Breastfeeding provides the best food for your baby, helps the baby’s immune system develop, and gives you benefits, too!
Breastfeeding is more than feeding your baby. While it provides your baby with comfort and a sense of security, it has emotional benefits for you, too. It creates a special bond between you and your baby.
Breastfeeding saves money and improves both your health and the health of your baby.
Exclusive breastfeeding is the best way to feed a healthy infant for the first 6 months of life. At 6 months, you can begin to give your baby nutrient-rich, solid foods with a special focus on iron, while you continue to breastfeed until about 2 years of age and beyond.
In Canada, Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants is the national statement on nutrition for infants from birth to 24 months. It was developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Health Canada. For more information, click here.
Breastfeeding offers many advantages to both you and your baby.
Fluid intake (Hydration):
Make sure to drink plenty of fluids during the months you are breastfeeding. Keep track of how much weight you have lost through sweating by weighing yourself before and after exercise. Drink an extra 2 to 3 cups of fluids (water is best) for every pound of weight lost during exercise.
Breastfeeding increases your energy needs by up to 500 kcal each day.
You can slowly begin or resume a physical activity or exercise program, even when you are breastfeeding.
You have the right to breastfeed in public and the right to breastfeed when you return to work or school. Because you have the legal right to breastfeed in public places, you do not have to stay home to breastfeed your baby.
Being comfortable while breastfeeding (Accessories):
Many kinds of accessories make breastfeeding and milk pumping easier.
1Exclusive breastfeeding, as defined by the World Health Organization [http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding/en/], refers to the practice of feeding only breast milk (including pumped breast milk) and allows the baby to receive vitamins, minerals, or medicine. Water, breast milk substitutes, other liquids, and solid foods are not part of exclusive breastfeeding.
Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and Health Canada. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Ottawa, 2005.