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All you need to know about breastfeeding a surrogate child

The benefits of breastfeeding are well established. Breastfeeding protects your baby from ear infections, diarrhoea, pneumonia, and other diseases.

Breastfeeding is the recommended way to feed a newborn. Depending on the circumstances, however, various factors might lead you to consider formula feeding.

How long should I breastfeed my baby?

The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months after birth and breastfeeding in combination with solid foods at least till the age of one. Extended breastfeeding is recommended as long as you and your baby wish to continue.

Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients for the baby and boosts the baby’s immune system. It’s considered the gold standard for infant nutrition.

Is any additional nutrition necessary?

Ask the paediatrician about vitamin D supplements for the baby, especially, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. Breast milk might not provide enough vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus — nutrients necessary for strong bones. The first milk – or colostrum – is rich in antibodies and gives newborns an immunity boost while their immune systems are developing.

What can I do to promote successful breastfeeding?

Taking care of yourself can go a long way toward promoting successful breastfeeding. Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of fluids, and rest as much as possible.

To boost your confidence, learn as much as you can about breastfeeding. Keep the environment calm and relaxed. Look to your partner and other loved ones for support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends who’ve successfully breastfed may be a source of information. Lactation consultants are available at many hospitals and clinics.

What if breastfeeding isn’t going well?

If you’re struggling, ask a lactation consultant or a paediatrician for help. If a doctor is concerned that the baby isn’t receiving adequate nutrition or hydration, he or she might suggest pumping and supplementing with expressed breast milk or formula.

Breast milk is the ideal food for babies and the best way to keep a baby healthy but, proper nutrition and hydration are essential for the baby.

Does infant formula pose any risks to a baby?

Commercial infant formulas don’t contain the immunity-boosting elements of breast milk. For most babies, breast milk is also easier to digest than formula.

When prepared as directed, however, infant formula supports healthy babies, who have typical dietary needs. A baby who has special nutritional needs might require a special formula. Breastfeeding protects the mother from diabetes, breast and ovarian cancers, heart disease, and postpartum depression.

Can I combine breastfeeding and formula feeding?

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months after birth. A diet of breast milk only provides the best nutrition. Formula supplementation can disrupt breastfeeding as well as affect milk supply. However, some mothers are able to combine breastfeeding and formula-feeding especially, after breastfeeding has been well-established.

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