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Nutrition for Infants and Children

Breastfeeding: What to Expect

During the first weeks, you may have some discomfort as your body adjusts. Sometimes this can be disconcerting to new mothers. Your breasts may feel engorged and sensitive. You will find it helpful to speak with an experienced breast-feeding coach, which you'll be able to find by contacting the La Leche League through the organization's website, http://www.lalecheleague.org/.

Sticking with breastfeeding through this brief period brings great rewards. Within two weeks or so, your body will "know" how much milk to produce, because of a remarkable physiological response of "supply and demand." The more your growing baby nurses, the more milk you'll produce.

After a few weeks, most mothers and babies settle into a relaxed routine. Mom will understand her infant's "language" (how baby shows when he or she is hungry, sleepy, or playful) and she will see that breastfeeding is tremendously comforting to her baby. Studies show that breastfeeding gives your infant a close bond with you and helps build feelings of safety and security in your child.

Infants sometimes want to nurse when they are tired or grumpy, but not particularly hungry. And even though babies will have emptied both breasts after 10 minutes or so of feeding, they will probably still want to nurse. Babies allowed to continue nursing until finished will feel nurtured and satisfied, as well as full.

Formula-fed babies and breastfed babies rushed through nursing may become fussy and suck frantically on their fists or blankets. You can take your cues from your baby. Some will turn away from the breast after a short time, while others seem to need long, comforting feedings.

 

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