Extensive evidence shows that breastfeeding provides both short-term and long-term health benefits for infants and their mothers. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. After that, breastfeeding should continue along with appropriate complementary foods at least until the child is 2 years old.
Beijing United Family Hospital and Clinics (BJU) offers these simple guidelines to help mothers have a successful breastfeeding experience:
1. Get educated. Attend a prenatal breastfeeding class or request a breastfeeding consultation while you are pregnant. Both are provided by the BJU OBGYN Department.
2. Include your family. Encouragement and ongoing support from those closest to you can help you face breastfeeding challenges.
3. Be prepared. Prepare yourself mentally and physically for breastfeeding from the beginning of your pregnancy. Have realistic expectations of your baby’s behavior, feeding patterns and sleep patterns. Be confident about breastfeeding, and know that you are giving your baby the best possible start in life.
4. Try not to supplement. Try not to give your baby formula or any other food or drink, not even water, during the first six months. Supplementary foods/drinks should only be given if recommended by a healthcare provider for medical reasons. With frequent and exclusive breastfeeding, you are sure to make enough breast milk.
5. Get help if you need it. Follow up with community healthcare providers or a social support group for breastfeeding and parenting. BJU’s lactation counselor is available for ongoing support and assistance. Please contact Jennifer Lecleir if you have breastfeeding questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). For 24-hour breastfeeding support, please call (010) 5927 7100.