Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months ensures the best outcomes for babies. However, there are some mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed exclusively. In these circumstances, any breastfeeding is valuable: babies benefit from receiving the maximum amount of breastmilk possible. Evidence suggests that early supplementation is associated with an increased risk of stopping breastfeeding. This should therefore be avoided whilst feeding is being established. Ongoing sensitive support to ensure mothers can effectively attach their baby at their breast and know how to hand express if baby is reluctant to feed, will reduce the need for supplementation.
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If you're on Facebook or Instagram you may have noticed a new hash tag recently: normalisebreastfeeding. As the name suggests, the aim is to capture images of women breastfeeding to show that it is part of every day life. There are already over 31, photos on IG alone, many of them selfies, taken with a spare arm and proudly posted straight to social media while the baby feeds on. Katie believes that it is a "monkey see, monkey do" situation. As well as helping to "normalise" breastfeeding, Katie also notes that the photos are a huge source of support to women who are struggling with breastfeeding or not receiving support from friends and family.
Each generation of women alive today has a story to tell about breastfeeding and the backwards way in which things were done when their children were born. Her breastfeeding relationship was sabotaged outright. My mother was sickly as a child as a result, and now suffers from a severe dairy allergy.
Human—animal breastfeeding has been practiced in many different cultures in many time periods. The practice of breastfeeding or suckling between humans and other species has gone in both directions: women sometimes breastfeed young animals, and animals are used to suckle babies and children. Animals were used as substitute wet nurses for infants, particularly after the rise of syphilis increased the health risks of wet nursing.