What is exclusive breast feeding?
Exclusive breastfeeding is when a baby receives only breast milk, without any additional food or drinks (including water) until 6 months of age.
While breastfeeding beyond 6 months, baby should receive foods with continued breast milk until the age of 2 or older. The breastfeeding duration after 2 years depends entirely on mom and baby.
Why is exclusive breastfeeding recommended?
Breast milk is the ideal food for any baby, for the best growth and development mentally, emotionally and physically. It is not only important for baby, but has many benefits for mom, namely…helping her lose the postpartum pounds easily after birth and it also helps prevent postpartum depression.
Making exclusive breast feeding possible
- Mom should try to breastfeed baby within the first hour of baby’s life.
- Baby should not receive any supplements and this includes water.
- Mom should breastfeed baby on demand and as often as baby wants.
- Mom should breastfeed baby at night too… co-sleeping can help with this.
- Mom should try to stay away from artificial nipples and pacifiers to prevent nipple confusion.
- Mom should try to educate herself on potential breastfeeding problems. Read through our breastfeeding information site map if you would like to educate yourself on breastfeeding and the problems that may arise.
- Get involved in a breastfeeding support group of other mothers who are also breastfeeding exclusively.
- Make it clear at the hospital that you intend on nursing exclusively.
- Moms who are returning to work can also breastfeed exclusively by pumping during the day and breastfeeding at night.
The advantages of breastfeeding exclusively
- Babies who are exclusively breastfed recover quicker from colds and infections. Breast milk also prevents babies from becoming sick.
- It can help keep mom from becoming pregnant until she decides to wean. This can help her space out her family as she wishes. Read more about lactation amenorrhea here (when breastfeeding delays your period and fertility).
- It reduces the chances of ovarian and breast cancer in mom.
- If you are exclusively breastfeeding you won’t need to buy expensive supplements (formula) or bottles.
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