What is breast feeding?
Breast feeding is the best way to provide nutrition to the baby. It determines the childís health for the rest of his life. Breast feeding strengthens the maternal bond and improves the post-partum health problems of the mother, like internal bleeding and weight gain.
Feeding the baby with naturally produced milk, from the motherís breasts is called breast feeding. This milk is produced from the ducts located in the femalesí breasts. This process of feeding the baby is also called lactation. This process can continue for more than six months. Some babies are too dependent on lactation. Their mothers are able to produce natural milk for several months. The span of production of breast milk depends quite on the demands of the baby and its quantity of milk intake.
- Breast feeding is the most nutritious form of food for human babies. Baby's first feeding should be started with breast milk.
- However, in case, if the mother is on some harmful drugs, medications, T- Lymphotropic or if she is HIV positive, then she should avoid breast feeding.
- Breast milk upgrades the health and immunity system of the baby for its entire life.
Benefits of breast feeding for the baby:
- It upgrades the immune system of the baby
- It makes the baby bonny, yet restricts obesity
- Backs up the intelligence of the baby
- The baby becomes less prone to allergies
- It provides all the important nutrition to the baby in correct proportions
- It reduces the chances of necrotizing enterocolitis
Benefits of breast feeding for the mother:
- The hormones released during breast feeding, oxytocin and prolactin, relieves the mother from the post pregnancy physical problems. Oxytocin helps in the faster contraction of the uterus.
- It helps to reduce weight. The fat acquired during pregnancy is actually used to produce the nutritious breast milk.
- It acts as a natural contraceptive, as lactating women has irregular ovulation. This reduces the possibilities of back to back pregnancies.
- Breast feeding reduces the possibilities of several other problems like arthritis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and coronary heart diseases.
- It reduces the possibilities of post-partum bleeding.
- However, the most important benefit of breast feeding is that it increases the strength of the maternal bond. If the mother stays away from the baby due to work, she should store the milk in a proper place. However, one must make sure that this milk is in proper condition before it is fed to the baby.
A few important tips about breast feeding:
- Start feeding the baby half an hour after its birth. It reduces the nighttime feeding problems.
- It should be done in a span of every two or three hours, it maintains the regularity in milk production.
- 10 to 12 breast feeding in a day in enough.
- Breast feeding demands vary from one baby to another. Some babies are satisfied once their hunger is met. Others may need it before sleeping, some want to suckle when they are frightened.
- In order to feed maximum amount of milk to the baby, it is necessary to insert the entire nipple and a large part of areola into the baby's mouth. For that, the mother can tickle the baby's lips, so that he opens up his mouth wide. As the baby opens the mouth, the mother should put in the nipple and the areola inside.
- The baby's tongue should be lying flat in his mouth.
- Do not feed the baby from one breast. Keep offering the other one alternatively.
- Your baby should be parallel against your breast, in a straight position, with his head slightly upwards.
- As the baby grows, he gets heavier; you may start having pain in your hands from continuous breast feeding. Mothers of twins also face problems in feeding two babies simultaneously. Use a supporting pillow in these cases.
Different breast feeding positions:
- Cradle position: Put the head of the baby in between the fold of your one arm and the other arm supporting the back and legs of the baby. The baby should rest sideways, with your breast right in front of its face.
- Football position: This is a good position if you had a Caesarian baby. You should lay the baby beneath your arms, and its head should rest on your palms.
- Lying down: In case you are tired, you may lie down sideways and lay the baby straight beside you (sideways), to feed her.
- If you are having twins, then try the cradle position and the football position by offering each of your breasts to each baby. You will definitely need a pillow for this, as you will have to use each hand for each baby. Try to feed them alternatively.
Breast feeding problems:
Common problems faced by many mothers during breast feeding are
- Blocked ducts and mastitis: Blocked ducts are recovered on its own. Mastitis is a bacterial infection that happens to lactating mothers.
- Colic in the breast fed baby: The baby may get fussy or colicky due to low fat in the breast milk, or milk protein intolerance.
- Sore nipples: This happens due to poor positioning of the baby while nursing him, and improper hygiene.
Treatments of Breast feeding problems:
- Cabbage leaves ointment can recover nipple sores.
- Milk supply can be increased by eating or using herbs like Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle.
- Consult the doctors and get proper medications.