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Breastfeeding FAQs Ė What You Need to Know

Natural as it may be, breastfeeding isnít something that just happens. It takes time, patience and knowledge to be successful. There are many things you need to know in order to breastfeed your child properly that will increase the nutrition of your milk, decrease pain and discomfort for both you and the baby that can be associated with breastfeeding, and ensure that your child gets enough milk.

Latching On

How your baby latches on is the absolute most important thing to know about breastfeeding! If your baby doesnít latch on properly, it will cause pain and discomfort for you and your baby, and can cause much of your breast milk to go to waste. Itís extremely important to learn how to latch on the baby before even beginning.

Part of the latching on process is a matter of positioning. You want to position the baby in the most natural way for both you and the baby. Thereís more than one way to do this and the best breastfeeding books and pamphlets can provide pictures to show you these methods.

Another part of the process is in teaching the baby. The baby is hungry and doesnít care how it gets its food. He or she knows instinctively only that they need to suck to fulfill their hunger. How they suck and what they suck on is beyond them. You have to teach them how to position their mouths properly on the breast.

Latching on incorrectly is what causes the most pain and discomfort during breastfeeding. The baby doesnít latch on properly and the babyís gums gnaw painfully on your nipple. Additionally, if the babyís lips donít form a seal around the nipple, the milk will be lost. The milk rubbing on the skin or soaking into the clothes can cause a rash for the baby. In addition, the baby will still be hungry because it isnít getting much of the milk.

What Goes In...

Remember that whatever you put in your body is coming out in your breast milk. This is an important thing to keep in mind because it will affect much more than what nutrients your baby gets out of your milk now. It is proven that babies who receive breast milk full of nutrients gleaned from fresh fruits and vegetables are much more likely to eat those things as they get older, and therefore, will be healthier. Think about it Ė eating your fruits and vegetables now can prevent some serious fights when your child gets older!

This is also important because you may put things into your body that you donít think about. For example, when you have that glass of wine with dinner, alcohol can come out in your breast milk. If you smoke a cigarette, nicotine is going to your baby. These toxins arenít just bad for your babyís health, but can create dependencies that carry on through adulthood.

Old Habits are Hard to Break

You ate everything you wanted while you were pregnant Ė after all, you were eating for two, right? Well now youíre breastfeeding, and you still eat junk food like chocolate because you crave it and it seems to make little difference in your weight. The problem is that if you continue to eat fattening foods, youíll have a hard time controlling those cravings when youíre no longer breastfeeding, and youíll gain that weight back just as quickly as you lost it.

The best way to avoid this pitfall is to eat healthy while youíre breastfeeding and during your pregnancy as much as possible. Give in to your cravings, but only in moderation. This will prevent you from having to break bad habits later.

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