The benefits of breastfeeding

грудное кормлениеDid you know that breastfeeding protects your baby?

The early breast milk, known as colostrum, is a thick yellow milk that is produced just after you give birth to your baby. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies that can play a very vital role to protect your baby. Colostrum is also a natural laxative that helps clear baby’s intestine thus decreasing the chance for jaundice to occur.

Your baby will get a very small amount of colostrum in every feed, but it is sufficient to match the amount that the baby can digest. Your breast milk changes as your baby grows. Colostrum, after approximately a week of your delivery changes into mature milk. By the end of a week, the mature milk has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that can help your baby continue to grow.
The mature milk is thinner in comparison to colostrum, but it provides all of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs to be healthy.

Breast milk is easier to digest, this is true for all babies, especially premature babies. The breast milk is easier to digest in comparison to the formula feed.

 

How do you breastfeed?

  • Ensure that your baby is latched on and positioned well when you are breast feeding your baby.
  • Since most babies have a tiny appetite, it is advisable to breastfeed often. Let your baby decide when to end the feeding.
  • For proper lactation, you need to offer both breasts at each feeding. Let the baby feed from the first breast as long as they are still sucking and swallowing. When you notice that the baby has slowed down, offer the second breast.
  • If you can, you must  feed your baby till they are at least 6 months old. Do not introduce any formula feed in this duration because it it may lead to less interest in breast milk.
  • Avoid using a pacifier during this time because the sucking action is likely to tire the baby.
  • You can also try different positions that is comfortable for you and your baby while breastfeeding.

Did you know the benefits of breast feeding for you and your baby?

For you

Research shows that breastfeeding has significant health benefits for mothers. When you breastfeed, the action assists the uterus return to its pre-pregnant state faster. It also helps in the reduction of the weight post delivery. And most importantly, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, osteoposrosis and pre-menopausal breast cancer.

For your baby

When you breastfeed your baby, there are lesser chances of the baby falling ill, because breast milk strengthens the immunity of your baby. They also have lesser chances of contracting the following illness:

  • gastro-intestinal (gut) illness
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • some childhood cancers
  • respiratory tract (chest) infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • SIDS (cot death)

 

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with solids gradually being introduced around this age when signs of readiness are shown. Supplemented breastfeeding is recommended until at least age two and then for as long as the mother and child wish.

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