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How to Know Whether Your Breast Milk Is Sufficient for the Baby?

Published on Oct 19, 2016 and last reviewed on Jul 01, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

Breast milk is nature's gift that provides complete nutrition for a newborn. This article talks about the importance of breastfeeding.

Contents
How to Know Whether Your Breast Milk Is Sufficient for the Baby?

What Is Breast Milk?

Breast milk is the nutrition that nature has provided and packed with everything required for your baby until six months of age. It is an ideal food for newborns. Breast milk is safe, clean, and contains antibodies that protect babies against many childhood illnesses. Breast milk production changes in volume and composition according to the time of the day, nursing frequency, and age of the baby to promote healthy growth.

What Is the Composition of Breast Milk?

Breast milk is composed of water, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Each of these nutrients plays a vital role in the development of infants.

Water:

The human body depends on water to function. Water helps maintain hydration, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, and protects other organs. Human breast milk is composed of ninety percent of water.

Carbohydrates:

The main carbohydrate in breast milk is milk sugar, otherwise known as lactose. Human milk contains more lactose than cow's milk.

Lipids:

Lipids are the source of energy, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids such as DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). These nutrients are necessary for developing the baby's brain, nervous system, and vision. Lipids make up four percent of breast milk.

Proteins:

Proteins in breast milk are easy to digest for babies. These proteins are also essential for every stage of the human life cycle.

Antibodies:

The primary antibody in breast milk is secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA). It coats the baby's lungs and intestines and seals them to prevent germs from entering the body and bloodstream.

Why Is Breastfeeding Necessary for the Baby?

Breastfeeding is necessary as:

  1. It keeps the baby's body healthy.

  2. It supplies essential nutrients needed for the body in proper proportions.

  3. It protects the baby from developing allergies, sickness, and obesity.

  4. It is easily digested and does not cause diarrhea, constipation, or stomach upset.

  5. Babies have healthier weights as they grow.

  6. Breastfed babies score high on IQ (intelligence quotient) tests.

Why Is Breastfeeding Important for Mothers?

Mothers who breastfeed,

1) Have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer.

2) May find it easier to reach their usual weight maintained before pregnancy.

3) Strengthens their bond with their children.

What Are the Other Important Facts to Know About Breastfeeding?

  1. A healthy newborn baby has to be started on exclusive breastfeeding as early as possible after birth and continued till six months of age.

  2. Until six months, breast milk alone will take care of all the nutritional needs. Not even water is required.

  3. Breast milk gives water and energy to your baby and helps in growth.

  4. It also contains various factors that are essential for brain growth.

  5. It helps to build immunity and prevent infections.

  6. Studies have shown numerous benefits of breastfeeding, like preventing the development of asthma, diabetes, and obesity later in life.

How to Breastfeed a Baby?

The following steps help to breastfeed a baby.

1) The mother needs to wash her hands before they start. Sit in a comfortable position with their back straight and lap flat.

2) Find the correct breastfeeding position. Lay the baby across the lap, supporting their head, shoulders, and body in a straight line. Position the nose opposite to the nipple and allow their head to tilt back by supporting it with one hand. Use the other hand to hold them on their side.

3) Line up the baby's nose with your nipple. The baby's mouth should open wide enough to cover the nipple and the lower part of the dark areola.

4) Make sure that the baby has a good breastfeeding latch. The baby will tilt their head back, and their chin will be touching the mother's breast. The baby should take a mouthful of the breast, and the breast should go towards the roof of the mouth.

5) Check for swallowing. When the milk begins to flow, the mother can hear the baby's swallowing and see their jaw moving. As the flow increases, the mother can notice some tingly sensation in the breast.

6) To satisfy the baby's hunger and demand, let the baby feed as long as needed. The more your baby drinks, the more milk your breast produces. If your baby still needs more milk, you can offer them milk from another breast.

7) Babies can swallow some air while breastfeeding. Winding them brings the air up, and the milk goes down by preventing painful trapped wind. The best time for burping the baby is in the middle of a feed or after.

What Advice Do You Give for Breastfeeding Mothers?

  1. Exclusive breastfeeding till six months completion that is not even water, oral medicines can be given when prescribed or supplements in low birth weight babies.

  2. After six months of completion, start giving other feedings and breast milk because by now, growth is increasing, and breast milk will not be sufficient.

  3. Breastfeeding mothers have to consume more calories (one extra meal) and enough fluids to have breast milk secretion sufficient for their baby.

How to Know Whether Breast Milk Is Sufficient for Your Baby?

  1. Your baby should feed for at least 15 to 20 minutes on one side.

  2. Your baby should sleep for 45 minutes to 2 hours after breastfeeding.

  3. Your baby should pass urine 8 to 10 times in 24 hours.

  4. Your baby should have an adequate weight gain, 30 grams per day in the first three months.

  5. If all those mentioned above are present, your baby is getting adequate breastfeeds, and you need not worry till six months completion.

Conclusion:

Breastfeeding is an act that provides benefits both for the mother and the child. Breast milk serves as the primary source of nutrition for newborns, produced by the mammary glands present in the breast of a female. This breast milk contains fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and antibodies essential for the baby's growth. By these vital components, breast milk provides immunity and prevents the development of infections in a newborn to have a healthy body forever.

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Last reviewed at:
01 Jul 2022  -  4 min read

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