The importance of breastfeeding for your baby
Why is breastfeeding important? What does the WHO say?
WHO and UNICEF recommend that a baby be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. After six months, additional safe and adequate foods and liquids should supplement breastfeeding to meet the nutritional needs of a young child up to the age of two.
Why is breast milk better?
- Breast milk is Mother Nature’s gift to baby! There are more than 200 components of breast milk known to science.
- About 80 percent of the living cells in breast milk are made of macrophages that kill bacteria and viruses.
- Breast milk is sterile and free of contaminants.
- Breast milk in the first days called colostrum. This is called liquid baby gold.. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease, as well as being lower in fat and higher in protein than ordinary milk.
Who can breastfeed?
Any woman who has given birth will be able to breastfeed. It is very rare to see a physical problem in the mother that prevents her from breastfeeding. Breast size has no effect on the amount of breast milk production. Even with inverted nipples, women will be able to breastfeed with some help. The amount of breast milk production will increase as your baby continues to suckle. Even mothers who have had a caesarean section, breech babies, and twin babies can also comfortably breastfeed with enough milk.
What are the benefits for the baby?
- Nature has designed breast milk in such a way that it has the perfect combination of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fluids that newborn babies require. The composition of breast milk changes according to the needs of the baby so that the baby gets the maximum nutrition. No formula milk can substitute for breast milk in this way
- Breast milk is full of antibodies that help the baby fight infection. Therefore, the baby is less likely to get ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory infections. Breastfed babies will have far fewer visits to the doctor for illnesses.
- The hormones released during breastfeeding will increase the bond between mother and baby. This leads to the satisfaction of the physical and emotional needs of the baby.
- Breast milk also has long-term health benefits. Reduces the possibility of childhood obesity; High blood pressure; high cholesterol level; eczema; type 2 diabetes; leukemia; asthma in old age.
What are the benefits for the mother?
- Breastfeeding is free and easy to access.
- Breastfeeding stimulates the secretion of beneficial hormones called prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin (pro lactation) Helps the mother to relax and facilitates the affective bond with the baby. Oxytocin causes the uterus / womb to contract and reduces bleeding and anemia. Therefore, breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and lowers the risk of postpartum hemorrhage and anemia.
- Breastfeeding consumes about 500 extra calories per day. Therefore, it is easier to lose weight after delivery if you are breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis (less broken bones), and postpartum depression.
- It is very convenient and hassle-free to sterilize / boil the baby bottles. No preparation time is needed.
How to ensure adequate breast milk?
Take prenatal vitamins, specifically vitamin D supplement is recommended for all breastfeeding women and breastfed babies. Iron and calcium supplements are also beneficial. Consult your doctor.
Increase Diet Protein Intake – Include Dals, Milk, and Eggs daily in your diet.
Start breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. Breastfeed on demand. This will help regulate the fat content in the milk.
Eat lots of fresh fruits for vitamins and micronutrients.
Make sure you have adequate fluid intake, including water and milk. Breastfeeding can make you thirsty.
What are the steps of breastfeeding?
Hold the baby’s whole body close with the nose at nipple level – “nose to nipple.” Let the baby’s head tilt back a little to allow the baby’s upper lip to rub against the nipple; This helps the baby to open his mouth wide. When the baby’s mouth is wide open, the chin can touch the chest and with the head tilted back, the tongue can reach out and grasp as much breast as possible. Once the chin is touched and the nose is clear with the mouth wide open around the nipple, the baby begins to suck and the cheeks appear full and rounded as the baby feeds. After the baby has been fed, hold him upright over your shoulder to arm himself (burp). Breastfed babies have fewer problems with the wind than bottle-fed babies.
Watch for the following signs to make sure your baby is feeding well:
- The baby’s chin firmly touches the chest.
- The baby has a big breast bite.
- The baby’s cheeks are rounded during the suction.
- Breastfeeding is not painful for the mother, although the initial sucks are strong with mild discomfort.
- There is rhythmic sucking and swallowing, with occasional pauses. There will be cycles of short sucks and also long, deep sucks.
- The baby appears satisfied at the end of the feed and falls off the breast on its own.
Reliable indicators that the baby is getting enough milk.
You will notice that the baby gains weight appropriately and regains birth weight at 2 weeks. The other way to control weight gain is for the baby to gain 500 grams or more per month or 125 grams per week. The baby should urinate in a light color about 6 times or more times a day at 4 days of age if the baby is exclusively breastfed. Control wet diapers.
Diet during lactation
The mother should try to eat a balanced diet. The foods that can be used freely in the diet are fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetable soup, milk, curd / Lassi, sprouted moong / channa, fermented products such as Idli, Dhokla, Dosa, etc. and egg white. Include plenty of iron and protein-rich foods in your diet. Foods that are good sources of iron and protein for vegetarians include legumes (Dhals), milk, paneer, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, anar (pomegranate), banana, and black grapes. Orange juice and Amla have a lot of vitamin C, which is important for the absorption of iron in the body. A handful of nuts to snack on is a good idea to make the diet rich in iron and protein for vegetarians.
Natural galactogogues are foods that increase the production of breast milk. Indian cuisine has many of these foods that are used in everyday cooking. Some examples are Methi (fenugreek) seeds, garlic, saunf (fennel seeds), jeera water, oatmeal, and brewer’s yeast.
Frequent problems during breastfeeding
Breasts filled with discomfort and pain. – It can happen 3 to 4 days after delivery, the breasts are full, hot and difficult to touch.
Management – The baby needs to have a good latch and be breastfed frequently. You can express milk if necessary. Simple pain relievers like acetaminophen can help if the pain is severe.
Breast engorgement – This happens in the blocked milk duct. The chest appears swollen, the skin looks shiny and red. This can be accompanied by breast pain, but the pain may not be as severe as mastitis. You may also notice a mild fever.
Management – Feed the baby frequently, apply a warm compress or bathe with lukewarm water. Try simple and safe pain relievers.
Mastitis – Hard swelling in the breast with redness and severe pain. In this condition, the mother will also have a fever.
Management – Rest, breastfeed frequently, apply warm compresses, take simple pain relievers. You may need to be treated with antibiotics. Contact your doctor.
Sore or cracked nipples – Pain when the baby sucks. This is due to excess suction on the nipples.
Management – If your nipples are sore, check the position of the baby. Make sure the baby has the right amount of breast, areola, and nipple tissue in his mouth. Improve baby’s attachment. You can try some soothing creams.
Working women and breastfeeding
- Take advantage of all licenses possible on your credit, including unpaid leave
- If possible, take your baby to work, make use of daycare if available
- Don’t start other shots before you really need to.
- Don’t think, “I’ll have to go back to work in 12 weeks, so it’s best to bottle-feed him right away.” This is the most common mistake mothers make. Even if you can feed for a short time, it provides significant benefits for the baby. The baby will have received a certain amount of valuable antibodies during this time.
- Continue to breastfeed even at night, early in the morning, and any other time you are home.
- Express as much breast milk as you can before you go back to work, in a very clean bottle, even 1 cup (200 ml) can provide the baby 3 feedings / day of 60-70 ml each.
- Cover the milk and store it in the coolest place you can find in the house or in the refrigerator.
- Expressed breast milk stays good for 8-10 hours even in hot weather and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
- Breastfeed your baby after you have expressed milk, so that he receives breast milk that you cannot express, including final milk.
- Do not boil or reheat your own breast milk
- Bottle feeding is not absolutely necessary, even very young babies can be fed from a cup if you decide to use formula.
- Breastfeeding should begin within an hour after birth.
- Breastfeeding should be “on demand”, as often as the child wants day and night.
- Baby bottles or pacifiers should be avoided.