Breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts that a mother can give to her new baby. Breast milk provides proper nourishment, helps strengthen a baby’s immune system, and deepens the mother-child bond. Breastfed babies are at lower risk of infections, diarrhoea, asthma, obesity, allergies, and colic. Mothers who breastfed recover from child birth quickly. This is because breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin helps uterus contract and return to its normal size quickly. It thus helps in reducing excessive bleeding after delivery. Breast feeding also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. It might also reduce the risk of developing uterine and ovarian cancer.
There are so many benifits. But, is breastfeeding an easy task? Does the mother need to learn how to feed? Does the baby need to master the art of suckling properly?
– Learning to breastfeed is no different than learning to swim, knit or sing: there may be bumps along the way. The truth is that although breastfeeding is instinctive, it is a skill that both mother and baby have to learn and master. Babies needs to master the skill of milking and emptying the breast. And mothers need to master how to latch the baby, and how to read his/her hunger and satiation cues. Aboveall, mothers must have a positive breastfeeding mindset!
For all new moms and expecting moms out there, here are the ABC’s of breastfeeding:
A: Assistance: Expecting first time moms have loads of resourses these days. They can talk to lactation consultants, join online breast feeding support groups, go through video tutorials, talk to friends etc. It is ideal to spend time on awareness building during the 9 months of pregnancy. The baby will require assistance on the latching techniques. A baby is born with extra protective stores of water and nutrition, so that he will only need the small amount of colostrum (early milk) that his mother has available for him during the first few days. Since her milk production is not fully established, a mother’s breasts are still soft and the baby can easily learn to latch on correctly. A typical baby will need a little hands-on assistance at first.
B: Breastmilk: Colostrum is full of antibodies and immunoglobulins. It is highly nutritious and must be given to the baby immediately after birth. It is considered as the first immunization of child. It should never be discarded. And the child should not be given top-up milk. Breastfeeding actually increases milk supply. There is a supply and demand control system to increase the amount of milk produced depending on how much the baby has fed.
C: Contact: Holding baby skin-to-skin helps in multiple ways. Here are a few benefits:
-Helps baby sleep more
-Helps mom sleep more
-Helps baby learn to breastfeed sooner
-Keeps baby at the perfect body temperature
-Increases milk production
Moms and moms -to -be enjoy the journey of motherhood. Please feel free to share your experiences with us.