More Breastfeeding Basics
1. Infants should breastfeed immediately after birth
Infants are most alert in the first hour to hour and a half of life. This is especially true if no maternal medications have been transferred to the infant during labor and delivery. Newborns should nurse at the mother's breast during this alert period. After this initial alert period, babies go through a two to six or eight hour period of time when they are much sleepier and less arousable. Breastfeeding during this period of time may be much more difficult. Mothers need to be reassured that this is normal and it will not hurt their baby to go through this period of time without a good feeding. Studies have shown that infants who nursed soon after birth had a longer duration of breastfeeding than infants who were first put to breast 3 to 6 hours after birth.
3. The results of 4 studies all show that early pacifier use is associated with a shorter duration of breastfeeding. Whether early pacifier use is a cause or is only a marker for mothers who are having difficulty with breastfeeding, have decreased confidence in their ability to breastfeed, or desire a short duration of breastfeeding is unknown. Pacifier use beginning after 4 weeks of age does not seem to be associated with a shorter duration of breastfeeding. Mothers who want to breastfeed should avoid giving a pacifier to their baby until breastfeeding is well established or until the baby is about 4 weeks of age.
4. Maternal breast milk placed on the nipples is the best treatment for dry, cracked or sore nipples.
5. Continue breastfeeding after going back to work, or put baby on formula?
In the United States, the cost of renting an electric breast pump has been shown to be less than the cost of formula if the infant is weaned. So continuing breastfeeding while working may provide a financial advantage as well good nutrition, immunological benefits and the other benefits of breastfeeding.
6. Breastfeeding for a year or even longer has no detrimental effects. Mom and baby can wean whenever they are ready.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends "There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer."