As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to match her nutritional needs.
Your baby will be getting naturally occurring immune protection against illnesses, allergies and infections (ear, chest and stomach).
You’ll benefit from faster recovery after pregnancy and delivery, and possibly a lower risk of breast cancer and diabetes later in life.
Breastfeeding is the ideal bonding time for you and your baby.
Breast milk is convenient, fresh and at the right temperature—plus it’s environmentally friendly.
Breastfeeding: The benefits for baby and you
Experts such as the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada recommend that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, and continue to be breastfed for up to 2 years and beyond along with appropriate solid foods starting at around 6 months.
Learn more about breastfeeding

What an appetite!

For the first few weeks, it will feel like all you do is nurse. Your newborn should breastfeed 8 to 12 times a day, for 15 to 45 minutes. This feeding frenzy helps to establish a good milk supply and prepare you for nourishing your baby’s early growth spurt: most infants double their birth weight somewhere around 4 to 6 months of age. How do you tell if baby is getting enough? Simple—check her diaper. If she wets 6 to 8 diapers every day after the first week of life, she’s eating enough. Steady weight gain is another positive sign. After losing up to 10% of their birth weight in the first week, newborns should start to gain about 25 grams a day until they reach 3 months.

Easing discomfort

Nursing is wonderful, but it can also be uncomfortable. Around 3 days after giving birth, your milk will “come in” and your breasts will feel full, swollen and sore. How to relieve the pain? Start by nursing more often. If that’s not enough, get a pump to take excess milk from your breasts, or take a shower, which can trigger your letdown reflex. To reduce swelling, try ice wrapped in a cloth.
When it just won’t work
For some women and some babies, breastfeeding doesn’t work. If that includes you or your newborn, don’t be hard on yourself, and don’t worry. Your baby can get all the nourishment she needs from formula, and feeding time can still be wonderfully intimate.
Getting a grip
How you hold baby can make a big difference to your comfort and milk flow. So what’s the best way? The key is to keep your back straight and use pillows to support your arms. Relax your shoulders and bring baby up to your breast. Her shoulders and hips should be at the same level, and she should be looking straight at your breast. Now how to hold baby? One simple option is the cross-cradle hold: support baby on your arm opposite your breast, with baby’s behind in the crook of your elbow and her head in your hand. Another is the football hold: tuck baby underneath your arm, like a football, with her head resting in your hand, facing your breast. This hold works well when baby is very small.
There’s nothing like it
Breastfeeding is like anything else you’ve never done before. Just keep at it, don’t be afraid to ask for help, stay positive, and remember that practice really does make perfect. Remind yourself that nursing is hard for many new Moms in the beginning, but that soon you’ll enjoy the intimacy and bonding. Plus, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re giving her the very best nutritional start.
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