Breastfeeding is an important part of motherhood journey. Breast milk is vital to the mental and physical wellbeing of any child . Breastfeeding is the most important link between a mother and her child. Breast milk is an important source of nutrients for the child . Breastfeeding is important to child as well as mother . Any child should be fed with breast milk for at least six months after birth , because this helps protect her child from various diseases and infections. That is why the breast feeding in first six months is literally a foundation for well-being of the child. The child is not only benefitted during the childhood, but has long term benefits as well. Breast feeding also reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
The first milk of mother which is known as Colostrum , is the first sort of a vaccine for the child as it is equipped with immunoglobulin . Even if this yellow milk is in small quantity, it has antibodies , vitamins and other growth factors . This is why breast feeding should start within 30 minutes of child birth. Earlier the breast feeding starts, better it is for the child.
Why start breastfeeding early?
The baby’s body is most active in the first 30 to 60 minutes after birth. Therefore, the nutrients in breast milk are well absorbed by the baby’s body. Also, early onset of breastfeeding does not cause breast swelling and pain and also reduces postpartum hemorrhage.
How long to breastfeed?
Breastfeeding should continue as many days as the mother and baby wants it to . There is no medically fixed period for that. According to the World Health Organization, a child should be breastfed for at least 2 years or more. It is good for the health of both children and mothers. Up to 2 years the child gets all the nutrition from mother’s milk. Therefore, a child should be breastfed for at least 2 years.
Breastfeeding is a gift from nature to women. Breastfeeding is very important in terms of health and social importance in motherhood.
Benefits to the baby
- Breastfeeding keeps the baby away from asthma and ear infections. This is because breastfeeding creates a protective covering in the baby’s nose and throat.
Mother’s milk is easily digested by the baby. So the baby does not have digestive problems. On the contrary, it helps to improve the baby’s digestion.
Breastfeeding is a readily available diet without cost. Some children are allergic to cow’s milk. Breastfeeding is the perfect and nutritious food for the baby.
- Mother’s milk helps to improve the intelligence of the baby and also improves vision. It helps to build a good physical as well as emotional relationship with the mother. This is because it is high in fatty acids which helps in the good development of the baby’s brain.
Benefits to the mother
- Protects against breast and ovarian cancer
- Prevents obesity and keeps the body in shape.
- Breastfeeding can be done in any position which is comfortable. The baby should latch on to the breast in a proper position.
The black portion on the breast which is called as Areola should be completely in the baby’s mouth while feeding.
- Sometimes while feeding the baby might close the eyes and take a nap giving an impression that the baby is satisfied and we try to keep the baby down. But the fact is the breastfeeding is like an exercise for the baby and may get tired and take a nap. But the feeding is not complete and must be continued.
- While the baby takes a nap , we also might feel that the breast milk is over and we might change the baby’s position to another breast. But we should not do that.
- When the baby itself leaves the nipple , it means that the breast is over , but the baby is still not satisfied. So then the other breast should be offered to the baby.
- While breastfeeding , the milk that comes first is called foremilk and is thin and little bluish in colour with proteins, vitamins and minerals . Hindmilk which comes later is a little thick and has fat content and satisfies the baby. Both are important for the baby
- When the baby is satisfied, we should remember that next time the other breast should be offered to the baby alternately.
- If the baby latches onto only one breast properly and does not accept the other breast means that the position is not comfortable to the baby.
- If milk remains after breastfeeding we need to express or take out the milk . Otherwise we will feel heavy in the breast and might have problems next time while breastfeeding. Sometimes this can also lead to pus formation.
Breastfeeding is important and has long term effects on any child’s life. Because it plays an important role in his overall physical and intellectual development, Breastfeeding is the foundation of a healthy life.
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