Birth Defects Prevention Month 2011. National Health Observances Toolkit.
National Birth Defects Prevention Month
National Birth Defects Prevention Month is a time to raise awareness of birth defects and promote healthy pregnancies.
A birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in the mother’s body. One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.
Many birth defects can be prevented. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, these tips can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby:
- Take a multivitamin with folic acid every day before and during pregnancy.
- See your doctor or midwife regularly as soon as you think you’re pregnant and throughout your pregnancy.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
- Eat well and stay active.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, and other drug use.
- Prevent infections from food and other sources.
Breastfeed Your Baby
— The Basics
Breastfeed your baby for the first 6 to 12 months after birth. Breastfeeding is healthy for you and your baby.
If you have a health condition or are taking any medicines, talk with your doctor or midwife about breastfeeding before your baby is born.
Learning to Breastfeed. To learn more:
- How Breast Milk Is Made
- What You Can Do Before You Give Birth
- Tips For Getting Off to a Good Start
- Bringing Your Baby to the Breast to Latch
- How Often Should I Breastfeed? How Long Should Feedings Be?
- Breastfeeding Holds
- Tips For Making It Work
- Making Plenty of Milk
- How to Know Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
- How Long Should I Breastfeed?
- Additional Resources
(More at … Learning to Breastfeed )
Breastfeeding is a process that takes time to master. Babies and mothers need to practice. Keep in mind that you make milk in response to your baby sucking at the breast. The more milk your baby removes from the breasts, the more milk you will make.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is a healthy choice for both you and your baby.
Benefits for baby
Benefits for mom
When is my baby ready to eat other foods?
- Feed your baby breast milk only (no water, no juice, no nonhuman milk, and no foods).
- It’s okay to give your baby vitamins, minerals, and medicine that your doctor recommends.
- Keep breastfeeding your baby.
- You can start feeding your baby cereal or other baby food.
- Continue to feed your baby new foods that are recommended by your doctor.
- If you can, keep breastfeeding.
— Take Action!
Here are some tips for breastfeeding success.
Talk to your doctor or midwife about breastfeeding.
While you are pregnant, tell your doctor or midwife that you plan to breastfeed.
Many health centers, clinics, and hospitals have lactation (breastfeeding) experts to answer all your questions and help you get started. These experts are usually called lactation counselors, consultants, or specialists.
After you begin breastfeeding, you may still have questions. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or lactation counselor as often as you need to.
Make a plan for after your baby is born.
If you plan to go to work after pregnancy, a lactation counselor can help you plan to keep providing breast milk for your baby while you are away.