Do it the right way: Breastfeeding

Do it the right way: Breastfeeding
Highlights

Breast milk is the complete source of nutrition for a baby from birth till 6 months of age It is important to exclusively breast feed the baby till 6 months of age that is they are given nothing but breast milk According to The National Family Health Survey data fiftyfive percent of infants under age six months are exclusively breastfed Contrary to the recommendation, many children less than

Breast milk is the complete source of nutrition for a baby from birth till 6 months of age. It is important to exclusively breast feed the baby till 6 months of age; that is they are given nothing but breast milk. According to The National Family Health Survey data fifty-five percent of infants under age six months are exclusively breastfed. Contrary to the recommendation, many children less than 6 months consume other liquids, such as plain water, other milk, or complementary foods in addition to breastmilk.

Breastmilk contains the perfect blend of vitamins, protein, fat, antibodies and growth factors needed by children in the first six months of life and is an uncontaminated nutritional source. In order to promote exclusive breast feeding, maternity leave has been increased to 6 months. This is a great milestone for working mothers giving them the opportunity to exclusively breastfeed their babies.

Breastfeeding in infant exclusively for the first 6 months of life carries numerous benefits such as lowered risk of diarrhea, pneumonia, ear infection and urinary tract infection. They have fewer hospitalizations and doctor visits. Breast milk is much more easily digestible than formula/ other milks. Breastfeeding lowers the baby's risk of having asthma or allergies.


TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BREASTFEEDING

  • Insist on feeding baby within first hour of birth. You can do that even if it is a caesarean section.
  • Learn proper technique like latching, positioning from the hospital staff.
  • It may take some time for you and the baby to adjust to breastfeeding. Do not give up in the first few days and avoid using bottles, nipples, pacifiers etc.
  • First you should be comfortable while breast feeding. Use a good back support.
  • Block out all the negative comments – if your breasts are not overflowing you do not have enough milk, if baby is feeding more frequently means breast milk is not sufficient give formula. These are all myths. If you have any doubts please consult your obstetrician or pediatrician.
  • Pumping of breast milk. This is very useful especially for working mothers. There are manual and electric breast pumps available in the market. Applying a warm towel to your breasts 15-20 minutes before pumping helps to increase milk volume. You can pump breast milk in your office also.
  • Storage of breast milk. Breast milk stored at room temperature should be used within 4 hours. In winter season or in cold climate it can be used upto 6 hours. Breast milk should be stored in refrigerator at the back. Never store milk in the door of refrigerator and avoid opening the refrigerator frequently and do not leave the door open for a long time. Breast milk stored in a refrigerator can be used within 2- 3 days but in a tropical country like India it is better to use the milk within 1-2 days. In refrigerators with separate freezer compartment (temperature of – 18 C) breast milk can be stored for 3-6 months. In places with frequent power cuts and no back up for running refrigerator, it is advisable not to store breast milk.
  • Using stored breastmilk. When the baby needs to be fed, place the milk in a container with hot water or keep it under tap with running hot water for 1-2 minutes. After this the milk should be used within 1-2 hours. Never heat breast milk directly or microwave it. The cream of the milk may form a separate layer. Before giving it to the baby swirl the milk but do not shake it. Before use, frozen milk should be thawed by placing in the refrigerator. Once the milk has been thawed it can be kept for 24 hours in refrigerator before use. Do not refreeze thawed milk.
  • There is no shame in breastfeeding in public. Breastfeeding in public should be encouraged and supported by everyone.
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