Its been long got held up with different activities. A new mother was speaking about her concerns regarding feeding her new born and that made me pen down this topic.
Generations back, it was completely normal to nurse babies till two years which in modern days is seen to lose its significance. It’s a real boon to both mother and baby. Then why is it losing its place? Is it the modern system of easy formula feed? Is it easier way to have free hand life because a breast fed child is always dependent on mother? Is it the career that’s preventing? Or is it the taboo and too many suggestions that come from family and relatives leave the mother confused and hamper to choose the right one? Here again comes the role of a health care staff who actually is supposed to counsel and educate the mother with right choice for both baby and mother. Learn about Breast Feeding before the kid arrives because it is the key for unlocking healthy development of baby.
The UNICEF and WHO have urged the government to encourage and invest in breastfeeding because it is not only the cornerstone of a child’s healthy development but also the foundation of a country’s development.
Breast feeding should be established soon after the birth within an hour for the baby by normal delivery and about 2-3 hours later in caesarean section. Breast feeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) has shown that only 44% women are able to breast feed in 1st hour of delivery. The initial milk of the mother is called as colostrum secreted for first three days. Its a myth that this colostrum shouldn’t be given to the baby and discarded. In fact, its this colostrum which is abundant in antibodies and vitamins and is a must for the baby. Let me list out some most important benefits specifically to colostrum.
- Colostrum has a laxative effect on your baby, helping him pass meconium which aids in the first bowel movements and helps prevent jaundice.
- It’s the most important source for baby to defend against infections and illnesses and is considered first immunization because it contains large quantities of an antibody (IgA).
- Although the amount of colostrum is low, it is high in concentrated nutrition and is extremely easy to digest. Thus making it a perfect first food for your newborn baby.
As breastmilk changes from colostrum to mature milk the volume of breastmilk greatly increases. It provides unique nutritional and immunological benefits as needed for the baby. Without elaborating much, here are some beneficial effects of breast feeding.
- Mother’s milk is easily digestible and even reduces the frequency of colic.
- It contains all the nutrients like proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins in such an appropriate amount that which is necessary to the baby till 6 months.
- Children who are exclusively breastfed have higher IQ levels and less chances of obesity, diabetes or hypertension in their adulthood.
- Milestones achieved are better and kids grow stronger.
- It provides a close physical bond between a mother and the baby.
- Breast feeding burns calories and helps shrink the uterus so nursing mothers may be able to return to their pre-pregnancy shape and weight quicker.
- It helps lower the risk of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and also may help decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
Quantity of milk:
The first question that comes to mind of every new mother is, “will the very little amount secreted initially be sufficient to satisfy the baby hunger? I am not able to get enough milk to satisfy my baby.” A mother for first time is always full of questions, anxiety, apprehensive and confused regarding her kid. With so many advices that come from family and friends she stays totally confused and worried. Lady, you have become the mother of a new born!! Enjoy it! Don’t worry about your milk production. Your system will take care of it. You just have to be happy and this in turn will help in better production of your milk. Prolactin and oxytocin are the two main hormones responsible of milk production and ejection respectively. Oxytocin is also called one of the happy hormone or love hormone as its stimulated by cuddling and thinking of baby and the nipple stimulation by suckling. The below picture will explain better.
Initially on the first day the stomach capacity of the new born is hardly 7-10 ml. this capacity slowly increases and reaches to around 30-60 ml by end of a week. Continuous feeding from day one will ensure production as per the baby needs. On day 1-2, colostrum quantity might be less and one may wonder if that really be sufficient for kid! Actually it is the only food a full term baby needs. Its new to baby also, so the baby too will take time to learn it. Feed frequently even if you are not getting enough. The baby sucking reflex will further stimulate the production and ejection.
From the birth day till 6 months, baby needs only breast milk. If needed, doctor will add vitamin supplement but generally not necessary. 6 months to 12 months along with milk baby needs to be introduced to different foods. From 1 year its mainly solids and thus liquid food (milk and juices) should be restricted to not more than 400ml
There are various positions where both the baby and mother can adopt a position comfortable as per to them. The below pictures explains the positions. Two most important points to put in mind is Latching of baby and that the baby nose should have the gap to breath.
- Cradle position: Most common and is more suitable for term babies. This position work well after breastfeeding is well established.
- Cross cradle: Here hand supports the head and forearm back of the baby. It gives good support to the baby and is good for preterm and new mothers
- Side lying: This is the comfortable position for the caesarean mothers and mid night feeds. Care should be taken that the nose doesn’t get pressed blocking the airway
- Football: This is also known as clutch position. It is the easy position and very useful in caesarean and twins. This position avoids baby weight to fall on abdomen and thus is easier for caesarean mothers.
Never hesitate to ask for help for it takes time to get adopted to positions and proper latching of the baby and effective feeding.
Work and feed:
Working ladies may have to resume work as per to their company norms. You can provide breast milk for your baby even when you are apart. Talk to your supervisor ahead of time about the conveniences at work place. Most employers by law are now required to give you time and a place to pump milk for your baby. Eextreme care should be taken about its cleaning and sterilization. Don’t hesitate to take any necessary help from co-workers.
Feeding in public:
Breastfeeding your child in public places is not a shameful act. Initially as you may have to feed the baby frequently, you may need to feed while travelling, shopping or any picnic places you visit. Feed your child with dignity because its something God has given as a part of motherhood. If you don’t find a special rooms for feeding, move to a calmer area, with minimal people or can just use a thin breathable cloth to cover during feeding. Care should be taken to check the baby in between for any inconvenience or suffocation.
Mother can breastfeed her baby even if she has some health problem exceptional being some cases where the medication of mother might be passing on through the milk to the baby, or when the mother is going through some terminal illness. In such cases the doctor will advise as needed. Always have a glass of water, milk, or juice handy to drink while you breastfeed as this will keep you hydrated which helps you produce milk.
Breastfeeding is an ocean to speak about. Tried to put it short with important points. Drop me a mail in case you need any further details.
- Exclusive breastfeeding for first 6 months will keep your child healthier. One can continue breastfeed till 2 years along with other food supplements.
- Let colostrum be the first food to your baby. Though little in quantity, highly nutritive and frequent feeding will prevent breast engorgement.
- Be relaxed and happy, have all healthy food and fruits and plenty of water. This will improve your milk production.
- Among various breastfeeding positions adopt one which is comfortable to both of you.
- Feed on demand should be followed during initial months and take the help of your health care provider for any help.
- Breastfeeding decreases the prevalence of the most aggressive breast cancer
- For this 21st century society its more important trying to avoid bottles to boost immunity to prevent recurrent illness and protect the child against certain chronic conditions.