Elizabeth Oyler BSN, RN
IBCLC Baby-Friendly Program Coordinator
Baptist Health is a Baby-Friendly hospital, and as such, we believe that breastfeeding is the optimal way to nourish your baby. We also respect a woman’s right to choose to breastfeed (or not to breastfeed). Our aim is to educate expecting and new mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding. Here are some FAQs about breastfeeding:
When can I start breastfeeding?
In most cases, you can begin breastfeeding immediately after birth. A mother’s first milk is called ‘colostrum’, and is high in protein and contains antibodies that are a perfect way to nourish your baby. Colostrum is yellowish in color and quite viscous. Gradually, mature breast milk will replace the colostrum.
Physicians recommend that mothers who are able to breastfeed should continue up until 12 months. Thereafter, we believe that it is the mother’s decision when to stop breastfeeding. Read more about breastfeeding in the free E-Book ‘Mom Life: The New You’.
What can I do to make sure that my baby attaches easily?
Skin-to-skin contact is recommended immediately after delivery to promote ease of breastfeeding. In many cases, the skin-to-skin contact has helped babies find the breast without any help.
If I have any problems, are there any resources available to me?
Baptist Health has a service specifically geared towards nursing mothers called, Expressly for You. Staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) and registered nurses, Expressly for You has lactation specialists here to help you with information about breast pumps, issues with attachment, technique, and position. Baptist Health Expressly for You has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health to offer the Arkansas Breastfeeding Helpline available 24/7 at 501-202-7378 or 1-844-344-0408.
Do I have to follow a special diet while breastfeeding?
During breastfeeding, you may need to eat a little bit more than usual. Physicians recommend eating at least 300 to 400 extra calories per day of nutrient rich and high protein foods. Meat, eggs, fresh fruits, whole wheat grains, and vegetables are all recommended.
You will also feel thirstier than usual. We recommend that you drink as much water as possible and stay away from sugary fruit juices and sodas.
Food and drink to avoid would include alcohol, excessive caffeine (2 cups per day is okay), or any high mercury seafood.
Most doctors will let you know at your postnatal appointment that you need to continue taking your prenatal vitamins as a supplement to your regular diet.
When should I start introducing my baby to solid foods?
Breast milk is sufficient to support development functions in newborns up until 6 months of age. After that, new foods and flavors can be introduced to your baby – however, we still recommend that breast milk is the main source of nutrition up to 12 months of age.
Find More Answers: Download Our Mom Life E-Book Today
You may have many more FAQs about breastfeeding. Baptist Health is here to help. Download our free E-Book ‘Mom Life: The New You’ for even more information.