What Concerns Do Breastfeeding Mothers Usually Have?
Breastfeeding is the most beautiful thing for the mother and the baby in humans, just as for all mammals. Below are a few common questions that every breastfeeding mother has:
1. Until When Should One Breastfeed Her Baby?
Kindly encourage exclusive breastfeeding till six months. Up to 6 months, breast milk is sufficient for the baby's growth and development. However, after six months, breastfeeding should be carried out in addition to other food items. Breastfeeding can be given for as long as two years.
2. Is the Breast Milk Sufficient for the Child?
Many people worry that breast milk is too watery or less for the growing baby. People always make mistake by comparing the baby's needs with theirs. Remember that breast milk is sufficient for the baby's requirements. Breast milk alone is adequate for growth and development for the first half of your baby’s first year. As far as the second half is concerned, breast milk can provide about 50 % of the baby’s nutritional demands, which is one-third when the baby's second year is considered.
3. Is Breast Milk Nutritious for the Baby?
Breastfeeding leads to intestinal development and proper dentition in the newborn. A lot of protective antibodies are present in the milk, which protects the kid from developing a lot of diseases in the future when they grow up. Also, breastfed kids are seen to be more intelligent and socially adjusted.
When Should a Mother Start Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding should be initiated within 1 hour of delivery of the baby. Though the mother will be tired, the baby will also be stressed post the delivery and will need the feed. The nurses and the family should always insist that the mother should breastfeed the baby immediately.
Once the baby is placed on the chest, the mother will notice that they found the nipple and start sucking. That is how natural the phenomenon of breastfeeding is.
The first thick milk (colostrum) secreted is the most nutritious for the baby. It is rich in fat, which satisfies their hunger, and contains lots of vitamins and minerals required for brain development. The biggest mistake people make is discarding this nutritious milk, thinking it is infected and not appropriate for the baby's ingestion.
Even if the mother has undergone a cesarean section, the mother will secrete milk once the baby starts sucking. So, she should not get discouraged. Initiate breastfeeding immediately. It is a cycle; the more the baby sucks the breast, the more milk is produced. The most common mistake made is assuming that it is not sufficient, so the mother stop breastfeeding regularly. This leads to a further decrease in the quantity of breast milk.
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Below are the advantages of breastfeeding infants:
IgA (immunoglobulin A) antibodies are produced, which coat the baby's intestinal lining, thereby offering protection against allergens and microorganisms. The fully developed immune systems of the mother's body create more antibodies against the diseases or infection both she and the child have been exposed to. As a result, it aids in protection against several illnesses.
Vision is enhanced in infants, and also the chances of developing premature retinopathy are reduced.
The overall rate of disease contraction and hospitalization is reduced by about six times.
Decreases the risk of developing respiratory infections like the common cold, whooping cough, respiratory syncytial virus, and pneumonia.
Limits infant deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome or other fatal causes.
These children, in their adulthood, tend to be more active at work and school.
Reduce the chances of developing gastrointestinal problems like gastroesophageal reflux, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, preterm necrotizing fasciitis, and constipation.
Lesser incidence of ear infections or bacterial meningitis.
In their childhood days, they exhibit reduced incidence of allergies, childhood cancers, asthma, eczema, dental caries, Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, colitis, respiratory diseases, etc. They also have more matured brain function and well-developed immunity. Problems with movement and speech are also reduced in these children.
When they turn into adults, they exhibit fewer chances of developing type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, breast cancer, cardiac problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Breastfeeding has both physical and mental health benefits as far as the feeding mother is concerned.
The following are the benefits of breastfeeding in a mother:
Aids in rapid weight loss. As many as 500 calories can be burnt daily with breastfeeding.
Reduces the risk of developing urinary tract infections, anemia, etc.
Limits postpartum depression and enhances the mood.
Decreases postpartum bleeding.
Helps the uterus to return to its average size.
It produces positive feelings by releasing soothing hormones like oxytocin and prolactin.
Breastfeeding is also protective for the mother from a lot of cancers.
Creates an emotional bond with the baby.
Breastfed babies remain calm and are less fussy, thereby creating a sense of calmness for the mother.
How to Start Weaning?
Continue breastfeeding the baby as they are weaned and introduce them to other foodstuffs. The requirements of the growing child increase with increasing age, so the mother can start giving food, which is usually cooked at home. It does not have to be watery. A thick paste of the food normally cooked for the family is fine. Make it interesting for the baby and introduce nutritious food in their diet according to their liking.
Do not bottle or top feed the baby before six months of age. The mother should not give water or honey or anything. If the mother or the baby is sick, consult a doctor. In most cases, the mother can still continue to breastfeed the baby. Good luck to all the new mothers.
Frequently Asked Questions