By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Michelle LIM Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

What's one of the best ways you can set your baby up for a great start in life? Breastfeeding. Here are some commonly asked questions that can help you understand the process better.

What Are The Benefits of Breastfeeding?

what are the benefits of breastfeeding

It reduces the risk of diarrhoea, respiratory tract and urinary tract infections in your baby, as well as their severity. Do you have a family history of allergies? Studies have found that infants who were fed only on breast milk had a far lower incidence of allergies.

Are There Benefits for The Mother as Well?

Absolutely! Breastfeeding doesn't just benefit your baby — in fact, women who breastfeed are less likely to contract breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding will help you shed that pregnancy weight gain so you can return to your pre-pregnancy shape at a faster rate. Best of all it will help you bond with your baby.

Related: Breastfeeding Your Baby

How Can I Prepare for Breastfeeding?

how can i prepare for breastfeeding

A great way to prepare is to go for a quick examination with your doctor, who will check for inverted or non-protractile nipples, which may make breastfeeding harder. In the case of inverted nipples, a niplette, which gently pulls the nipple out into a small cup, can help.

How Often Should I Breastfeed?

Every baby's hunger level is different, but eight to 10 feeds a day is the norm for the first couple of months after birth.

Related: Breastfeeding Advice From Experts

Should I Supplement My Baby's Diet with Other Nutrients?

should you supplement baby's diet with other nutrients

Amazingly, your breast milk nutrients adapt as your baby grows, to meet their exact needs. No wonder the World Health Organization recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Even after the sixth month, you can continue to give your breast milk as a healthy drink. However, don't worry if you're not producing enough milk for your little one — infant milk formulas are a good and readily available alternative as well!

What is Colostrum?

Colostrum is likely the first drink your baby will ever have! It's known as "the first milk", produced by your breasts in the early days after birth. Packed with protein, vitamins and antibodies, it keeps your baby strong and protects against infection.

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The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore