bedtime. But if all of your efforts to wean your baby are met with forceful resistance, it's possible that the time is not yet right. Children who are adapting to changes- like starting daycare-or those who have been sick may need more time to break the breast habit. Be patient, and know that weaning WILL happen in due time. Until then, enjoy the extra bonding with your baby!More »
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