One of the very things every mum or parents want is the steady growth of a newborn. Fortunately, this desire is achievable when a mum explores the benefits of breastfeeding in raising a baby.
Good nutrition in infancy is essential for ideal growth and development. It is every parent’s desire to have a healthy baby.
Breastfeeding is the healthiest/best option for both mother and newborn.
The World Heath Organization recommends exclusive human breast milk for the first 6 months of life followed by complementary feeds and breast milk until age 2.
Human breast milk contains water, carbohydrates, fat, proteins, minerals, hormones, vitamins.
It is essential for optimal growth of the newborn.
Colostrum produced within the first 1-5 days after birth is high in protein, low in fat and contains immune protective properties necessary to fight infection.
Benefits Of Breastfeeding
- Bonding with newborn
- Prevention of infections, allergies, eczema, ear infections
- Reduced hospitalization with breathing problems
- Lower incidence of diabetes and obesity
- Faster weight loss for breast feeding mothers
- Convenient, cheap and does not require clean water
- For a mother whose baby is born premature her milk is ideal for her baby; contains more protein, fat, copper and zinc
Breast feeding is tasking especially for new mums but rewarding and fulfilling. Mothers require support from relatives, health care personnel and if possible, lactation assistants.
It is important that a newborn should receive breastmilk within an hour of birth.
Breast fed infants feed often especially within the first week of life when lactation is being established but becomes more regular and predictable after a few weeks.
Mother should rest whenever baby is sleeping. Let others take care of the house chores so mum will be ready to nourish her baby when the baby is awake.
Breast milk can also be expressed (by hand or pump) and fed by dad or other caregiver, allowing mum to rest.
Fortunately, a breastfeeding mum does not need a special diet. All she needs is a healthy balanced diet.
Some Breastfeeding Concerns
- Some mums especially first-time mums may experience sore nipples and breast tenderness.
This is common during the first week when mum is adjusting to breast feeding.
It is usually transient especially when you practice latching is properly (baby should latch onto areola and nipple).
- Breast engorgement/fullness usually resolves with frequent feeding or expression of milk
- Plugged milk ducts
- Mums worry that their breast milk production is inadequate for baby’s needs.
This is common during the first week and many mums get this temptation to supplement with breast milk substitutes (formula).
However, it is rare for a mother’s milk production to be inadequate for her baby.
The mother needs encouragement and support and made to understand that milk production increases with frequent feeds.
- Baby can be safely breast fed if mother is hepatitis B positive
At Paelon Memorial Hospital we are baby friendly, encourage breastfeeding and give mothers the required support and advice for a fulfilling experience.
Find more parenting resources here.