BREASTFEEDING AND NUTRITION
Doctors and midwives agree that breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for your baby in the first few months of his or her life.
Health advantages for babies
- Breast milk is readily digestible
- It contains all the nutrients necessary for the baby's development
- It provides babies with their mother's antibodies
- Babies find comfort in the physical contact provided by breastfeeding
Practical advantages for mothers
- Breast milk is always available, in sufficient quantities and at the right temperature
- Breastfeeding has a positive impact on maternal health
- It does not have to be paid for
Experts recommend breastfeeding your child when required - in other words, when he or she is hungry. However, intervals of less than two hours between feeds are not recommended, because it leaves you unnecessarily exhausted and may have a negative effect on milk production, as the breast is never completely emptied.
Once milk production is functional well, your baby will need an average of between 6 and 8 feeds every 24 hours. By the age of three to four months, he or she should be able to sleep for six or more hours during the night.
How long you breastfeed is up to you, but it has been scientifically proven that exclusive breastfeeding for the first four to six months of a baby's life reduces the risk of allergic illnesses by up to 50%.
At the age of six months or earlier, your baby will need supplementary food sources to meet his or her heightened energy intake requirements.