Mother’s milk is the most natural, wholesome and nutrient-rich source of food for infants right from birth. Breastfeeding is an integral part of the woman s reproductive process with crucial implications on the mother‘s health as well. Breast-milk is the perfect gift of a lifetime you can give your baby especially during the formative growth phase, I e between 0-12 months. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months after birth.
It is important to note that the milk secretion within the first twenty to forty-eight right after delivery is the most nutritive and the process of feeding must be initiated within an hour of delivering the child. Key advantages of breast-milk include-
1) Easy digestion- Breast milk does not cause allergies or constipation.
2) Helps enhance the child’s weight as month after month -Mothers must ensure that they consume a full balanced meal to ensure the quality of the milk secreted.
3) Mother fed babies are known to have better tolerance and IQ levels.
The above just a few of the numerous advantages that breast-feeding provides to the infant. Mothers benefit in the following ways.
1) It reduces the risk of certain types of diabetes such as type 2 variety. It is also largely known to reduce the risk of cancer in women especially breast cancer.
2) Weight loss is faster. Breast milk is rich in calories and nutrients. More you feed your child easier it is for you to lose weight the natural way.
3) Strengthening the bond with your child –the infant is closest to the mother when it feeds from the breast. This physical contact is crucial for the child to understand the mother (through touch, body temperature, eye contact, etc) and vice versa.
Apart from the advantages stated above, there are other practical benefits of feeding the child such has hygiene, ready availability, etc. However, there are some circumstances when the mother feels an inability to lactate. Lactation is influenced by a lot of factors such as the weather (extreme hot conditions make it difficult), time of the day, age and consumption pattern of the child. The psyche of the mother also has some influence on her capacity to feed the child, which is why the first twenty hours after delivery is crucial for the “latch” to happen between the mother and the child. Further here are a few tips which may help in lactating better-
Increase the frequency of feedings.
Ensure that your baby is fed at regular intervals. The secretion of milk by the mammary glands are proportional to the amount the child consumes. Your mind and body automatically fall into a pattern and you find that you are “full” and ready to feed at that exact time. Do not pull the child away when it stops to nurse, it may rest its mouth over the nipple when it feels tired or falls asleep. Wait for the child to settle, automatically pull away and sleep. This simple act influences the lactating hormones thereby increasing the supply of milk.
Increase the intake of fluids.
Lactating mothers must ensure that a lot of water/juices or milk is consumed. Nursing takes out a lot of bodily fluids and therefore consumption of adequate fluids is necessary to keep the body replenished of it. A healthy lifestyle and good rest is also an important factor to increase lactation.
Do not hesitate to consult the doctor.
If you still think that you are unable to lactate as much as your child demands, do not hesitate to seek medical help. Visit your gynecologist and ask for appropriate medicines/dietary changes. There are also a wide variety of natural foods that help enhance lactation. Talk to her and accordingly follow the advice given.
Your child will bring a lot of positive change into your life; don’t you want to nurture it when it needs you the most? Enjoy feeding your child, do whatever it takes to give it the best you can.