Breast milk is all your baby needs for the first six months of life
- Babies need no other food or fluid, including water.
- Introducing other food or fluids can cause problems for breastfeeding and your baby’s health.
- Breast milk has all the nutrition and fluid your baby needs for the first 6 months, even in hot weather. Breast milk is better for your baby than any other food or fluid. Giving other foods or fluids may decrease your baby’s desire for your breast milk
Giving your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months is best for your baby’s health
- Your baby’s body has iron stored from your body during pregnancy. Your breast milk has a protein that makes your baby’s body able to use that iron.
- Babies who have only breast milk for 6 months are less sick than babies who eat other foods. They have less pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. They also have less intestinal disease, fewer ear infections, and fewer allergies.
The early months of your baby’s life are essential to his long-term development
- Breastfeeding gives your baby the body-building components that are particularly suited to his health and development.
- Milk from animal and plant sources do not contain the body-building components
- particularly suited to the human body.
The first milk is colostrum
- Colostrum is in your breasts starting about the 5th month of pregnancy.
- Colostrum is available in small amounts which perfectly match the baby’s stomach size at birth.
- Breastmilk begins to be produced when the baby is born, and increases in amount daily, as the baby’s stomach size grows.
- Small amounts of colostrum in the first few days keep the baby from overfilling his stomach. This is important while the baby is learning to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing.
- Colostrum gives your baby protection against disease that no formula can give.
Babies are born with extra fluid stores
- This extra fluid is used over the first few days while their stomach is too small to accommodate much fluid.
- The weight loss babies normally experience in the first few days is simply loss of this “water weight
Babies are not ready to take other foods until 6 months of age
- For the first 6 months, your baby’s intestine has small pores in it, like a net. If given other foods, nonhuman
- proteins can go the pores into your baby’s body and cause allergies. Around 6 months, the pores in your
- baby’s intestine close up. Your baby can then eat other foods.
- Around 6 months, baby is able to sit up. A baby must be able to sit up to swallow food properly.
- Around 6 months, baby’s tongue can move in, to accept food, unlike during breastfeeding when the tongue
- pushes out.
- By 6 months, the baby’s mouth cavity has deepened. Your baby can then eat spoonfuls of food.
Breast milk should still be baby’s main source of nutrition for your baby’s first year.
- Breast milk is better than any other food for nutrition and disease protection. It is important to introduce solids after 6 months so baby will learn to eat different foods.
- It’s important to keep breastfeeding. Breastfeed prior to each meal of solids, as the “first course.”
- You can also keep up your baby’s breast milk intake by gradually increasing meals, such as: one meal of solids a day at 6 months, then 2 solid feedings a day at 7 months, 3 meals a day at 8 months, then 3 meals plus snacks at 9 months. Breastfeed before each meal, and before and after sleep periods.
- Important fats found only in breast milk build the brain, eyes, and digestive system. The brain and nervous
- system grow a lot over the next year or two. The amount of fat in your milk grows over this time. Breastfeeding through the second year helps your baby develop a better brain, eyesight, and develop the digestive system to absorb nutrients better.
Breastfeeding may continue longer than your infant’s first year of life
- Breastfeeding offers comfort and emotional support. As your baby develops the ability to talk and walk, he may also get separation anxiety. Breastfeeding makes your baby feel secure.
- As your baby comes into contact with other children, the disease-fighting components of breast milk help him stay healthy.
- The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, and continuing to breastfeed as long as you
- both desire, even into the third year of life or longer. The longer you breastfeed, the greater the benefits, for you and your child.
- You can breastfeed during pregnancy, as well as nurse an older child along with an infant. This is called tandem nursing.