First time mothers often have difficulty in accomplishing effective breast feeding. To- be- parents need to know all about breast feeding and how to breast feed effectively
Exclusive breast feeding: It means starting to feed within half an hour of delivery, only breast milk (not even water) thereafter till 6 months. World Health Organisation recommends that infants should be exclusively breast fed for six months to achieve optimum growth, development and health.
Thereafter to meet the evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond.
This means the infant receives only breast milk and no other solids or liquids, not even water during the first six months. Only oral rehydration solution or other medicines prescribed is allowed. Even in very hot climates, the mother’s milk has sufficient water for the child’s needs. A woman who has borne twins or multiple infants will have sufficient milk to adequately feed all the babies.
Benefits of breast feeding
For the baby
- Breast milk has ideal nutrients needed by the baby like vitamins, protein and fats in an easily digestible form
- Breast milk contains antibodies to fight off bacteria and viruses
- Prevents infections like pneumonia and diarrhoea
- Breasting feeding lowers the risk of developing asthma, ear infection and allergies later in life.
- Breast fed infants are less at risk for obesity or overweight in later years
- They have a higher intelligence quotient
- Breasting establishes a close bond between the mother and newborn
For the mother
- Prevents bleeding
- The mother also benefits by burning calories and losing pregnancy weight
- Saves money on formula feeds
- Decreased risk of breast cancer
Problems encountered during breast feeding
- Sore nipples
- Engorged breasts
- Leaking breasts
- Breastfeeding and thrush
- Low milk supply
- Overabundant milk supply
- Breast pain
- Baby unable to latch onto breast
- Baby falling asleep during feeding
- Frequency of breast feeding
- Clean the breast with warm water after breast feeding. Do not use soaps or detergents as this may cause cracks in the skin of the nipple area.
- Wear loose clothing