Breastfeeding: Baby’s first meals
Every time you feed your baby, you show her that the world is a safe, caring place. During feedings you hold her, stroke her skin, and gaze into her eyes. She gazes back and maybe even mirrors some of your expressions. It’s all part of nature’s bonding process that helps the two of you form a deep emotional connection right from the start.
Experts agree that breastmilk is the ideal food for babies. It offers the perfect blend of nutrients to nourish your newborn. Breastmilk contains proteins which are easy for babies to digest. In addition, breastmilk contains protective antibodies, substances that help your baby’s immune system ward off infection and disease.
Breastmilk also has the remarkable capability to change as your baby’s nutritional needs change. For the first three to four days, your breasts produce a thick, yellowish fluid called colostrum. Your baby benefits right away from the easy-to-digest proteins, vitamins, and minerals—as well as from the protective antibodies in colostrum. It contains more protein and less fat than the breastmilk that will come later.
- Don’t be concerned if your breastmilk gradually changes. It becomes whiter and more plentiful as your baby’s nutritional needs change.
- During the early weeks, your baby will probably breastfeed about every 2 to 3 hours for 10 to 20 minutes at each breast.
- Don’t be afraid to wake your baby for a feeding. Maintaining a consistent schedule is important for building up your milk production.
Breastmilk is especially gentle on a baby’s tummy, which is still developing after birth. However, if you choose to use formula, GERBER® GOOD START® milk-based formulas offer a gentle option. They’re made with easy-to-digest 100% whey protein, the highest-quality protein available in infant formula.