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The Advantages of Breastfeeding During The First Six Months of Life

The Advantages of Breastfeeding During The First Six Months of Life

DEVELOPMENT
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NaN MIN

Breastfeeding can evoke feelings of success, failure, frustration, and bliss. Some liken breastfeeding to a full-time job and feel overwhelmed by the added pressure. Others love the peaceful moments of bonding with their baby. Either way, the resulting advantages offer protection against several potential health issues, for baby and mother alike.

Here's What You Need To Know:
  • Breastmilk is designed to perfectly meet and adapt to a baby's needs for the first six months of life.
  • Attempt breastfeeding and latching within the first hour of life, or as soon as possible.
  • Nursing also benefits the mother, aiding in her recovery from birth and preventing diseases.
  • Don’t suffer through pain, supply, or latching issues. Seek help from a lactation consultant as soon as you experience any challenges or discomfort.
  • Avoid pacifiers and bottles with nipples until a baby’s latch is well-established and mother’s milk has come in fully.

Why Breastfeeding Matters:

Breastmilk perfectly meets and adapts to a baby’s needs for the first six months of life and beyond. Often referred to as “liquid gold,” it is a nutrient-rich food that provides a bounty of benefits. Breastfeeding and the nursing relationship between mother and baby help your little one reach optimal development, growth, and long-term health.¹

So why exactly is breastfeeding recommended?

1. It is Nutritious

In the first days after birth, your breasts produce an amazing fluid called colostrum. It is high in protein, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin K. After that, your regular breast milk comes in and provides complete nutrition for your baby³. It contains everything your little one needs during its first 6 months of life.

2. It Keeps Your Baby Healthy

Breast milk is chock-full of antibodies that help your baby fight off germs. It is essentially your baby's first "vaccine" and is crucial during those early vulnerable months. Breast milk is also high in white blood cells, which destroy bacteria.

When you are exposed to a pathogen, your body produces antibodies that go into your baby's milk. Through this, both you and your little one build up immunity.

3. It Aids in Development

Incredibly, breast milk adapts and changes composition based on your baby’s growth and development. It reduces your baby’s risk of developing digestive or breathing issues, diabetes, obesity, and the likelihood of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)³.

It is also known to promote sensory, cognitive, and social development³.

4. It Helps Mom Too

Breastfeeding causes hormone surges that help a mother’s body heal from pregnancy and birth, aid in the loss of excess pregnancy weight, and reduce the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease⁴.

How To Stick with Breastfeeding:

• Attempt breastfeeding and having baby latch as soon as possible within the first hour of life.

• Ask for help early and often. Don’t suffer through pain, supply, or latching issues. Seek help from a lactation consultant as soon as you experience any challenges or discomfort.

• Breastfeed exclusively, on-demand, as often as baby wants, day and night. Sure you’ll be tired, but it will also make for a secure, healthy, growing baby and a successful breastfeeding experience for mother and baby⁵.

• Avoid pacifiers and bottles with nipples until a baby’s latch is well-established and mother’s milk has come in fully (usually about two weeks after birth).

• If you have to go back to work, speak to your human resources department and ask them to accommodate your need for a private room to pump several times a day.

How To Stick with Breastfeeding:

• Attempt breastfeeding and having baby latch as soon as possible within the first hour of life.

• Ask for help early and often. Don’t suffer through pain, supply, or latching issues. Seek help from a lactation consultant as soon as you experience any challenges or discomfort.

• Breastfeed exclusively, on-demand, as often as baby wants, day and night. Sure you’ll be tired, but it will also make for a secure, healthy, growing baby and a successful breastfeeding experience for mother and baby⁵.

• Avoid pacifiers and bottles with nipples until a baby’s latch is well-established and mother’s milk has come in fully (usually about two weeks after birth).

• If you have to go back to work, speak to your human resources department and ask them to accommodate your need for a private room to pump several times a day.

Summary

Whether a mother is able to breastfeed or not, it’s important the baby receives enough nutrition to grow. Any amount of breast milk provided to the baby is beneficial to their health, especially during their first six months of life. Don’t get discouraged! Try the above suggestions to start and stick with nursing or pumping through the first six months.

About the Author
Arianna Schioldager
Writer

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