Should I Breastfeed My Newborn?
11th August, 2023

We understand that breastfeeding can be difficult, typically for new mums. It can be painful and sore, and just very uncomfortable. Because of this, it is common for mothers to not breastfeed their baby. Although breastfeeding is not compulsory, there are a lot of benefits to breastfeeding newborns.

Maternal breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs to grow and develop. This helps their body to adapt and protect them from various infections and diseases they are vulnerable to in their first few years of life. Helping to build up their immune system through breast milk is key in encouraging their defence against infections.

Not only that, but the act of breastfeeding also creates a bond between mother and baby. Having that bond will help the baby to settle easier and feel safe with mum, but also help mums to care for the baby. Without creating a bond with the baby, mothers can often feel disconnected from their child and experience postpartum blues, which affects not only mum’s health but babies also.

It is important to note that formula milk will not have the same effect on a baby as breastmilk will; it does not protect them from infection and provide any health benefits. Alternatively, this does not mean you shouldn’t give your baby formula milk, it is entirely up to the baby’s parents.

How long should you breastfeed your baby?

Breastfeeding is different for everyone, and it is completely up to mothers how long they chose to breastfeed their baby, if at all. It is recommended that babies receive just breastmilk for the first 6 months/26 weeks after they are born. This means all of their nutrients are coming purely from breastmilk. However, once they reach 26 weeks old, parents may find themselves starting to try their baby with solid foods, alongside breastmilk in between meals. After this period, mothers may choose to stop breastfeeding and have their baby on strictly solid foods, or they may continue breastfeeding. The choice is up to the mother of the baby and the affects remain positive either way.

Breastfeeding Impacts On Mothers 

Now that we know breastmilk is good for babies, we need to discuss the impact on the mother. Breastfeeding also has positive health benefits on lactating mothers. This includes, lowering the risk of:

The more a mother breastfeeds her baby, the greater the positive impact on both.

If you would like to know more on breastfeeding or support, contact a lactation consultant through the NHS or speak to a community midwife.

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