Breastfeeding your newborn has many advantages. Perhaps most important, breast milk is the perfect food for a human baby's digestive system. Breast milk is the ideal and most complete food for the baby because it contains all of the nutritive elements essential for its growth. It is an important source of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals � all in the right proportion. The baby can easily digest it. It is readily available for the baby and is always at the right temperature. Also, breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from a wide variety of infectious diseases, including diarrhea. Breastfeeding is great for moms, too. It burns calories and helps shrink the uterus, so nursing moms get back into shape quicker. Breastfeeding may also protect mom from breast and ovarian cancer.
Your newborn should be nursing eight to 12 times per day during about the first month. In the beginning, mothers may want to try nursing 10 to 15 minutes on each breast, and then vary the time as necessary. Most experts suggest you nurse or feed your baby whenever he or she seems hungry.
Signs that babies are hungry:
Moving their heads from side to side
Opening their mouths
Sticking out their tongues
Placing their hands and fists to their mouths
Puckering their lips as if to suck
Nuzzling again their mothers' breasts
Showing the rooting reflex (when a baby moves its mouth in the direction of something that's stroking or touching its cheek)