Breast Feeding: Best gift to your child

breast feeding

Breast milk production and feeding is a natural process. Your body starts producing breast milk in last trimester of pregnancy. Sudden decline in progesterone levels post delivery initiates the process of other lactation hormones like oxytocin and prolactin to release milk.  Now that one is trying to learn how to breastfeed, your baby is also trying to learn how to suckle on you.

It is usually seen that breast feeding mothers easily lose confidence. This may encourage her in giving artificial feeds. But no artificial milk is as good as breast milk. One tends to easily believe that there is either something wrong with her or her baby. One must not lose confidence as one no child must be deprived of the best gift her mother can give that is breast milk.

Breast milk: A wholesome food

Two very commonly used terms used for breast milk are Foremilk and Hind milk.  This term refer to whether we are talking about milk at the start of feed or at the end of feed. Foremilk: refers to milk at the start of a feed. It is sweeter and has got glucose.Hind milk: refers to the milk at the end of a feed. It has a higher fat content. That is why it is recommended to empty one breast first before switching to other as baby should get fat containing hind milk for appropriate weight gain.

Advantages of Breast Feeding

  • Perfect nutrients
  • Easily digestible
  • No extra cost to family
  • Protects against infections
  • Helps bonding and development
  • Delays next pregnancy
  • Protects mothers health also

Recommendations:

  • Start breastfeed within 30 minutes to 1 hour after delivery
  • Exclusive breastfeed till 6 months: Exclusive breastfeeding means giving a baby no other food or drink, including no water, in addition to breastfeeding (except medicines and vitamin or mineral drops; expressed breast milk is also permitted).
  • Rooming in and breast feeding on demand; Mother can respond to baby, which helps bonding- Babies cry less, so – Mothers more confident about breastfeeding

– Breastfeeding continues longer

Advantages of Demand Feeding:

Immediately after delivery, it is recommended that baby should be fed every two hours for 10 days. Post that, breast feeding on demand is highly recommended; no matter for how many times your baby demands your milk. Plus there are several advantages to breast feeding ‘on demand’.

  • Breast milk `comes in’ sooner
  • Baby gains weight faster
  • Fewer difficulties such as engorgement
  • Breastfeeding more easily established

Common breast related issues faced by new mothers

Breast engorgement /Mastitis: Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that results in breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness. One may develop fever and chills. In most cases, mastitis occurs within the first six to 12 weeks after giving birth (postpartum), but it can happen later during breast-feeding. In most cases, you’ll feel ill with flu-like symptoms for several hours before you recognize that your breast has an area of tenderness and redness. As soon as you recognize this combination of signs and symptoms, it’s time to contact your doctor. Oral antibiotics are usually effective in treating this condition It is caused by blocked milk duct.

  • Contact your doctor
  • Do cold fermentation on breast
  • Pump out extra milk. Nurse more often from affected breast.

Nipple sores: Nipple soreness is experienced by most mothers as early as 2-3 days post delivery. It is painful while baby latches on the nipple. It is a result of poor attachment when baby only sucks on nipple and not on areola. This leads to lot of frustration and pain.

  • Apply over the counter ointments like boroline or nipcare thickly on the nipple. Give rest to the nipple by not feeding by it for at least 24 – 48 hours. Pump out/express milk in a sterilized container to prevent engorgement. Do the same for other breast. Treatment of nipple soreness is extremely important as the cracks in nipple may bleed also.

Some more information regarding breast milk

  • It has plenty of water. There is no need to give baby water for first 6 months.
  • In case baby develops diarrhea due to artificial feeds, it is important to continue feeding on breast milk. Do not stop breastfeed
  • There is no relation of amount of milk produced with size of breasts. Bigger breasts contain more fat. Part of the breast that stores milk is the same in everyone.

Breast feeding is the most beautiful experience a mother can only experience. One should cherish it as it is not going to last forever. Remember your baby needs you and your milk the most during first 6 months of her life. Gift her a healthy today and a healthy future. Offer her breast milk as soon as you receive her in your arms.  Happy Feeding!!

I am a doctor and a public health specialist from Delhi. I have expertise in Obstetrics & Gynecology, child health and vaccinations. Formerly I worked with WHO’s immunization program in rural India as a technical consultant. I believe that accurate and relevant health information is the key to positive behavioral change subsequently leading to good health. I am an ardent traveler and a passionate writer.

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