Besides being very convenient, breastfeeding is extremely healthy. It's the best start you can give your child. Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs during the first six months. What's more, it protects your baby against many illnesses. It also feels cosy. There are really no downsides to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding protects against allergies
Breastfeeding keeps babies healthy in many other ways as well. Breast milk gives your baby vital antibodies that guard against infection. Breastfeeding also prevents or delays allergies. What’s more, studies have shown that breast milk can provide long-term protection against various chronic diseases.
Besides its health benefits, breastfeeding is also very practical. You carry your milk around with you everywhere, it’s always at the optimal temperature, and it’s free.
But breastfeeding does more than nourish your baby, protect against infection and provide a practical feeding solution. It also gives your baby warmth and security, intimacy and comfort. It feels very, very cosy.
The shape of your breasts makes no difference
Your body prepares for breastfeeding all on its own. You don’t need to think about a thing. And it makes no difference how your breasts or nipples are shaped. Big or small – they all produce milk. The quantity might vary, but it’s usually exactly right for your baby.
Breastfeeding takes patience
Many new mothers are surprised to find that breastfeeding isn’t as easy as they expected. After all, it’s a natural function, right? But it can take some time to start working. This is partly because mum has to adapt to being on call around the clock, like a 24-hour restaurant. Meanwhile, baby needs to get the knack of sucking. Add to this the initial problem of sore nipples, and it’s clear why breastfeeding isn’t always plain sailing from day one. That’s why it’s known as ‘a learned art’.
It usually just takes a little peace and quiet, time and patience. Most parents say it takes two to three weeks to get into the swing of things. Then breastfeeding becomes an easy and enjoyable routine.
Things you can do to prepare for breastfeeding before the birth:
• Read about it.
• Talk to breastfeeding friends about it – watch them.
• Attend antenatal classes or specific breastfeeding classes before the birth.
• Talk to your midwife.
• Discuss it with your partner. It's easier to get into the swing of breastfeeding if you get help with daily household tasks etc.