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HOW LONG SHOULD I BREASTFEED MY CHILD?

And other questions asked by new moms answered here

Being a first-time mom can be overwhelming. Everything from diaper-changing to baby baths and most importantly nursing is new territory. There are so many questions that come with this responsibility, especially about breastfeeding. In developing countries like Pakistan there is a lack of awareness. Find an online doctor and get answers at home!  We’re going to lay down the basics in this article for your convenience. 

If you’re a nursing mom and are facing issues with feeding your baby, talk to your doctor about it and get some help. You can also find an online doctor in Pakistan by downloading a doctor availability app on your smartphone. Look up your doctor, book an online doctor appointment whether you live in Lahore, Karachi or any other city. Getting a professional opinion from the comfort of your own home beats an in-clinic visit. It’s not easy going out with a baby! 

Why is breastfeeding so important?

Breastfeeding is a natural way of providing babies and young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Almost all mothers can breastfeed and are encouraged to do so, provided they have accurate information and the support of their family. Their doctors  and the health care system and society at large should help as well. 

What is colostrum?

Colostrum is the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy and is recommended by the WHO as the perfect food for the newborn. Breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth. Colostrum is also known as ‘witch’s milk’ and there is a myth that it should be expelled and discarded. You know now it is not unhealthy for the baby.

How long should I breastfeed?

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age. Breastmilk contains all the necessary nutrients needed to promote normal healthy growth and development in babies in their first six months of life and remains the most important food during their first year. After that, the weaning process i.e. introduction of food along with continued breastfeeding begins up to two years of age or beyond. 

Some babies go down on the number of breastfeeds as they begin to be able to digest solid food. The first foods are more just tastes, and not much is digested or able to be used by the baby. It is around nine to 12 months or later that babies are actually able to ingest (swallow) and use the solid foods that they eat for energy and nutrition. 

The duration of breastfeeding varies among mothers and depends on the situation. Working moms may switch to bottle feeding, or feeding by cup. Some mothers experience a decrease in milk supply and go for formula milk instead. Others experience sore nipples, cracks and bleeding and stop breastfeeding altogether. Whatever the case may be, it’s better to keep your doctor in the loop for help and guidance. You can get expert medical advice on an online video conference with online doctors in Pakistan. 

Online health services have made it easier for patients to access online specialists and get medical aid or assistance without having to wait long hours at a clinic. This is particularly convenient for a new mom as she is in the recovery phase after delivering a baby. With telemedicine apps like My live doctors you can just ask a doctor online and get answers on your phone by text, email, a phone call or video call. 

Can I breastfeed during pregnancy?

An early subsequent pregnancy can take a toll on you physically and mentally with a demanding baby by your side. If you become pregnant, it’s your choice whether you want to continue to breastfeed or you may like to gradually wean your baby. This is an individual choice. Whatever decision you make, it is important to maintain a healthy diet. Seek advice from your healthcare provider or ask an online Physician in Pakistan. With everything available online, seeking healthcare without having to visit a doctor’s office has never been easier.

Benefits of breastfeeding 

Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat -- everything your baby needs to grow. Additional benefits include:

  • It is more easily digested than infant formula. 
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. 
  • Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of having asthma or allergies. 
  • Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. 
  • Breastfed babies have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.
  • Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies. 
  • Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
  • Breastfeeding may play a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Aside from the physical aspects, the closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. 

Breastfeeding is advantageous for the mother as it burns extra calories, which helps you lose pregnancy weight faster. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Studies show that breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may lower your risk of osteoporosis, too.

The cost of formula milk is cut down. There is no hassle of sterilizing nipples, or warming bottles. It not only saves time but money too. It also gives you more time to relax quietly with your newborn as you bond.

However, if for some reason you are finding it difficult to nurse you baby then see your doctor. There are healthcare experts trained to help you with lactation problems. Find an online doctor in Lahore or ask an online physician anywhere in Pakistan what the best option for you would be. 

Everyone’s motherhood journey is different. Your choices may vary from the mother next to you and that’s alright. There’s really no right or wrong in this scenario. Just make sure your doctors are involved so you can make an informed decision for your baby. 

For more information on pregnancy and child health, visit http://mylivedoctors.com.