The word ‘breastfeeding’ means feeding the newborn baby with the milk that is produced in the mother’s breast. The child sucks the milk from the breasts and consumes milk. A new-born baby cannot digest any type of food including the cow’s milk as the digestive tract in the body cannot digest any kind of hard food. Mother’s milk or breast milk can provide a high content of nutrition to the child. The baby grows healthy and strong when it consumes the mother’s milk. In countries like India, where people follow strict religious practices do not encourage the mother’s to avoid breast feeding however capable they may be economically to provide milk and other infants foods.
So far, even as proved by the medical experts, breastfeeding is the best source of nourishment to the child. However, some experts suggest the mothers provide their infants with only a certain quantity of milk in a day. They state that excessive feeding may lead to indigestion. Today there are many methods of Artifical breastfeeding but they do not provide the child with the same quantity of nutrition. During the period of World War I many infants lost their lives due to the method of artificial breastfeeding.
Many organizations like WHO, AAP, which are concerned with the health issues of the world promote and encourage breastfeeding.
Breast milk contains all the nutrients that are present in the blood of the mother. but the composition of milk nutrients may vary day by day or even after an hour depending upon the external factors such as climate. They depend upon the overall health of the mother also. When the mother just starts feeding the child, the form of milk is watery and the fat content is less, but the milk is rich in carbohydrates. As the woman continues her feeding the texture of the milk gets thicker.
There are many advantages to breastfeeding. The chances for a woman to develop diseases like breast cancer are less. She burns her extra calories in the body. It helps her to regulate her body weight. It is an advantage to her infant also. The antibodies present in the mother’s body pass on to the child’s body. It brings a great sense of physiological fulfilment to the mother as she experiences her motherly image. She can create a close bond between her child. It benefits the child in many ways. The physical development of the child depends upon the mother’s breastfeeding. the mother can maintain her hormonal balance by breastfeeding. Although an extensive study conducted by medical experts speak about the advantages of breastfeeding, some degree of risk is also associated. The child may develop SIDS but the cases of deaths due to breastfeeding are very less. However, the reasons for death may be due to some other complications also.
Some of the diseases that are related to breastfeeding are 1.obesity. 2. multiple sclerosis 3. Hodkin’s lymphoma. 4. gastrointestinitis. 5. urinary tract infection.
Benefits of breastfeeding
But breastfeeding provides many other benefits. The body is immunized and therefore the growth of microorganisms into the body is hampered. The body has the immunity produced into the body to fight against the harmful microorganisms into the body. It helps in easy recovery against injuries or small bruises that may be caused to the body at some point in time. The other nutrients derived from the breast milk are amino acids, methionine and taurine that helps in the development of brain and nerve function. But the cow’s milk contains a chemical called beta-lactoglobulin that helps to fight against the allergies.
Breastfeeding does not require any finance and also it provides a high degree of energy to the baby and relaxation to the mother as chemicals such as oxytocin and prolactin are hormones produced in the body. if a mother begins to breastfeed her child immediately after giving birth to the child, the levels of oxytocin increase in the body. Breast milk is nothing but the fat that is accumulated in the body during pregnancy and hence by feeding the child in a day, she can lose calories. Excessive breastfeeding is also not suggestible because the ovulation process cannot be regained faster. Later on, in the future, she can encounter the problem of irregular menstruations.
Some women have already experienced better health status. Most of the diabetic mothers started using less insulin. The children who are fed for more than eight months have rich mineral content formed in their bones. Some woman has also experienced a calm state of mind after breastfeeding. After childbirth, some of them face mild depression disorder because after they start breastfeeding, they gain stability of mind.
The average weight growth of the child after breastfeeding is researched as follows.
- He gains 175 gms in four months.
- 113-142 in 4 to 6 months.
- Within one year he gains around 57-117 gms.
The technique of breastfeeding
There are many difficulties involved in the process of breastfeeding although it is a natural human activity. Therefore the hospital staffs, lactation consultants, midwives or nurses consult the mothers not to weigh, bathe or carry any activity until the child is first breastfed. The ideal time to start breastfeeding is immediately one hour before the childbirth. The mother is consulted to breastfeed the child after every two to three hours or eight sessions of breastfeeding are ideal for the mother. the content of milk production will be higher. Initially, the mother may experience frequent thirst but will reduce it gradually.
The laws in the U.S. have made liberal that a woman can conveniently breastfeed her child anywhere she goes. Special rooms are constructed in public places such as markets, stations, where the mother can take the child for breastfeeding. The techniques of breastfeeding should be proper, otherwise, it causes pain in the nipple. There are many ways to breastfeed the child comfortably such as holding the child in the cradling position, sitting position by sitting straight and leaning comfortably or sling. Most of the medical guidelines tell us that the infant should be breastfed until it becomes six months of age. It must not receive any other type of nutrition other than breast milk. Mother’s milk is the best nutrition for the child.