Breastfeeding, an act of love
Breast Milk : Nector of all new born babies
Baby being the most precious and sensitive gift for a mother and to the family it demands a great care from the mother herself, the father and the supporting family. The first and foremost care starts right from the day when a mother conceives her baby within her womb, then giving birth to her child and reviving a life with hers, then feeding her child with her milk which is the first and the most important nutritional diet for any baby.
So being blessed with such a blissful act she always carries a tension to fulfill her responsibility with the best of her capability, knowledge and ability. So here are some of the important questions that most of the mother’s have in their mind when they are blessed with this responsibility.
1. When is the right time to start breast feeding?
All the mother should be encouraged & prepared to breast feed their baby, right from her antenatal visit. Breast feeding should be started within half an hour of normal delivery and 3-4 hours of caesarean section. Prelacteal feed with honey water, grape water, sugar water or any other liquid should be strictly avoided.
- How can one initiate breast feeding and what is the proper way of breast feeding?
All the mother should be well prepared & educated to breast feed her baby right from her antenatal visit. Any problem related to her breast and nipple should be sorted out and she should be emotionally supported. She should be happy and taking proper nutritious diet, with extra calorie to meet the demands of her new born baby. Mothers first milk ( Colostrum- rich in protein and immunoglobulin’s), thick yellowish milk is very important for the baby so it should not be thrown and should be feed to every baby.
There are some factors that play an important role for mother & baby bonding which further helps to maintain proper lactation as well.
Rooming in– keeping baby and mother together, Bedding in– keeping baby and mother in the same bed close to each other, Mothering in– keeping baby on the mother’s abdomen, Kangaroo mother care for the pre term baby- keeping baby on the mothers abdomen or close to her chest, While breast feeding both the mother and the baby should be relaxed, in comfortable position and in an appropriate room temperature.
Preferably mother should breast feed the child in the sitting posture with her back supported and baby held in a semi-sitting position with the face held close to the mother’s breast by one arm and hand while the other hand supports the breast making the nipple easily accessible to the infant’s mouth without obstructing the nasal breathing. The infant’s lips should engage considerable areola as well as nipple. This would be the best way to feed your baby and you share the bond as baby sucks.
- How often and how long one should breast feed their baby?
There is no hard and strict rule for timings regarding breast feeding. It can be a demand feeding (as when ever your baby feels hungry). Roughly it could be every 2-3 hourly. No extra water, other liquid or food is required till 4 months of age.
The infant should empty at least one breast at each feeding & baby should be kept on other breast too for sometime before discontinuing. It may take 20– 30 minutes approximately per feeding. Most of the baby’s tend to sleep while feeding so it’s necessary to wake them by rubbing their back, palm, ear lobule, behind the ear, or by tickling/patting them on their sole.
- How do we know that the breast milk is sufficient for the baby?
Mother’s milk is sufficient for the baby till first 4-5 months of life provided mother is healthy and producing good amount of milk. The most important thing to be noticed for adequate feeding is:
The weight gain by 20-30 gms per day
Baby will pass urine frequently, almost 6-10 times a day
Baby may pass 1- 6 liquid stools per day
Baby will sleep 2-3 hrs post feed.
Baby looks satisfied and happy post feed.
5. Till what age baby should receive breast feeding?
Start breast feeding right from the birth. Add on with supplemental feeds in form of weaning from 4-5 months of age and continue breastfeeding till 2 years of age.
As well said breast milk is for brain growth and cow’s milk is for body growth so continue breast feeding till 2 years of age. Animal milk can be introduced only after 1yr of age.
- If you are a working mother how can you continue breast feeding your baby?
Well in that case feed your baby when you are at home and for the time when you are in office you can express the breast milk and keep it store in a steel container in a refrigerator in the middle compartment till 24 hrs. And it can be used as palada feed, or a spoon feed with proper sterilization. Don’t heat the milk directly on the heater rather warm the only required amount of milk by keeping the container in the hot water vessel.
7. What are the benefits of Breastfeeding?
Benefits for the babies: Breast milk – Natures perfect food; is a complete nutrition for all the pre term & term babies. It is easy for the baby to digest because of the nutrients present in milk which is in right amount ( i.e: fat, sugar, protein, water, other micro nutrients and trace elements). It helps in babies growth and development (body & brain). Breast milk contains several anti-infective factors, immune-protective components & antibodies which provide early protection from infection in babies and thus lower the risk of infant morbidity and mortality. It also helps in the babies jaw development/strengthening; & helps in easy teething. It decreases the risk of SIDS in infants, & there is less chance of allergies, diabetes, celiac disease, obesity in later adulthood of breastfeed babies.
Benefits in mother: helps in uterine shrinkage, decreases risk of breast cancer, post partum depression, and osteoporosis. It is also a bonding experience for both mother & baby and can be less expensive than formula milk.
Breast feeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby & the earth.