Information for Patients
Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It may also help your health. Certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies.
Women who don't have health problems should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months of life. Most women with health problems can breastfeed. There are rare exceptions when women are advised not to breastfeed because they have certain illnesses. Some medicines, illegal drugs, and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to your baby. Check with your health care provider if you have concerns about whether you should breastfeed.
If you are having problems with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Taking home a new baby is one of the happiest times in a woman's life. But it also presents both physical and emotional challenges.
- Get as much rest as possible. You may find that all you can do is eat, sleep, and care for your baby. And that is perfectly okay. You will have spotting or bleeding, like a menstrual period, off and on for up to six weeks.
- You might also have swelling in your legs and feet, feel constipated, have menstrual-like cramping. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender, or uncomfortable.
- Follow your doctor's instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.
- Doctors usually recommend that you abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after birth.
In addition to physical changes, you may feel sad or have the "baby blues." If you are extremely sad or are unable to care for yourself or your baby, you might have a serious condition called postpartum depression.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health