Breastfeeding plays a very important role in a child’s growth. A baby depends only on her mother’s breast milk during his initial days. It develops her immunity and helps her to fight off various diseases.
Different myths are still prevalent in the society regarding breastfeeding. It is very important for all stakeholders to discuss and dispel such misconceptions In USA and many developed nations, breastfeeding rate is appalling. To make matters worse society and organisations make it tough for mothers to breastfeed in workplaces and public places.
Breastfeeding is often deemed as less healthy and inferior alternative to infant formulas because of negative portrayal by infant formula companies.
In this guide, we will try to remove any misgivings about breast milk and breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Is Good For Both Mom and Baby
Breastfeeding is beneficial for both the mother and the baby. When a mother breastfeed, it creates a special attachment between the mother and the child. As the baby remains close to her mother while feeding, she can feel the warmth of her mother. Apart from this, there are other scientifically proven and validated reasons for breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer and ovarian diseases. It also reduces the chance osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding helps a mother to loose weight gained during pregnancy quickly. Huge caloric demand needed to produce breast milk is often cited as a reason for shedding off the fat in breast feeding mothers.
- A breastfed baby develops a stronger immune system than the ones deprived of breastfeeding. The colostrum which he sucks right after her birth is best for a baby to grow healthy.
- Breast milk is a natural food and is available always when the baby needs it. A mother doesn’t require much time to produce it as it is her inherent ability to produce milk quite naturally.
- A breastfed baby grows hale and hearty and has a less chance of suffering from bladder infection, gastroenteritis and such diseases.
- Breast milk is cheaper and affordable than expensive infant formulas.
The moments of breastfeeding create in the mother’s mind a special memory to be cherished forever. It is the time when a mother can observe her baby’s eyes, ears, lull her, or talk to her. A baby also bonds with her mom and feels secure in this new word with various foreign smells, sights and sounds.
How Long Does A Baby Needs To Be Breastfed?
Some of the mothers think that their baby’s teeth indicate the time to stop their breastfeeding. But it is not at all true.
- Breastfeeding occupies a vital space in a baby’s diet chart. During her initial days, from her birth until she becomes six months old, her only food is breast milk.
- A mother should continue to breastfeed a baby even after the baby starts taking solid food.
- The act of breastfeeding comforts a teething baby. If a baby is properly held by the mother during breastfeeding, a baby will be able to latch correctly without hurting the mother.
- If a mother faces troubles regarding breastfeeding, she should immediately consult a health nurse or a lactation consultant. They can help her feed longer without any discomfort.
Some Facts About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a natural process which feeds a baby and makes her healthy. A mother or an expectant mother should be aware of all the processes of breastfeeding and should know how it works.
- While pregnant, a woman’s breast changes its shape. It becomes larger in size and the nipples grow dark and firmer.
- A woman starts producing colostrum during her pregnancy and continues till a few days after her baby’s birth.
- Colostrum is rich, yellow-colored milk, which is full of nutrients and is the best for a baby’s immune system
- A newborn needs only 4 teaspoons of breast milk to satisfy her hunger.
- With the passing days a mother’s breast gradually stops producing colostrum and starts supplying milk which changes its color from yellow to bluish white and finally watery looking.
- The more a mother breastfeed, the more she produces milk. A baby’s amount of sucking milk depends on his appetite. Thus a mother should never worry if her baby sucks less milk sometimes.
- Breast milk is easily digestible. Thus it is quite natural for a baby to breastfeed for about 8-10 times a day
As per WHO and UNICEF’s guidelines
Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond.
Breast milk is a gift that only a mother can give a baby. Breast milk is a powerhouse of all the energy, protein and other nutrients a baby needs to not just survive but thrive during the first few months of her life.
A new mother should also assert her right to breastfeed her baby whether it is in office or home. After all, your baby needs you and your milk!