Breastfeeding your baby is one of the best decisions you can make. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend breastfeeding for your baby's first six months of life or longer. You may be surprised to learn that not only is it much healthier for your baby, but it also benefits you as well. Below are some tips to help both you.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breast milk is much more nutritious for your baby than giving it formula. It provides your baby with the nutrients and vitamins to grow healthy. Breastmilk can also help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria because it contains antibodies. Extending the amount of time you breastfeed your baby has been linked to a higher IQ and even a higher income.
Breastfeeding can also benefit you in many ways. It can help with weight loss, as you burn calories while you are breastfeeding. While you are breastfeeding, you will likely not have a period.
Another great benefit of breastfeeding your baby is it saves you a lot of time from not having to warm up bottles, sterilize nipples, and measure out formula. This gives you much more time to spend with your baby.
Choosing a Breast Pump
You may not be around every time your baby is hungry, so you will need to have a breast pump to have milk ready in bottles while you are gone. There are different types of breast pumps to choose from. The hospital will likely be able to rent one to you, if you prefer. If you plan to breast feed for more than just a few weeks, you should consider buying one for yourself.
When it comes to choosing a breast pump you have many options. For example, some breast pumps allow you to store milk in them while others do not. There are double pumps so you can do both breasts at the same time, single pumps, manual pumps, and electric pumps.
Manual breast pumps are generally lighter and easier to carry around, and they may be less expensive. It is harder on you to pump your milk manually, however, as your hands will become tired. Some models you can pump with one hand, while others require you to use both hands.
There are also battery powered or electric pumps you can use. Some are designed to pump one breast at a time, and there are others that will pump both breasts at the same time. These pumps are stronger while pumping your breasts, so you may have some discomfort in your breasts while pumping and after you pump.
Make sure you spend time with the lactating nurse in the hospital. They can be of great help in helping you breast feed, as well as help you choose the best type of breast pump for you.