The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Nipple confusion can be a problem for many breastfed babies if they are given a bottle too early, even if it's filled with breast milk. Here's why: Infants coordinate their jaw, cheek and swallowing muscles in a specific way when they are breastfeeding. With a bottle, their feeding patterns are completely different--a bottle, for instance, gushes milk into a baby's mouth, and the child needs to move his tongue to control the flow. Not so with the breast.
Yes—as long as it's in moderation. Since anything you eat or drink can be transferred to your baby through your breast milk, you do need to watch what you put in your body.
"Fruits and vegetables are essential to the breastfeeding diet," says Gina Solomon, M.D., M.P.H., a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Organic, pesticide-free produce is best, but if you can't find organic, rinse well and enjoy." Should your budget for organic foods be limited, she suggests buying organic versions of the produce most often treated with pesticides: berries; stone fruits (peaches, cherries, apricots, nectarines, plums, etc.); leafy greens; and imported grapes. Domestic (in season) grapes are OK.
Breastfeed your baby, save the planet. It's a nice mantra for the eco-conscious times we live in. And it's true: More nursing means fewer bottles and formula cans to produce, ship and then dispose of.
You've read books, visited chat rooms, taken classes, made the (very smart) decision to breastfeed. You're ready, right? Mentally, yes, but once your baby makes his entrance, you're faced with the prospect of actually doing it—of maneuvering his tiny, floppy head onto your swollen breast and coaxing him not only to latch on, but to draw enough of that liquid gold into his body to sustain himself for the next hour, the next day, the next six months. We're here to help, with real-world tips to get you through those first hours in the hospital and first weeks at home.
Even though the first days and weeks of breastfeeding are the most important—it's when your milk supply is established and you and your baby get into the groove of things—many moms focus on this period to the exclusion of all others. But at some point down the road, you're likely to have different concerns and questions. Here's a look at some of the breastfeeding issues you're likely to face through the first year.
Possibly the most shocking moment in the final season of The Sopranos didn't involve a murder or betrayal. Rather, it was the image of a glamorous woman nursing her infant--in front of others. Babes for Breastfeeding (bestforbabes.com), a nonprofit organization formed last year by a lawyer and a businesswoman who became lactation counselors, intends to inspire a cultural shift that makes scenes like that the norm in TV, movies and everyday life. "Women don't need more pressure and guilt," says co-founder Danielle Rigg, a mother of two in New York City.
A mother nursing her baby—it's one of the most beautiful images nature could create. It's also one of the simplest. Breastfeeding is so natural, in fact, that we've been doing it for millions of years. (Indeed, without it, the human race wouldn't have survived.)
A new non-profit organization, Babes for Breastfeeding™, is empowering new moms to breastfeed successfully, and to feel fabulous while doing it. Founded by mom-preneurs Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg, Babes for Breastfeeding™ and its for-profit funding arm, Best for Babes™, are aiming to make breastfeeding as mainstream as motherhood itself.
Having a first baby before age 25 lowers your risk for breast cancer, as many studies have shown. But if you wait until you're 25 or older to start your family, you may be able to offset the increased risk by nursing your baby.
When Alexia Scott Morrison's daughter, Audra, was born last November, Morrison wanted very much to breastfeed—but she wasn't sure she could. "I had extremely flat nipples," she explains. Hospital nurses gave her a nipple shield, a thin silicone device that can draw out a nipple and make it more accessible to a baby, but they didn't offer a lot of advice on how to use the shield. Audra tried to nurse but couldn't latch on successfully, even with the device.
Experts agree: Breast milk is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby. It's brimming with nutrients and antibodies that boost your newborn's immunity, aid digestion and promote brain development. An added bonus: Breastfeeding burns calories like crazy, helping you lose those pregnancy pounds faster. And it reduces your lifetime risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and postmenopausal osteoporosis.