Motherhood doesn’t come with an exact guide, so whether you decide to breastfeed your infant is your choice.
Breastfeeding has proven to be beneficial for both the mother and child. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, breastfeeding “triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract” . The contractions will help the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and may also reduce the amount of bleeding after giving birth. For the babies, breast milk has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals for their growth. As they grow, your breast milk will adapt to baby’s nutritional needs. 
For those who are or already have decided to breastfeed, there are a few things you should remember.
Watch your diet. The body needs approximately 450-500 extra calories a day than normal to make breast milk. Limit the amount of fish you eat per week. Avoid eating fish with high mercury levels: bigeye tuna, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, swordfish, or tilefish. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. 
Watch what you drink. It is safe to drink caffeine in moderate amounts as your infant gets older. You may want to be cautious during the first few weeks after birth as newborns are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. If you want an alcoholic drink, “wait at least 2 hours after a single drink before you breastfeed” . Over consumption of alcohol on a regular basis may be harmful for your baby and cause drowsiness, weakness, and abnormal weight gain. The recommended drink amount limit is 2 per day.
Medication. Most medications can be taken while breastfeeding. It is important to always consult your doctor beforehand to address any concerns to ensure your baby’s health. There are many birth control methods that can be used while breastfeeding, including nonhormonal methods. Talk with Dr. Hill, OB-GYN, about birth control options while breastfeeding.
Avoid drug use and smoking. Secondhand smoke increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Be sure not to smoke around the baby. The use of marijuana is not recommended while breastfeeding as well. Using illegal drugs or prescription drugs not prescribed to you can harm the baby in many ways while breastfeeding.
If you have recently had a baby or are currently pregnant and would like to talk to a doctor, contact Dr. Hill’s OB/GYN office, in Youngstown, Ohio. If you have any questions or concerns regarding breastfeeding or formula-feeding, fill out a contact form today: https://www.aiwhealth.com/contact/.
- “Breastfeeding Your Baby,” Frequently Asked Questions, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/breastfeeding-your-baby?utm_source=redirect&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=otn