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Introduction to Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding your newborn baby is a personal decision. If you choose to breastfeed, it will be helpful if you are in a supportive environment and have resources to assist you with questions you may have or breastfeeding problems that may develop. The following breastfeeding tips may also be helpful:

  • Consider attending a series of La Leche League meetings or reading La Leche League's book on breastfeeding (The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding) before the birth of your baby.
  • Ask other breastfeeding mothers for advice.
  • Join a supportive network including other like-minded mothers to help with the commitments of this style of feeding.
  • If you are undecided at birth time, consider a one-month trial. It is easier to go from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding than the reverse.
  • The first month of breastfeeding is the most difficult, so if you get through that period, the rest will be easier.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/18/2014
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding - Prepare for Breastfeeding

How did you prepare for breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding - Positioning and Latch-on Skills

Did your baby have trouble latching on for breastfeeding? What did you do to improve feeding?

Breastfeeding - Home and Medical Care

Did you experience complications from breastfeeding? What treatment did you use to remedy the situation?

Breastfeeding Benefits

With rare exceptions, breast milk is the preferred feeding for infants and confers unique benefits.

Breastfed babies (for at least six months) may be at reduced risk for many acute and chronic diseases, including gastrointestinal tract infection (like diarrhea), irritable bowel syndrome, lower respiratory tract infections (like a cold), urinary tract infections, otitis media (ear infections), and allergic reactions (like atopic dermatitis and asthma). Breastfeeding also has been shown to reduce pain in infants undergoing painful procedures.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Counseling the Breastfeeding Mother »

In the time before managed care and "drive-through" deliveries, the vast majority of newborns remained in the hospital for several days after birth.

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