Breastfeeding is the natural way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development, but it is also a journey, and success in supporting and sustaining breastfeeding is a long-term investment between moms, their support systems, and the healthcare community. With this in mind, the Ocean County WIC Program is invested in supporting efforts to encourage and promote breastfeeding through diverse and far-reaching initiatives aimed at giving children their very best possible start to life.
Frequently Asked Questions
1How does breastfeeding my baby benefit me?
Breastfeeding is good for you for the following reasons: • Breastfeeding burns as many as 500 extra calories each day, which may make it easier to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. • Women who breastfeed longer have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. • Women who breastfeed have lower rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. • Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone that causes the uterus to contract. This helps the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and may decrease the amount of bleeding you have after giving birth.
2How does breastfeeding benefit my baby?
Breastfeeding benefits your baby in the following ways: • Breast milk has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals needed for a baby’s growth and development. As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to adapt to the baby’s changing nutritional needs. • Breast milk is easier to digest than formula. • Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and allergies. • Breastfed infants have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Any amount of breastfeeding appears to help lower this risk. • If your baby is born preterm, breast milk can help reduce the risk of many of the short-term and longterm health problems that preterm babies face, such as necrotizing enterocolitis or other infections.
3How long should I breastfeed my baby?
It is recommended that babies exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of life. Exclusive breastfeeding means to feed your baby only breast milk and no other foods or liquids unless advised by the baby’s doctor. Breastfeeding should continue as new foods are introduced through the baby’s first year. You can keep breastfeeding after the first year as long as you and your baby want to continue. You can use a breast pump to express milk at work to provide milk for your baby when you are separated.
4When can I begin breastfeeding?
Most healthy newborns are ready to breastfeed within the first hour after birth. Hold your baby directly against your bare skin (called “skin-to-skin” contact) right after birth. Placing your baby against your skin right after birth triggers reflexes that help your baby to attach or “latch on” to your breast.
5How often should I nurse my baby?
A newborn needs to nurse 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. This means you will feed your baby every 1 ½ to 3 hours from the beginning of one feeding to the next. Some newborns will cluster feed, taking several feedings close together, than taking a long nap. Watch for your baby’s feeding cues and nurse when your baby is showing signs of wanting to eat.
6How long should a nursing session last?
Nurse the baby on the first breast as long as the baby is actively sucking and swallowing. When the baby stops, burp him/her. If baby is still acting hungry, put baby on the second breast to nurse. Depending on the baby and time of day, a breastfeeding session be short, long, or somewhere in between. Every baby is different!
1How will I know baby is getting enough?
• Breastfeeding often enough and long enough. • Baby will actively suck and swallow while breastfeeding. • Wet and dirty diapers will be one indicator that baby is getting enough breastmilk. • Weight gain is another indicator. • A happy, alert, content baby
2Should I wake a sleeping newborn to nurse?
Most newborns need eight to 12 feedings a day, which is about one feeding every two to three hours. Waking a sleeping baby to nurse might seem like a bad idea, but frequent feedings will help you establish your milk supply and ensure your baby is getting enough breastmilk.
3Any foods that I should avoid eating if I breastfeed?
There are no foods that you must eat or avoid eating while breastfeeding. Most of the time there is no need to avoid food like chocolate, broccoli, cabbage or spicy foods. Eat a variety of healthy foods.
4If I take medications, must I stop breastfeeding?
Most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. If you plan to take medication, check with your health care provider, pharmacist, or baby’s pediatrician to see if the medication is compatible with breastfeeding.
5Can I breastfeed in public?
Yes! There is a law in New Jersey that protects the rights of all moms to nurse their child in public as long as they have the right to be there.
6Who can I call if I need help with breastfeeding?
• WIC • Zipmilk • La Leche League