Breastfeeding Basics | Fit Pregnancy

Breastfeeding Basics

Your Baby's First Foods

It's as simple as this: the best way to feed your baby is to breastfeed. The benefits are numerous, chief among them being that breastfed babies are healthier—as infants and in later life—than their formula-fed counterparts. But babies aren’t the only ones who benefit from breastfeeding: Moms enjoy perks, too, post-delivery and even years later.

Meet My New Breasts

The day after I came home from the hospital with my brand-new daughter, I found myself sitting in an armchair with the baby nurse, my husband, a neighbor and a chirpy doula named Lori all leaning over me, staring in wonder and cooing encouragement. It wasn’t my baby they were looking at; it was my breasts. As they poked, prodded and discussed the shape of my nipples, I began to feel my breasts take on a life of their own. Maybe it was from lack of sleep, but I swear I saw them float up in front of me and say, “We’re in charge now, honey. Get used to it.”

Reasons to Breastfeed

If someone were to offer you an elixir that could help protect your new baby from bronchitis, ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea and urinary tract infections, would you want to know more? If you knew that the effects of this concoction would last into your child’s teen-age years, reducing his risk for obesity, diabetes, allergies, asthma and high blood pressure, would you just have to have it? If the same potion might boost his IQ, wouldn’t you rush out to find it now?

First Foods


Should you breastfeed? Yes. Nothing is better for your baby than breast milk. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants consume breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life. Thereafter, breast milk combined with slowly introduced solid foods is recommended through the end of the first year.

Still Eating for Two

Caring for a newborn can leave you with precious little time or energy to devote to eating right. But it’s important to make good nutrition a priority, especially if you’re breastfeeding—after all, your baby is relying on you to supply all the nutrients he needs. Here are 7 simple shortcuts and guidelines to help you get the maximum nutrition with minimal effort.

Tips for Breastfeeding Success

When I was pregnant, I heard many a story about problems other women had with breastfeeding: cracked and bleeding nipples, painful engorgement and inadequate milk supply, to name just a few. I knew I wanted to nurse my baby and felt confident that I could, but I wondered: Will these things happen to me, too?  

How To Breast Feed (and Still Have a Life)

When my daughter Willa was an infant, she loved to nurse. Every hour on the hour. And never more than a nip at a time. She also hated to nurse in public, preferring a quiet room alone with me.


My son wasn’t even 3 months old when people began quizzing me about how long I planned to breastfeed. I quickly realized that these weren’t casual inquiries, and there was no correct answer.
    Some people couldn’t believe I still was nursing, acting as if my son were 16 and not weaned. Others seemed to question my adequacy as a mother when I wavered briefly in my commitment to breastfeed for at least a year.

A Baby's Breast Friend

By the time Kathi Sweet finished her childbirth preparation class, she knew she would breastfeed her baby. Among other factors leading to this decision was the fact that her instructor was a breastfeeding advocate. “She stressed the health benefits for the baby, and the ease and convenience for me,” says Sweet, now a mother of two boys in Los Angeles. “Her attitude was that everyone can do it, that it’s natural ... women are made to nurse their children.”

nursing 101

Experts now urge women to nurse their babies for at least one year, because breastfed infants are healthiest. But between sore nipples, engorged breasts and relatives who ask, “Are you still nursing?” it’s not always so easy. Here, one of the country’s best-known lactation consultants, Kathleen Huggins, R.N., M.S., offers reassurance and advice. Huggins is the author of The Nursing Mother’s Companion (The Harvard Common Press, 1995).

How do I get my baby to latch on so that nursing doesn’t hurt my nipples?