Breastfeeding is an important part of raising a healthy baby. Colostrum, or most commonly known as breast milk, is jampacked with various vitamins and minerals, as well as antibodies, making it a vital part of an infant’s diet.
If you are willing and able to breastfeed your child, you may want to know about the right practices that would make this activity an effective and beneficial one for your kid. You want to make sure that you do everything right so that your baby grows up strong and healthy.
For new parents, even experienced ones, expert advice is always a valuable addition to their treasure trove of knowledge regarding breastfeeding. Here are some of the best tips and pieces of advice from specialists.
Different Types of Breastfeeding
As a parent, the first thing you should know is that you should not be pressured to do the type of breastfeeding that you think is most accepted in society. Keep in mind that there are various kinds of feeding colostrum to your baby.
One of the most common is exclusive, which is the type in which you only feed colostrum to your baby. This means that your infant child only nurses at the breast and no other. Your child does not get nutrition from other sources such as water, formula, or baby food.
This is the type that is most preferred by experts for the first four to six months because it maximizes the benefits of colostrum. Remember, this milk is packed with immune properties that can strengthen the health of your baby.
While experts prefer that method the most, there is absolutely no shame in opting for combination feeding, which is the practice of feeding your child formula alongside your breastfeeding schedule.
This is perfect for parents who produce limited amounts of colostrum, or those who have limited time to sit down and breastfeed.
This practice is also referred to as partial breastfeeding. This allows you to provide the benefits of colostrum while making up the rest of your baby’s nutritional requirements through the formula.
Breastfeeding and Complementary Foods
The last type of feeding is breastfeeding complete with complementary foods. This is the practice of exclusive breastfeeding for four to six months, then switching to complementary foods after.
These food items refer to those other than breast milk. The thing is, it also utilizes the principles of combination feeding as you will still breastfeed but with complementary foods to supplement times in which you cannot do so.
In this method, you can opt for various baby-friendly foods such as pureed fruits and vegetables, baby cereal, and other appropriate items.
How Long Should You Breastfeed?
Now that you know the different types of feeding, you might be wondering, “How long can I breastfeed?” You may look back and recall that experts recommend up to six months of feeding breast milk. However, the answer to this question is up to you.
According to experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), exclusive feeding for up to six months is recommended, followed by starting with solid foods for at least one year. Then, you can proceed with breast milk for as long as you prefer.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the World Health Organization (WHO) also advise more or less the same, with exclusive feeding in the first six months and breastfeeding as long as you wish.
Can I BreastFeed a Toddler?
In fact, you can feed your child as far as two or three years, and longer. You may be hesitant about doing so because of public stigma and worry about psychological effects.
In that case, you should know that the AAP did not find any evidence of psychological and developmental harms. Experts say breastfeeding does not have any negative effects even through the first three years of the child’s life.
Those experts even say that long-term feeding has positive effects in terms of health, happiness, security, and independence.
The Bottom Line
You and your child decide when you want to stop breastfeeding. With these expert tips, you can confidently practice feeding without worries about your child’s psychological health and development, as well as public opinion.