Exclusive breastfeeding means feeding a baby nothing but breast milk.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of a baby’s life.
Breastfeeding with some solid food is recommended until at least one year, with continued breastfeeding as long as mother and baby would like to continue.
Breast milk is the only food your baby needs until six months of age.
Breast milk is perfectly suited to meet ALL of your baby’s nutritional needs. Babies who are exclusively breastfed do not need any additional vitamins, supplements or water – only breast milk!
Breast milk automatically changes in composition to adjust to baby’s changing needs. For example, during hot summer months breast milk will become thinner to meet baby’s extra hydration needs. During teething, the analgesic (pain relieving) properties of breast milk will increase to help soothe baby.
For most babies, it is best to feed only breast milk and avoid using any infant formula or cereals at all for the first six months.
Breast milk is created by the mother’s body on a supply and demand basis. This means that whatever baby demands, the mother’s body will supply.
Supplementing with infant formula will interfere with this supply and demand process because the baby will demand less from the mother so her body will supply less. Therefore, supplementing with infant formula will reduce the mother’s supply of breast milk.
Some people recommend using infant cereal to get babies to sleep longer at night. However, cereal does not contain the same nutrients as breast milk, may help baby get into a deeper sleep than is safely recommended, and will decrease mother’s milk supply.
Feeding on Demand means feeding a baby whenever he shows signs of wanting to eat.
Feeding on demand will ensure proper nourishment and sufficient milk supply.
All breastfed babies should be fed on demand.
Breastfed babies need to be fed about every two hours or more, but it is important to follow your baby’s cues instead of a clock.
Watch your baby’s cues to determine when he is hungry. Hunger cues include rooting (turning head toward breast and moving around, searching for the breast), smacking lips, sucking on hands or fingers, and finally crying.
Try to begin feeding before your baby cries. A calm baby will more easily latch.