You are pregnant and have many questions about breastfeeding. Is it a good idea? What will others think? How will I do it?
First of all, you should know that no one has the right to judge whether you should breastfeed or not. It's your choice, and it should be based on your situation and especially on your desires.
Breastfeeding is a very broad topic. We will devote different articles to it. This article will be primarily dedicated to how breastfeeding works.
Can all women breastfeed?
Yes, all mothers can breastfeed, as long as there is no contraindication from the doctor. Illness, bacteria, type 1 diabetes or anemia are examples of risk factors that should be considered if you want to breastfeed your baby. Medical advice and testing are recommended throughout your pregnancy to prevent these risks.
The question often comes up: can you breastfeed if you have small breasts?
Breast size or nipple size have no influence on your milk supply, since it is only the mammary glands that come into play when producing milk. These mammary glands are formed by pregnancy hormones.
Starting Breastfeeding Right
Throughout your pregnancy, you will be monitored by your gynecologist and/or a midwife. They are there to support you and answer all your questions. Breastfeeding is a completely natural path.It is a primary need. You will be surprised to see that your newborn will quickly find your breast. It is also recommended that you do skin-to-skin with your baby as soon as possible, in order to introduce him to breastfeeding. Indeed, babies are programmed to suckle from birth, this is called early suckling.
Can we breastfeed in public?
Today in France, there is no law prohibiting public breastfeeding.
Often considered a taboo subject, breastfeeding in public is nothing new. Babies, from birth, are programmed to feed every 3 hours. Breastfeeding is natural, and if you have to breastfeed your child while you are at a restaurant, then do it. Bah what, you're at a restaurant, that's the best place to eat, right?
For a little more privacy in those moments, you can get a cotton swaddle that will hide part of your breast, while letting your child breathe thanks to its natural material.
Find out our public breastfeeding article
Breastfeeding and returning to work
The Labor Code states, "For one year from the day of birth, mothers breastfeeding their children have one hour per day during working hours for this purpose." (Labor Code - Article L224-2). This hour of breastfeeding is actually divided into 2 half hours, allowing you to either pump your milk or breastfeed your child on the spot.
With 100 or more employees in a company, the employer is obligated to provide you with a specific room so that you can breastfeed or express your milk.
There is evidence that breast milk has real health benefits for babies. The WHO recommends breastfeeding until your child is 6 months old, so that he or she gets the benefits of breast milk. But it is really up to you to judge what is good for you and your child. Today, formula milks also contain health benefits for children.
Weaning should be done step by step. It would be too frustrating for a young child to have to give up breast milk overnight. In particular, you can start with dietary diversification or even mixed breastfeeding
Mixed feeding is alternating between breast milk and formula milk for babies.
It is particularly used to begin weaning a child.
When switching, you will notice a reduction in the amount of your breast milk. In order to avoid an overall decrease in your milk, make sure that bottles are given at the same time each day. Your body, after a few days, will figure out on its own that a milk supply will not be needed at that specific time.
How the human body works will always surprise us!
What about the spouse?
If you're lucky enough to be together to accompany this little being, you'll surely enjoy sharing these moments. Only the woman who gave birth to this baby will be able to provide breast milk naturally. To involve your partner, you can collect your milk with a breast pump and store it in bottles. This way, your spouse, and even your loved ones will be able to bottle-feed your baby.
The Medela brand offers different types of breast pumps designed to meet the needs of all breastfeeding moms.
From classic breast pumps to electric breast pumps, you're bound to find one that fits your needs.
To store your milk, you have several options:
- at room temperature up to 8 hours after drawing
- in the refrigerator up to 1 week
- in the freezer up to 2 weeks
Remember that breastfeeding is a personal choice, it is your body. It is an experience that can vary from person to person, from pregnancy to pregnancy. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
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