The First Six Weeks

Breast milk is the best food you can give to your
baby. Breast milk is a complete food source,
containing all the nutrients your baby need - at
least 400 of them to be exact, including hormones
and disease fighting compounds that aren't found
in formula.

The nutritional makeup in breast milk will adjust
to your baby's needs as he or she grows and
develops. Aside from the brain building, infection
fighting benefits of breast milk, which no formula
can match, nursing will also help to build a special
bond between you and your baby. When nursing,
your child thrives on the contact, cuddling, and
holding - which you will as well.

Since breast feedings can take up to 40 minutes or
more, you should pick a cozy spot for nursing. The
atmosphere is very important, even more so in the
early days of breast feeding when you're still
trying to get the hang of it. If you get easily
distracted by noise, go somewhere quiet.

You should always hold your baby in a position
that won't leave your arms or back sore. It works
the best to support the back of your baby's head
with your hand, although which position you choose
depends on what's more comfortable to you.

When supporting your baby, a nursing pillow can
sometimes be a big help. You should never feed
until both you and your baby are comfortable. Pay
attention to how your breasts feel when your baby
latches on, as his mouth should cover most of the
areola below the nipple, and the nipple should be
far back into your baby's mouth.

While some women adjust to breast feeding easily,
other moms find it hard to learn. If you feel
discouraged, always know that you aren't the only
one. Everyone feels different when starting, it
all depends on the mother and the situation.

Breast feeding will take practice. Therefore, you
should give yourself as much time as you need to
get it down to second nature. Always take it one
feeding at a time. If you are having a bad day,
tell yourself that it'll get better. Keep in mind
that any problems are temporary, as you'll be
nursing like a pro by your six week postpartum
checkup.

The first six weeks will be both an adventure and
training. You can't expect to know everything when
you begin, which is where training and practice will
really help you excel. The more you breast feed,
the more you'll learn. You'll also build a bond
with your baby - which is something you'll always
have for the rest of your lives.

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