Importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding

Feeding your baby only breastmilk is the best way to keep your milk supply strong as your baby grows.

Importance of Exclusive Breastfeeding




Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breastmilk and nothing else) for the first few weeks is very important for building a good milk supply. Breastfeeding works on supply and demand. The more you nurse your baby, the more milk your body makes. The first several weeks “set” your milk supply. It’s as if your baby is calling in his order for just the right amount of milk he needs to grow.

If possible, you and your partner should make a breastfeeding plan before your baby is born. This lets your doctor and support team know what you want. Your plan can let them know that you want to have skin-to-skin time as soon as your baby is born and that you do not want your baby to be given any formula, water or other feedings.

Follow Baby's Lead

Breastfeed as often as your baby wants, and do not give formula. Many babies will nurse a number of times at one time of the day, usually in the evening. This is called cluster feeding, and it is normal.

Spotting Growth Spurts

Sometime between your baby’s first and third week, he may want to nurse more often. About this same time, your breasts will naturally soften and feel less full. This does not mean you don’t have enough milk. It means your baby is having his first growth spurt. Don’t worry — your milk supply is changing to meet your baby’s needs.

Growth spurts usually happen around these times.

  • 1 to 3 weeks of age
  • 6 weeks of age
  • 3 months of age
Breastfeed as often as your baby wants, and do not give formula.

Can I breastfeed and give formula, too?

Every mom has to do what’s right for her, her baby and her family, but each time you give formula, you miss a chance to empty your breasts and tell your body to make more milk. For many moms, trying to give both breastmilk and formula causes their milk supply to run low, so that soon they are giving more and more formula.

What about Pacifiers?

Pacifiers and artificial nipples or bottles might seem helpful, but they can hide baby’s early feeding cues. Waiting to feed baby can make it harder to get a good latch. All of baby’s suckling should be at the breast in the first few weeks in order to establish a good milk supply. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding (breastmilk only) for the first six months.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you feed your baby only breastmilk for the first 6 months and continue along with solid foods for 2 years or longer.

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