Feeding My Baby After The Birth
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You will hear it said often that all newborn babies do is "eat, sleep and need a lot of nappy changes!" Well it can certainly seem that way. But what is it that babies eat? How should you feed your baby, and how soon should you do it after he or she has been born?
Breastfeeding is widely considered to be the best way to feed your baby and get them off to a good start in life. This is because breast milk has been perfectly designed to supply your baby with all the nutrients he or she needs. The added benefit of breastfeeding is that it is also packed full of antibodies - the clever illness-fighting defenders in our body. Antibodies give your baby's immune system a boost, which can come in very handy during those first few weeks of cold-ridden visitors coming over for cuddles.
Babies are born with an instinctively strong sucking reflex. If you can try and feed your baby while still in the delivery room, this has many benefits for both baby and you: it helps to establish a strong bond between you and your baby, and it helps register in your baby's mind what this feeding malarkey is all about! See Getting Started for more information and tips.
One of the advantages of being in hospital with your baby for the first day or so is all those midwives milling about. Don't be afraid to ask one of them to check the positioning and attachment (known as "latch on") of your baby while breastfeeding. Remember, you'd have to be some kind of superwoman earth mother type if you naturally got breastfeeding straight away. Usually it takes a bit of perseverance and help from the professionals before you get the hang of it.
If you give breastfeeding a try and for whatever reason it doesn't work out, this is by no means a disaster. Bottle Feeding with baby formula comes in second in the expert's recommendations for feeding your baby. Formulas are considered to be a close alternative to breastfeeding, in that they have been designed to offer your baby as many of the nutrients that are found in breast milk as possible. Formulas can't provide that immune system kick that you get from breast milk, but they do give you a chance for a break as someone else can feed your baby with a bottle.
Some Mums know before their baby is born which feeding method they plan to use, or some end up combining Breast and Bottle. You'll be a flood of hormones and feeling sleep deprived in the first few weeks after your baby has been born, so be kind to yourself. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for the decision you have made. Just remember however you end up feeding your baby it will be what is right for you and your little one.