Importance Of Breastfeeding

The Importance Of Breastfeeding: Expert Advice, Nutrition & Benefits

(Last Updated On: December 3, 2022)

We all know the fact that breast milk is ideal and very nutritious for babies. Still, many people do not understand the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding their child. Breast milk contains many antibodies and anti-infective properties that help the baby from getting infected. Breast milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns, containing fat, protein, carbohydrates and variable minerals and vitamins. This post is about the benefits and importance of breastfeeding.

Importance Of Breastfeeding Your Child

In the current world, some women are not interested to have children and some mothers are not interested to breastfeed their kids. In both categories, the reason is almost the same. They are afraid that will affect their beauty and glamour. Motherhood is a blessing and gift from the almighty God. Do you think you can maintain your beauty and glamour for a long? Never. As you become older, changes will happen in your body. When you are breastfeeding a child you are giving everything to that child including your love and affection and that is the importance of breastfeeding and the main benefits of breastfeeding.

Importance of breastfeeding
Importance of breastfeeding

The Importance Of Breastfeeding: Expert Advice, Nutrition & Benefits

Breast milk is ideal and very nutritious for babies. It contains many antibodies and anti-infective properties that help the baby from getting infected. Breast milk is the primary source of nutrition for newborns, containing fat, protein, carbohydrates and variable minerals and vitamins.

Points – Importance Of Breastfeeding

  • Why is it important to only give your child breast milk?
  • What is important for you to eat during your lactation period?
  • What is Colostrum?
  • Breastfeeding Process
  • Breastfeeding Positions
  • Football Position for Breastfeeding
  • How long should you feed your baby?
  • What is foremilk?
  • What is hindmilk?
  • What is nipple confusion?
  • How do you know if your baby is getting enough milk?
  • How to handle Postnatal Depression?
  • What is the let-down reflex?
  • Covid-19 and Breastfeeding
  • What are the precautions that need to be taken if you are Covid Positive and feeding your baby?

Why is it important to only give your child breast milk?

Human milk is ideal for human babies. It has many antibodies and anti-infective properties that help the baby from getting an infection in the early days when it is small. There are lesser chances of allergies because it has the correct kind of protein. It is more digestible. It has the right amount of fat in it. It has the right amount of iron which is observable and the right amount of calcium. Because it has the right type of fact, there are lesser chances of obesity and diabetes as well as heart disease later on in life. A child who is breastfed is emotionally secure and has higher IQ points almost by 8 to 10 points. But of course, the biggest advantage to the mother is that it is an ATM well available at any time. The mother also has the advantage that if she feeds the baby, she regains her figure back quickly. All that fat stored during your pregnancy is going to be utilized to make milk for young people. 

What is important for you to eat during your lactation period?

It’s just normal food. There is no need to eat extra calories in terms of fat etc and you’re not doing all of that. You may do so if you enjoy it. What is more important is that you drink a lot of fluid. It can be anything from water, milk, juice, coconut water, soups, or whatever is your fancy. You need the extra fluid to produce the extra milk. You need to eat a little bit extra so that you can also have more nutrients in the milk. You continue your vitamins like iron and calcium during this period so that your milk is rich in these products. It is very important to give Colostrum.

What is colostrum? 

Colostrum is the first milk that comes to the breast in the first few days. It is thicker, yellow in colour and it is very rich in proteins and antibodies. It is very important that we do not throw away the colostrum and give the baby colostrum.

Breastfeeding Process

Every mother faces difficulty in the first few days of breastfeeding. Nobody is just natural atoms not born with these skills. The baby is also going to find it difficult. So allow yourself some time to get used to the whole process. The best way to do this is to be spending time alone with your child to get no relatives and friends and things to come over because you need that little special time with your child. Your family is there to support you and always remember that it will take time and you will eventually get there. 

Breastfeeding positions

A good positioning and good latching will help you with breastfeeding. What do I mean by a good position? Hold the baby securely and comfortably. Make sure you are comfortable first. Try to sit in a chair. Later on, you can manage breastfeeding in any position, lying down, lying on your back, sitting, or walking around. Mothers feed in every position, but in the early days, it may feel better if you sit in a comfortable chair with good back support and with good armrest support. That way you can hold your baby nicely. In this hack, you may help take the help of pillows, feeding pillows, and all kinds of devices available now. Make sure the baby’s help firmly. The head of the baby should be in the crook of the arm and the baby can then be supported by the rest of your hand. The other hand should be free to hold the breast and position it so that it goes into the baby’s mouth.

The way your baby latches on is it, initially, it takes a little bite at the nipple and then goes further on to indulge the entire areola. The areola is the black area around the nipple and that can be facilitated by your hand by making this kind of position where the thumb is up and the four fingers are below, and you can guide the areola into the baby’s mouth once it has latched on. The importance of this is that the milk ducts are present in the areola. If the baby only sucks at the nipple he or she will not get enough milk. And then they will bite harder and that may lead to soreness of the nipples. When they bite at the areola so the baby doesn’t suck milk out of your breast. It actually chomps the milk out of your breast. It bites at the areola and when it bites on the milk ducts where the lacteals are filled with milk, then milk kind of ejects out of the nipples and goes into its mouth. It then forms a tube bites the tongue or something like that, and then that milk is transferred from the front of its mouth to the throat, and then it swallows. So it is important that the entire areola is as much as the areola and goes into the baby’s mouth for it to be effective in breastfeeding. This will be helpful if we can hold the baby securely. 

Football position for breastfeeding

There are other positions in which you can hold the baby, one is called the football position with you hold the baby like this. So the head of the baby is in your palm, you clutch the baby under your arm like that, as if you’re clutching a purse and then you can use this other hand to support your breasts and the baby can be fed like this. 

It is helpful if you’ve had a cesarean section and your wound is still sore and sometimes, even mothers have managed to feed twins like that, both in a football position. Once you and the baby are more familiar with breastfeeding, any position works, it really doesn’t matter what position you take your baby in.

How long should you feed your baby?

15 to 20 minutes, maximum of half an hour on one side is good. There is a concept of foremilk and hindmilk.

What is foremilk?

Foremilk is the initial milk that comes first. It is thin and it is more sugary, so it immediately satisfies the hunger of the baby. But if you give only foremilk from one breast and foremilk from the other, the baby will get hungry faster.

What is hindmilk?

What you need is to continuously feed on one breast, and give the hindmilk also which comes later, and is rich in fat. If the baby drinks milk which is rich in fat, it stays satisfied for longer. As the baby grows older sometimes they don’t need to be fed on both breasts, so you would do 30 to 35 minutes on one breast. Burp the baby in between so there all the air comes out from the stomach and then goes to the other breast. Remember that the next time you feed you start with this breast and then go to the other side.

What is nipple confusion?

There is something called nipple confusion. Can I express my milk and give it in a bottle? Yes, you can. But right in the early days, the baby sometimes gets confused between nipples. The nipple of a bottle is different. The baby actually has to suck the milk out of the bottle whereas we already described that from the breast the baby chomps the milk. So if we express milk, put it in a bottle, and give it to the baby in the early days, it may get confused, as to what am I supposed to do. Am I supposed to suck or am I supposed to chomp? So in the early days, it is suggested that you use a party scoop or pallida to feed the baby if you’re using express. This can be necessary when your baby may be admitted to the NICU, or you may have some illness and you are not able to bond with your baby immediately, it may be important for you to express your milk and give it to the people. Sometimes dads want to be involved in the feeding process. That may also help because you can express the milk in the dad can feed the involved as well. 

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk? 

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk? How do I know that I’ve done a good enough job? Every time the baby cries it’s not necessary that the baby is hungry. But at the same time, if a baby is crying, do I have to give more milk, or do I have to do something else? If a baby is wet and it’s crying because of colic or gas or just wants to be held.

In the early days, the baby loses weight for the first five to seven days, up to 10 to 15% of its birth weight, and then starts gaining weight. So it takes 10 to 15 days for it to come back to birth weight. So you may get confused if you try to look at weight gain to see if you’re getting enough milk. You can look at the urine. If the baby passes 5 to 6 urine in a day in a 24-hour period, usually the baby is getting enough milk. You also get a sense of the fullness of your breast. Your breast feels very full before the baby starts feeding and after the baby feeds the breast, feels very empty. If that’s something that’s happening regularly, you can be sure that your baby is getting enough milk.

How to handle postnatal depression?

Many moms feel extremely stressed out and it is something you know everyone wants to succeed at this. And there are enough people telling us from everywhere that you know, somehow we’re not being successful. So also we have a little bit of baby postnatal depression. We’ve been through a lot. Our bodies are going through so many changes that it is bound to feel very stressful at this point. To have somebody who supports us and does not continuously make us feel that we are not adequate is very helpful. 

What is a let-down reflex?

There’s a big connection between the brain and the breasts, what we call the let-down reflex. So the more our brain is stimulated to know that we are doing a good job, the more milk it produces and the more the baby suckles our breasts, the more milk will be produced and it will come down faster. So keep putting your baby at the breast. It will take some time in the first few weeks. Don’t despair. You will get there eventually.

COVID-19 and breastfeeding

What happens now is the latest topic is of course COVID. What do I do if I am tested positive for COVID? Do I feed my baby? Do I not feed my baby? I need to take my vaccination. 

Vaccination is absolutely safe during the lactation period. So go ahead, take your vaccination. There is no reason not to feed your baby if you have taken your vaccination. 

If you had the misfortune of getting a COVID infection and you have a little baby who needs to be fair. You can continue to feed your baby provided you’re feeling alright. Obviously, if you’re not feeling well yourself, that may be a different choice to have to take. 

What are the precautions that need to be taken if you are COVID-positive and feeding your baby? 

Maybe you shouldn’t room in with your baby. The baby can be looked after by somebody else and brought to you when it needs feeding. When you need to feed the baby, make sure you wear a good mask, a good surgical mask or N 95 mask, or double mask yourself. Before you take your baby, wash your hands thoroughly, for 20 seconds, with soap and water, or sanitize using a good sanitiser with 70% alcohol. Feed the baby. Keep the mask on throughout and then again you can return the baby for someone else to look after. This is perfectly safe and you can continue to do so. The advantage of this would be that you would actually be also giving antibodies to your baby, antibodies that your body is producing. It is documented that the virus is not transmitted in milk, but the antibodies are.

Read Pregnancy And Breastfeeding Guidelines – COVID-19

I hope that I’ve been able to answer some of the more important questions and I really love for everyone to be breastfed. The other thing that we really need from policymakers is to create an atmosphere that helps mounts to feel comfortable breastfeeding in a work situation when you go out, maybe to a restaurant, etc. Do not feel shy to breastfeed your baby. It is your baby’s right to be fed. Do not worry about what people will say, what people will think. It’s none of their business. It’s your baby’s right to be breastfed, so please feel free, feel safe, and have a happy breastfeeding experience. Thank you. 

Interesting Facts And Importance Of Breastfeeding – WHO

Importance of breastfeeding WHO
Importance of breastfeeding WHO

Benefits And Importance Of Breast Feeding – WHO

Your body is ready to feed your baby from the moment they are born. Colostrum, the first milk, is yellow and thick. It doesn’t have much water in it, so your baby only needs a very small amount.

During breastfeeding, both you and your baby produce oxytocin, a hormone that lowers stress and anxiety and makes us feel connected.

Breastfeeding supports the development of healthy gut bacteria in your baby, setting them with a healthy immune system for life.

Breastfeeding contains antibodies that are tailored to help your baby fight infections circulating in your environment.

Babies usually breastfeed very frequently in the first few days. The more often your baby breastfeeds in the early days, the quicker your body will start to make more milk.

Final Thoughts

I hope that the above helped you to understand the importance of breastfeeding. Remember, motherhood is the most precious blessing for a woman. When you ignore breastfeeding your baby, remember that there are many women in the world, maybe near to your home, feeling sad for not having a child or for being unable to breastfeed a baby. Mother is everything. If you find any mother not interested in breastfeeding, explain to them the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding. Today, we talk a lot about organic food is good for health. We should help all mothers to understand the benefits and importance of breastfeeding. All mothers should realise the fact that breastfeeding is the best for their children.

From Pregnancy To Birth – How A Child Is Born?

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References & Credits: Dr Bela Doctor, Senior Consultant – Paediatrics, at SRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai. You can watch the video

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