Infants grow more rapidly during their first year after birth than at any other time in their lives, doubling their weight at six months, and tripling their weight by age one. Many babies may lose up to 7 to 10 per cent of their birth weight during their first days of life but usually, regain the weight by two weeks of age.
Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
How long should you breastfeed per breast?
At the beginning of a breastfeeding session, the mother first produces foremilk, which is low in fat. As the infant continues to nurse, the fat content of the milk gradually increases, this is called the hindmilk. The higher fat content of the hindmilk is the one responsible for making the baby feel satisfied and, as a result, discontinue feeding. Mothers should, therefore, make sure the baby drains one breast before moving to the second, about 10 to 15 minutes for each. Babies who do not nurse long enough to receive the hindmilk may become hungry soon afterwards.
How do you tell the infant is getting enough breast milk?
Weight gain is the most important indicator of whether an infant is receiving sufficient milk and breastfeeding effectively. Other indicators include:
- Can be heard swallowing consistently while breastfeeding.
- Has a lot of wet and soiled diapers, with pale yellow urine. During the first three to five days of life, the infant should have at least four to eight wet and three soiled diapers per day. After that, the baby should have six or more wet and three to four soiled diapers per day by five to seven days of age. After six weeks, the number of bowel movements can vary from less than once a day to several
- Your baby is calm and relaxed after eating.
- Your breasts feel softer after feeding