The best and most appropriate food for the new born baby is mother’s milk.
Why breast feeding is important?
Nutrition: Breast milk supplies all the nutrients necessary for the baby during the early days. Breast milk supplies the correct amount of nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, Vitamins, Calcium, minerals and electrolytes in the correct proportion to the baby.
Easy to digest:
Breast milk is the best food that is easily digested by the baby.
Breast milk is sterile (infection free) and the chance of infection is minimal and it protects the baby from infection by the antibodies of the mother present in the milk.
Milk at correct temperature:
Baby receives milk at the correct temperature.
Breast milk fed children have higher IQ than bottle fed children. Breast milk fed children feels more confident and secure.
In breast milk fed children, the incidence of getting obesity are less.
Prevent sudden infant death syndrome:
Among children on breast feeding the sudden infant death syndrome (cot death) is less.
Prevent infantile diarrhoea:
Breast feeding prevents infant diarrhoea (inflammatory bowel disease), Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Breast milk also prevents constipation.
Diabetes is less in breast fed children than bottle fed children.
In breast milk fed children the incidence of osteoporosis is less.
Advantages of breast feeding for the mothers
satisfy the maternal instinct.
Promote involution of uterus.
Sucking by the child at breast helps to shrink the uterus back to the pre pregnancy state and the contraction of the uterus reduce bleeding after delivery.
Breast milk comes free of cost, not necessary to boil or add sugar.
Not necessary to prepare or sterilize the bottle for each feed.
Prevent weight gain after delivery.
Prevent breast cancer, endometrial cancer and ovarian cancer.
Breast feeding reduces stress and helps to prevent postpartum depression.
Postpone the next pregnancy by suppressing ovulation (lactation amenorrhea).
Advantages for mother and baby
Produces a strong bond between the mother and infant. This bond may continue throughout their life.
What is colostrum?
The milk produced first (first few days) is called colostrum and it is full of nutrients and immunoglobulin’s which helps the baby to survive, develop and grow properly. Baby’s immunity is strengthened by colostrum.
When to start breast feeding?
It is better to start breast feeding soon after delivery (within 1 hour).
For how long to continue breast feeding?
Breast feeding is to be continued for at least six months. It can be continued even after 1 year. Breast feeding should be weaned gradually (replacement of breast milk with other foods).
How often the baby should be fed?
New borne babies should be fed every 2 to 3 hours as the amount of milk ingested is less. Gradually the number of feeds can be reduced and fed according to the need of the baby.
Breast feeding week
week (1 to 7) every year is considered as breast feeding week to increase the awareness and importance of breast feeding.