Newborn and Baby

One Single Food for a Newborn's Complete Needs

Written by
Dr. Muhammad M. Hanif Md.
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Aug 28, 2015 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  5 min read



A complete guide to wellness and health benefits of breastfeeding your little loved one. It is a unique bond of affection, love and care that leaves positive impact on the baby's life forever.

One Single Food for a Newborn's Complete Needs

Mother's breast milk is a complete diet for the newborn that suffices all the needs of the baby for the start of a healthy life. Breast milk is:

  • Easily digestible and is a completely nutritive, having all the necessary nutrients.
  • Full of immunoglobulin (to save the baby from disease causing pathogens).
  • Satisfies the thirst and satiety of your little loved one.
  • Avoids constipation.

What Is Colostrum?

The breast milk produced in the first couple of days or so of lactation after delivery, is known as Colostrum. It is a yellow colored secretionthat is full of antibodies, from the breast of the mother, from which the newborn gets protection against the infections.

In 4-5 days after delivery the mother secretes breast milk that contains antibodies to sufficiently protect the baby against diseases and they remain there for the time baby is on breastfeed. It saves the baby from:

  • Colic and other digestive system problems.
  • Ear, nose and throat infections.
  • Blood disorders like low hemoglobin.
  • Early infection of the lungs even if the lungs are not mature enough.
  • Bone mineral density issues including jaw bone weakness and misalignment of teeth which will erupt later on.

With Breastfeeding, Baby Is Fully Satisfied and That Is an Ease for Mother's Too:

Babies need mother's lap to feed properly and for sleep induction under the feeling of full satisfaction. The breastfeeding provides it all and the mother and baby both remain at ease right from the start of a new life.

Advantages to the Mother's Who Breastfeed Their Little Ones:

  • Bottle fed babies are more difficult for the mothers to handle and is just an increase in the workload to the mothers.
  • Bottles need proper cleanliness and sterilization with a steamer (boiler) and proper care is also needed for measuring the scoop of milk powder and heating the bottle in bottle warmer. If the baby refuses to take the bottle after all the efforts put in by the mother, this bottle will get wasted after 40 minutes or so, adding to the frustration of the mothers. Postpartum depression affected mothers cannot bear this additional stress.
  • Every new mother needs to regain her body shape to look smart once again. Breastfeeding helps mothers achieve these goals faster. Breastfeeding mothers have been seen to have least vaginal bleeding during the first 6 weeks after the delivery (puerperium - the first 6 weeks after delivery). Also the uterus goes back to normal size and shape (convolutes) in breastfeeding mothers fast as compared to non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • A research carried out on mothers after delivery states that, mothers who breastfeed their babies burn more fats and calories so as to achieve healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) goals after delivery in as short as 6-8 months when compared to mothers who bottle feed their babies.

Important Facts About Breastfeeding:

This is a difficult task for some mothers in the start of lactation and may need the help of a trained breastfeeding coaching from a nurse. A lot of young girls get trained at home from mothers and grandmothers in this regard. In a couple of weeks female's body adjusts to this process. She gets the knowledge of how much milk she is producing and if that is sufficient for the baby's needs. If baby needs more milk and suckles, the body has its own physiologic processes that produce more milk to fulfill the needs of the little one.

Some Facts for a Mother to Keep in Mind:

Your baby's paediatrician will guide you in this regard.

  • Continuously see if your baby has gained appropriate weight, height and body mass that is normal for the age of your baby.
  • Baby should urinate 5-7 times per day and wetting the diaper properly. It means baby is having enough milk and is on proper diet.
  • If properly fed, your baby should have a good sleep. Babies who are breast-fed sleep more as compared to those who are bottle-fed.
  • Breastfeeding babies get responsive to the outside world more easily. Their motor and cognitive development occurs faster than bottle-fed babies.
  • Do not make your own schedule to feed the baby. Babies are better judges to tell you when they are hungry or thirsty. Start feeding when the baby demands.
  • Breastfeeding babies need frequent feeds, because it is easily digested. Bottle-fed babies cannot digest it easily and may need less frequent feeding per day. Mothers should keep this fact in mind.
  • Sunlight exposure is also necessary for the baby so as to get enough vitamin D and other nutrients as needed for growth and support of the little one's bones and teeth. Vitamin D is produced in the body when sunlight touches the skin. This vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption from the gut of your little one. But do not overexpose the baby as sunlight may cause sunburns and skin cancer. Only 12-18 minutes are enough for the baby 3-4 times a week.
  • A mother's own diet is also very important. Whatever she eats, indirectly goes to the infant's body through breast milk. Mothers should take enough vitamin B12 diet that should fulfill the needs of both baby and the mother.
  • According to American Academy of Pediatricians, starting from 2 months of age breastfeeding infants should receive 200 IU of oral drops of vitamin D as breast milk is considered to be deficient in it. And they should keep taking it until baby takes enough vitamin D from food when on weaning and baby food is started. Rickets is a disease caused by vitamin D, calcium and phosphate deficiency.
  • Hemorrhage and death of a baby may be prevented by making sure that the babies are givenvitamin K at birth.
  • Babies also need iron. When baby is on weaning at 6 months of age or so, and when you introduce second food to baby, try iron-fortified cereals to suffice iron requirements of the baby.
  • In hot and humid weather and in fever, give bottled drinking water to sufficiently hydrate the baby. In normal weather, breast milk is enough to hydrate the baby.
  • Before introducing a new food to your baby like eggs, peanuts etc, first consult the pediatrician to know how to deal with the allergic reaction if it happens to the baby. It is important to know, as many babies are genetically allergic to certain foods. If baby is given such a food, it can lead to swelling of the throat, lips and tongue. Such a severe and life threatening allergic reaction may even take the life of the baby.

Nutritional Facts Of Human, Goat And Cow's Milk: (Quantity - 250 mL)

Nutrient Goat's Milk Cow's Milk Human Milk
Calcium (mg) 325 275 80
Vitamin C (mg) 3.0 0 12
Iron (mg) 0.12 0.07 0.07
Folate (mcg) 2 10 10
Sodium (mg) 125 100 40
Carbohydrates (g) 10 11 17
Polyunsaturated fats (g) 0.4 0.5 1
Monounsaturated fats (g) 2.5 2 4
Saturated fat (g) 6.5 4.5 5
Total Fats (g) 10 8 11
Proteins (g) 8.5 7.5 2.5
Calories 168 146 172

Consult a paediatrician online for queries regarding your baby's nutrition -->

Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  5 min read




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