According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastfeeding is the ideal source of nutrition
for babies during their first year of life. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed through the
first six months of life. After solid foods are introduced around 6 months, breastfeeding should
be continued through to 12 months of age. Breastfeeding can be continued after the child has
reached one year.
Why is breastfeeding beneficial?
Breastfeeding is beneficial to both mom and baby.
Mom: Breastfeeding causes the release of feel good hormones called oxytocin and prolactin.
These hormones cause feelings of fulfilment and joy, making the experience special for the
mom. Breastfeeding also speeds up postpartum recovery. The hormone oxytocin causes the
uterus to return to its normal size and reduces postpartum bleeding. On a practical note, breast
feeding is more affordable and readily available for your baby.
Baby: Breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby as it is a food, infection fighter, and
probiotic. Breastmilk can pass antibodies from mother to baby in the colostrum, which will
protect against infections. Breastmilk also contains healthy bacteria which provides immunity
and builds your baby’s microbiome. These immune-boosting effects have shown that breast fed
babies are less likely to suffer from infections and various chronic diseases.
How do I know if my baby is feeding properly?
It is important to make sure your baby is getting enough milk. The following will indicate if your
baby is well fed:
1. Your baby does not lose more than 7% of their birthweight at the time of their first
2. Your baby has 1-2 bowel movements per day following the birth. These stools should
begin as a blackish, tarry stool, and eventually turn green or yellow by day four.
3. Around days 5-7, your baby’s stools should be yellow, runny, and seedy. Your baby
should have 3-4 stools a day. As breastmilk production increases, the amount of stool
will also increase.
4. Your baby should have 6+ wet diapers a day, in which the urine is nearly colorless.
5. Your baby should seem satisfied for 1-3 hours between feedings.
6. Overall, your baby should be nursed 8-12 times over a 24-hour period.
Recommended Links on BreastFeeding:
Breastfeeding Your Baby Getting Started