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breastfeeding: an overview

why the ultimate bonding
experience is also the healthiest

Nature has a way of giving us everything we need for a healthy start. And when it comes to the healthiest start for your baby, you're naturally a perfect fit. In fact, breastfeeding is not only beneficial for your little one, it is also a healthy choice for you. While there is a learning curve for both mom and tot, the many advantages of breastfeeding are worth the time and practice.

benefits of breastfeeding

for baby

  • The Perfect Food - Your breast milk changes according to your baby's needs. The first few days it's thick and full of immunities, exactly right for a newborn — and it continues to adapt as your baby grows.
  • Stronger Immune System - Breast milk protects against allergies, ear infections and diarrhea, and breastfed babies have fewer illnesses during the first year.
  • Easy Digestion - Breast milk is filled with over 100 nutrients that cannot be duplicated by formula, and it never causes constipation.
  • Normal Weight Gain - Breast milk promotes normal weight gain, and helps protect against future obesity.

for mothers

  • Heals Your Body - Breastfeeding causes your uterus to contract and helps bring it back to its normal, pre-pregnancy size.
  • Burns Up To 500 Calories A Day - Once your milk supply is built up, you are burning between 200-500 calories a day.
  • Reduces Stress Levels - Breastfeeding can help reduce stress levels, making you feel calmer and happier.

Beyond its nutritional benefits, breastfeeding is emotionally nurturing, as well. The physical contact and quiet time you share together while nursing is a special bonding experience.

Here are a few items that will help make your breastfeeding experience convenient as well as comfortable.

double electric breast pumps

These express milk from both breasts simultaneously, providing more milk in less time. Electric breast pumps have an automated pumping action that does the work for you. Look for one with the maximum amount of personal control over the suction level and speed. You'll want to eliminate any chance of nipple trauma, or excessive tugging at the nipples. Advances in technology have produced electric breast pumps that offer moms a comfortable and efficient pumping experience.

battery-operated breast pumps

The best of both worlds! Battery-operated breast pumps combine the automated pumping of an electric pump, with the portability of a manual breast pump. Choose one that's gentle and allows you to have maximum control over your comfort.

manual breast pumps

Manual options are lightweight, quiet and portable. You manually compress the handle to express milk, using fingertip adjustable suction that allows you to choose what feels comfortable. Manual breast pumps are generally more economical, and some are as effective as electric pumps.

rental breast pumps

Renting a pump comes in handy if you plan on pumping exclusively or if you are trying to maintain your milk supply after a multiple birth. Rental breast pumps are available for home use through hospitals, rental stations and Babies"R"Us.

learning to pump

Pumping does get easier as you get the hang of it, so don't be discouraged if you aren't expressing a lot of milk right away. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before pumping.
  • Stay hydrated: keep a glass of juice or water nearby.
  • Choose a time when you won't be interrupted, and try to relax.
  • If your breasts become engorged (swollen from an abundance of milk production), place warm compresses on before pumping.
  • Stimulate more milk ducts by adjusting the pump's breast shield or cushion.
  • To maintain your milk supply, it is important to pump as frequently as possible, and as often as you would normally breastfeed.
  • Enjoy a healthy balanced diet, drink plenty of liquids, and get lots of rest.

nursing accessories

Like many aspects of life with your new baby, breastfeeding is an adjustment. And while the many rewards outweigh the challenges, it still helps to have a strategy in place. To make the process as easy and effective as possible, here are some tools that every new mother can appreciate:

  • Nursing Bras are extremely convenient for feeding your newborn on demand or expressing milk when you are away from home. Ideally, shop for the bra in your last trimester to ensure the best fit.
  • Breast Shells are designed to protect sore nipples from further irritation or to draw out flat or inverted nipples.
  • Breast Pads protect clothes from leakage. Most pads are contoured to fit in your nursing bra in the most natural way.
  • Breast Creams help soothe and heal sore nipples that can result from breastfeeding.
  • Nursing Shawls/Wraps give you privacy while feeding your baby in public places.
  • Nursing Clothes can be found in your own wardrobe or in maternity stores. While a tank top that allows baby easy access might do the job at home, clothes designed specifically for breastfeeding moms are more convenient while you're out.
  • Burping Cloth/Diaper takes care of baby's spit-ups in the early months. Experienced parents recommend keeping at least three to four handy.

items you'll need

  • pillows and stools
  • bottles
  • bibs & burp clothes
  • nursing bras/bra pads
  • accessories
  • bassinets