Breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. Breast feeding a baby exclusively for the first 6 months, and then continued breastfeeding in addition to appropriate solid foods until 12 months and beyond, has health benefits for both the mother and child.
Advantages Of Breast Feeding
For The Baby
- Optimum nutrition
- Protection against illnesses
- Skin to skin contact provides warmth, security and strengthens emotional bonding.
- Sucking at the breast strengthens the jaw and promotes good jaw movements.
- Breastfeeding develops higher IQ and improves development of brain and nervous system in infant.
- Breast feed is easier to digest.
- Breast feed provides adequate water for hydration.
For The Mother
- Breast feeding is economically cheap and convenient for baby.
- It helps in loosing pregnancy weight.
- It stimulates the uterus to contract back to its original size.
- It protects against breast cancer.
- It may acts as a contraceptive.
- It develops a special emotional relationship and bonding with her new born.
Benefits Of Early Initiation-Breast Feeding
- The new born remains warm being in close touch with the mother.
- Risk of infection is reduced.
- Ensures short term and long term breast feeding success
- Post delivery vaginal bleeding decreases.
Benefits Of Colostrum
- Colostrum is rich in antibodies and protects the newborn against infection.
- It is the first vaccine for the baby.
- It helps in newborn baby to pass the stool [meconium]
- It helps to reduce the severity of physiological jaundice.
- It protects the intestine and strengthens the respiratory system.
- It is rich in vitamin ‘A’ and ‘K’
- It contains about 5 times more proteins.
Health Education For The Mother
- It is not necessary for a mother to stop breast feeding even if she is suffering from fever, cold, cough, vomiting, diarrhea and many other common illnesses and infections.
- Mother should take balance diet and also eats some extra food to support lactation.
- Mother should avoid eating outside food.
- Night feed are convenient both to baby as well as mother, it maintains continuity of elevated prolactin levels, prevent engorgement of breast and contribute to contraceptive effect of lactation.
Position And Technique Of Breast Feeding
- Mother can feed the baby in sitting or lying down. In sitting position mother should lean forward so that nipple almost falls in to the baby’s mouth. She lifts her breast from below with her hand and touches the baby’s lip with the nipple and waits until the baby opens the mouth. She then offers much of the breast so that most of the areola [ the dark skin around the nipple] is in the baby’s mouth.
- At the start of the feed the breast milk [FOREMIlk] is thin and rich in proteins and the milk towards the end [HINDMILK] is thick and has high fat content. Baby needs both foremilk and hind milk hence allow the baby to suck from one side till the baby gets hindmilk and leaves the breast on his own, only then the baby should be offered the other breast.
- Often baby can be satisfied by feeding on one breast also.
- After a feed is over, the baby is held upright against the shoulder and back of the baby is gently stroked for 2-3 minutes and then placed on the bed.
Duration And Frequency Of Breast Feeding
- Speed of sucking varies from baby to baby, some are fast feeders and some slow feeders, similarly milk comes slowly out of some breasts and almost pours out of others.
- The baby should be fed on the first breast until the baby slows down in sucking and fed on the second breast until the baby goes to sleep or stops sucking.
- Most babies obtain nearly all the milk in 5-10 minutes, but some may take up to 15 to 20 minutes on each side.