After Childbirth

  • Coordinate family planning visits with an infant's immunization schedule.
  • Optimal breastfeeding offers triple value: important improvements in child survival and health, better health for mothers, and temporary contraception. Still, any breastfeeding is better than none (except if a woman has HIV). See Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.
Guidelines for Best Breastfeeding
  1. Begin breastfeeding the newborn as soon as possible—within 1 hour after delivery

    • Stimulates uterine contractions that help prevent heavy bleeding.
    • Helps the infant to establish suckling early on, which stimulates milk production.
    • Colostrum, the yellowish milk produced in the first days after childbirth, provides important nutrients for the child and transfers immunities from mother to child.
    • Avoids the risks of feeding the baby contaminated liquids or foods.
  2. Fully or nearly fully breastfeed for 6 months
    • Mother's milk alone can fully nourish a baby for the first 6 months of life.
  3. At 6 months, add other foods to breastfeeding
    • After 6 months babies need a variety of foods in addition to breast milk.
    • At each feeding breastfeed before giving other foods.
    • Breastfeeding can and should continue through the child's second year or longer.
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