Ten normal facts about breastfeeding

1. Physical: Breastfeeding is the normal way of feeding and nourishing your baby. Newborn babies need warmth nutrition and love and breastfeeding satisfies all three.

2. Physical: Your baby is designed to breastfeed. When your baby is born he will have 20 innate feeding behaviours that hardwire him to breastfeed. If placed on your chest whilst you are in a laid back position and given time, your baby knows how to latch on perfectly. Research has shown that even if bottle-fed for up to three months babies still retain this capacity or cellular memory! So even if your baby does not feed in the first hour or first day or first week; everything in his fibre is still propelling him to breastfeed.

3. Physical: The close contact between mother and baby enables mothers to create designer antibodies for their babies in their milk as when the mother encounters the same pathogens as the baby in their environment the mother will produce antibodies that pass directly into her milk and directly to her baby. Expressed milk whilst containing immunological properties does not have this real time immunity. Milk expressed by hand has increased immunologic properties in comparison to milk expressed by machine.

4. Physical: Your baby creates your milk supply. A full milk supply is about 1.1litres, your baby needs to feed early and often to create this for you and for him. This quantity of milk remains constant from the early weeks to about 6 months.

5. Physical: Breastfeeding your baby is designed to keep you healthy as a woman. Breastfeeding helps to protect you against breast cancer, osteoporosis, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer.

6. Physical: Breastfeeding is designed to keep your baby safe for life. Breastfeeding protects your baby from ear infections, meningitis, pneumonia, allergic eczema, asthma, MS, leukaemia, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, Type 1 insulin dependent diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome.

7. Physical: Babies and young children show a sucking reflex, which persists until some children are 6 or 7 years old. The World Health Organisation and the Department of Health recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months and then breastfeeding as part of a mixed diet until the age of 2 and beyond. Breastmilk you create for a toddler has different properties to the milk produced for a young baby.  For example, the ratio of whey protein to casein protein in early milk is about 90:10 whereas in milk produced for a toddler it is about 50:50. Casein protein is difficult for newborn babies with immature digestive systems to digest hence breastmilk increases it gradually over time.

8. Emotional: The act of breastfeeding keeps mother and baby close and this promotes oxytocin and bonding. Babies feed for many reasons, as they grow, many small feeds are not primarily for nutritional purposes but to sustain his sense of connectedness to you as his mother. Secure attachments and synaptic connections that promote emotional bonding are created in the first three years of life.

9. Emotional: Breastfeeding enables your baby to regulate when and for how long he wants to breastfeed. This gives your baby a sense of self-autonomy. When your breastfeeding baby stops feeding he gets his first opportunity to say no!

10. Community: When you breastfeed, you are part of a community of over 500 million women around the planet who are also breastfeeding. When you breastfeed in public you affirm that sense of community.

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