Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Colostrum, the yellowish, sticky breast milk produced at the end of pregnancy, is recommended by WHO as the perfect food for the newborn.It should be initiated within the first hour after birth .Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
Breastmilk is the ideal nutrition for infants-a nearly perfect mixture of vitamins, protein, and fat ,in a digestible form that is complete for the overall growth of a newborn ,contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria, lowers the risk of having allergies, infections, diarrhea and malnutrition.
It is also linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood, appropriate weight gain, plays a role in the prevention of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome),lower the risk of diabetes, obesity .The breastfeeding benefits for the mother are burning of extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster, release of hormone oxytocin which helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size, lowers risk of breast and ovarian cancer and your risk of osteoporosis, too.
It also gives you regular time to bond with your baby. Some common challenges with breastfeeding are sore ,dry, cracked nipples, worries about producing enough milk ,pumping and storing milk, inverted nipples, breast engorgement and infection.
Eventually, answer to all the above question lies in learning the accurate method of breast feeding (called as latching)and ensuring adequacy of feeds. If any doubt consult lactation consultant.Learn ABC of breast feeding:A-Awareness of your baby’s sign of hunger and keep breast feeding on demand.B-Be patient-Don’t be in a rush to feed the baby. Baby will usually take 10-20mins for each feed.C-comfort – Relax while breastfeeding, and your milk is more likely to “let down” and flow.
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