Breastfeeding which is also known as nursing, is feeding babies & infants with milk from woman’s breast. It is highly recommended to start breastfeeding within the first hour after the baby is born and continue at least up to the period of 6 months. Additionally, it is suggested that the baby is exclusively breast fed for first 6 months and no other external diet should be given to the baby.
It is very important for a nursing mother to know several facts about breastfeeding.
First of all why Breast Milk?
Breast milk is considered to be the wholesome source of nutrition for a new born. The first milk that a mother gives is known as colustrum which is thick, yellowish and scant and helps in development of digestive system. Breast milk has a proper balance of proteins, vitamins, fats and carbohydrates and thus helps in overall growth of a baby. It is also easier to digest as compared to cow’s milk or formula milk.
Benefits of Breastfeeding on mother
Mothers are also highly benefited by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding tends to burn extra calories, thus helps to lose pregnancy weight. There is reduction in size of uterus is seen, due to release of a hormone called oxytocin which in turn reduces uterine bleeding. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis.
Benefits of Breastfeeding on baby
Breast milk contains various antibodies that helps infant to fight against various bacterial and viral diseases. It also reduces the risk of asthma, diarrhea, and ear infections. It is found breast fed babies have higher IQ.
How to stop Breastfeeding?
Diminishing and finally ceasing breastfeeding is known as weaning. Abrupt cessation of breast feeding can have adverse effects on body. The most effective way is to drop one feed at a time. This can be replaced by formula milk but if the child is already having other foods or drinks no replacement feed is needed. Once, the baby settles with one less feed, after 5-7 days, one more feed can be dropped and the same procedure can be continued.
Bottle feeding after stoppage of Breastfeeding
After breastfeeding, when one moves to bottle feeding it should be made sure that proper equipment are used for bottle feeding. It is also important to sterilize the bottles and teats before feeding. During feeding the baby should be held upright and head should be supported. Let the baby’s lips touch the teat first and once it opens mouth let them draw in the teat. Always remember to keep the teat full of milk. It is also important to give a child sufficient amount of time to feed with few breaks in between.
Breastfeeding problems you need to know
A woman might encounter several problems while breastfeeding like sore nipples, dry and cracked nipples, blockage of ducts and mastitis. Sore nipples can be prevented by making sure that the baby latches on properly. Dry and cracked nipples can be avoided by ceasing the use of soaps and perfumed lotions and using lanolin instead. Blocked ducts can be treated with compression and gentle massage. Mastitis requires antibiotic treatment and should be taken after the consultation of physician.
Breast feeding being such an important part of both mother and child’s life, utmost care should be taken during the phase.