The benefits of breastfeeding
Mother's milk is the best nutrition for an infant. The antibodies found in the milk immune your baby against infection. Suckling babies also suffer less from allergies, diseases, colds and intestinal gas. 
Breastfeeding helps the uterus shrink back to its regular size.

Breastfeeding and the physical intimacy develops a special bond between mother and baby. 
Breastfeeding possesses the advantages of being easily available, fresh and free!  Breastfeeding helps strengthen the baby's facial muscles, particularly a better lift of the lower jaw. 

Your diet during breastfeeding
Your diet should be no different than your diet during pregnancy. You should consume 500 extra calories, eat foods rich in proteins and calcium and drink plenty of fluids. 

Milk production 
The lactation reflex is the result of an increase in the prolactin hormone. This occurs immediately after giving birth together with a decrease in pregnancy hormones. 
Repeated stimulation of the nipple encourages further prolactin secretion, so the more you breastfeed, the more milk you'll produce. It is important to stimulate the nipples soon after giving birth (even though the breast hasn't produced any milk yet), because the stimulation itself encourages milk production. 

The first milk is called colostrum. It's rich in proteins and antibodies and highly recommended for the newborn. 
At the beginning of the breastfeeding process it is important to support your breasts so your baby will be able to easily grab and suckle in a correct and effective way. 
In cases of congestion, you should empty your breasts of any excess milk by using a special pump or manual massage. 
In cases of soreness or redness, or if you have a high temperature, consult your doctor or breastfeeding counselor.  

Breastfeeding counseling
How do you make sure the baby receives enough milk? How do you prevent painful cracks in the nipple? How should you hold the baby so your back and neck don’t get tired?

At Shaare Zedek you will receive qualified answers to these and many other questions from our breastfeeding counselors in our Mother and Childcare Unit. These dedicated volunteers visit the maternity departments every day and even invite new mothers to call them at home with any questions. Their professionalism, sensitivity and willingness to help are appreciated by mothers and staff alike.