Breastfeeding FAQs: Some Common Concerns (Part 2)
Does my breastfed baby need extra vitamins?
Breast milk contains many vitamins as well as easily-absorbed iron. The iron from breast milk will be sufficient until your baby begins eating iron-rich cereals around 4 to 6 months of age.
However, vitamin D isn’t found in high enough concentrations in breast milk. The nutrient can be produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but it is not safe for infants under 6 months to be in direct sunlight. After 6 months, infants should use sunscreen when in the sun, which blocks the body’s ability to make vitamin D. So, babies who are primarily breastfed should be given daily vitamins.
Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that infants — whether breastfed or formula-fed — do not need fluoride supplements during the first 6 months. From 6 months on, babies require fluoride supplements only if the water supply is severely lacking in fluoride. Well water and bottled water, for example, may not contain fluoride and the tap water in some communities does not have fluoride. It can be dangerous to give a fluoride supplement to a child already getting enough fluoride, so it’s important to find out the fluoride content in whatever water source your child is using. Again, ask your doctor about your baby’s needs.
My baby doesn’t want to nurse. What’s going on?
Breastfeeding "strikes" are very normal and often last only a few days. Still, this can be worrisome, especially in a baby who usually breastfeeds with no problems at all.
So why might your child suddenly stop wanting to breastfeed? Here are some possible reasons:
• Teething has made your baby’s gums sore.
• You’ve been stressed or have changed your nursing patterns lately.
• You smell "different" to your baby because you switched your soap, perfume, deodorant, or lotion.
• A different taste to your breast milk because of a change in your diet.
• Something is making breastfeeding painful or uncomfortable, such as an ear infection, a stuffed-up nose, a cut in your little one's mouth, or an oral infection called thrush.
• Your baby bit you and your reaction scared him or her.
• As frustrating as nursing strikes can be, you and your little one can work through them. Here are some more tips La Leche League offers breastfeeding moms that may help get you past the hump:
• Try to spend more time with your baby so you can devote some extra time to getting your breastfeeding back on track. Ask a family member, friend, or a babysitter to come over to help out with the chores and any of your other children.
• Make the experience as enjoyable for your baby as possible — hugging, caressing, and kissing your little one, and stopping to comfort whenever he or she gets upset or frustrated.
• Try nursing when your baby is sleepy and may be more willing to cooperate.
• Nurse while you’re rocking your baby or walking around while carrying him or her in a sling.
• Breastfeed in a quiet room with few distractions.
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Part 1)
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Part 2)
Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (Part 3)
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