How Long Should A Mother
Breastfeed Her Baby?
Expectant and new mothers typically have lots of questions about breastfeeding, from getting started, to dealing with breastfeeding challenges, and so much more.
Fortunately, Childbirth Graphics has a wide selection of breastfeeding and lactation education products and teaching tools for lactation consultants and other healthcare professionals and educators to use with their patients, students, and clients. Our innovative educational resources cover a full range of breastfeeding topics.
One question many new mothers may ask is how long they should continue to breastfeed their infants. Read on to learn more about the questions surrounding how long a baby should be breastfed, and check out just a few of our breastfeeding teaching resources that answer these essential breastfeeding questions.
Why Should a Mother Breastfeed?
Breastmilk is the best first food for babies and offers the most complete form of infant nutrition.
Breastfeeding provides a baby with:
- The perfect amounts of nutrients for optimal growth and development
- Antibodies that offer protection from disease and illness
- Substances that promote optimal brain development
Ideal for starting discussions about the benefits of breastfeeding with expectant mothers, our Breastfeeding Benefits Box Display is just one of our engaging breastfeeding education resources that explains some of the many reasons why breastfeeding is best for babies and their mothers.
to teach many of the benefits of breastfeeding.
The box contains 14 objects that represent just a few of the many great reasons to breastfeed. Items include a mother and baby bear (signifying the emotional bond that breastfeeding creates between a mother and her baby); a pink ribbon (representing some of the ways breastfeeding offers the mother health benefits, including a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer); play money (highlighting the financial savings breastfeeding provides); a brain stress ball (indicating that breastmilk promotes a baby’s brain development); and more. The box is ideal to break the ice with groups or promote one-on-one discussions about breastfeeding’s incomparable benefits.
When Should a Mother Start Breastfeeding?
Ideally, a mother should breastfeed for the first time within the first hour after her baby’s birth. Newborns should be breastfed on demand for a total of at least 8–12 feedings every 24 hours. Breastfeeding early and often helps a mother build up her milk supply.
Breastmilk is the only food and drink a baby needs for the first 6 months of life. After 6 months of age, a baby can start receiving complementary foods in addition to breastmilk.
Our 100-sheet, bilingual English/Spanish Starting a Feeding Tear Pad is an easy-to-follow, step-by-step handout that can help new mothers understand how to get breastfeeding off to the right start.
Feeding Tear Pad explains what makes a good latch.
The tear pad explains how to start a baby’s rooting reflex, how to create a proper latch, and what makes an improper latch. It’s an ideal handout to give new mothers as they and their babies learn the art of successful breastfeeding.
When Should a Mother Stop Breastfeeding?
It is recommended that a mother breastfeed until her baby is at least 12 months old. How long a mother continues to breastfeed is an individual choice to be weighed based upon personal factors, but a mother can continue to breastfeed as long as she and her baby wish. Both babies and their mothers can benefit from breastfeeding beyond the first year.
Can Mothers Breastfeed After Returning to Work?
Yes! Many mothers continue to breastfeed after they return to work. If a baby’s caregiver is close to the mother’s workplace, the mother may be able to breastfeed at least once during the workday. Also, many mothers pump breastmilk for caregivers to feed their babies. A mother should discuss her plans to breastfeed with her employer before she returns from maternity leave.
Recently updated with a fresh new look, our Successful Breastfeeding Folding Display provides helpful tips for breastfeeding mothers as they return to work.
Breastfeeding Folding Display is perfect to promote breastfeeding.
The updated folding display also provides additional information about how to get a successful latch, feeding positions, and skin-to-skin techniques. The colorful folding display is a wonderful, educational addition for pediatricians’ and lactation consultants’ offices, women’s health fairs, and more.
If Problems Arise, Can Mothers Stay Committed to Breastfeeding?
Yes! Although occasionally a healthcare professional may recommend that a mother discontinue breastfeeding because of particular medical concerns, mothers can overcome most breastfeeding challenges with the proper knowledge and support. Common breastfeeding problems, such as nipple pain or difficulty latching on, are usually solvable with the right know-how. If a mother has any questions or concerns, she should always consult a lactation consultant or another healthcare professional. These experts can help manage specific breastfeeding challenges and recommend other useful resources, such as breastfeeding support groups, to help resolve breastfeeding issues.
With information about solving breastfeeding problems, our SpinSmart™ Breastfeeding Wheel is an entertaining, fact-filled, breastfeeding education activity.
to teach breastfeeding concepts and problem solving.
The spinning wheel comes with a comprehensive teaching guide that covers eight topics, including getting started with breastfeeding, breastfeeding benefits, breastfeeding support, how breastfeeding works, problem solving, myths and facts about breastfeeding, pumping and storage, and breastfeeding latch and positioning. Using the wheel in childbirth education classes is a fun way to encourage expectant parents to understand the importance of their commitment to breastfeeding their baby.
To get specific recommendations about breastfeeding your baby, always consult a lactation consultant or another healthcare professional.
To learn more about our innovative breastfeeding education materials that cover a full range of breastfeeding issues and topics, please visit our breastfeeding and lactation education resources section.
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