It's said the best things in life are free. That's certainly true with breast milk!
Breast milk is the healthiest food you can give your baby — it has all the nutrients, calories, and fluid a newborn needs for the first six months of life, and it's easy to digest. Although any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial to a baby, it's recommended that mothers exclusively nurse their child for the first six months and continue to breastfeed up to a year if possible.
Benefits of Breastfeeding:
Protects your baby against disease and infection.
May reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
Helps prevent your baby from developing allergies.
Lowers the mother’s stress level, helps her body return to its pre-pregnancy state, and reduces the risk of postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding can be challenging at times, especially in the early days. Talk to your pediatrician or a lactation consultant to help you troubleshoot problems or find alternatives that are good for you and your baby.
If breastfeeding is not an option for you, formula offers your baby the necessary nutrients to grow and thrive. The two most common types of formula are made from cow's milk and soy. Use only formula that has added iron because it is essential for your baby's health. Iron deficiency can cause problems in overall development and learning abilities.
QUICK TIP: Did you know your newborn can tell you if she is full or hungry? Just look at her hands! A hungry baby will have a closed fist, and a full baby will have open hands. So, the next time you are feeding your baby and wonder if she has had enough, check those tiny hands!