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Learn all about Breastfeeding

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Introduction

• A pregnant mother’s body starts preparing itself for all the requires to nourish the little life that is about to enter the world and nature helps it the most beautiful way.

• Breast milk production starts by the 6 month of pregnancy where the mammary glands prepare themselves for nursing. By this time in few cases (colostrum).

• Colostrum is the protein rich fluid that appears first few days after birth. Its very good since it contains infection fighting antibodies.

• The milk supply comes in gradually around the 3rd day after birth of the baby.

• Baby should be exclusively (baby should be given just breast milk) breast fed till 6 months of age and breast feeding should be continued till 12 months of age

Mechanism of milk production

• Initially right after birth yellowish fluid (rich in immunoglobulin A), colostrum is released from the breast which matures after 3-4 days of birth and a thin watery slightly sweet whitish fluid comes out from opening of the nipples.

• When the baby suckles the milk is released from the mammary glands which passes through the mammary ducts and collects around the areola. (circular region that surrounds the nipple)

• When the baby suckles the process stimulates the nerve endings located in the areola and nipple region which through feedback mechanism cause release of oxytocin hormones.

• Oxytocin hormones acts on the mammary glands and causes the “Let down reflex” (milk flow).

• To maintain this cycle , one has to feed the baby (pump out the milk) and empty both breasts of milk in order to signal the brain to produce more milk. (hence pump it or feed 8-12 times, every 2 hours of the day and hola you have your milk supply high !)

What’s in it ?

• Its rich in fat, protein, carbohydrates and minerals.

• Breast milk has two types of protein, mainly whey (60%) and casein type (40%). This proportion helps with digestive system of the newborn making it easy to digest.

• It contains Lactoferrin which inhibits growth of iron-dependent bacteria (like the yeast & coliforms)in the gastrointestinal system.

The milk contains Secretory IgA which helps in protecting from viruses and bacteria.Few immunoglobulins like IgG and IgM are also present in the breast milk. including fish in your meals can help to increase the amount of these proteins in your breast milk.

Lysozyme is an enzyme that protects the infant against E. Coli and Salmonella. It also promotes the growth of healthy intestinal flora and has anti-inflammatory functions.

Bifidus factor supports the growth of lactobacillus. Lactobacillus is a beneficial bacteria that protects the baby against harmful bacteria by creating an acidic environment where it cannot survive.

Fats that are essential for the health of your baby for a good brain , eyes and the nervous system development and serves as primary source of energy and calories It is necessary for brain development, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and is a primary calorie source.

• Many fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K are important for health’s growth and their composition in the milk depends upon mother’s diet. According to American academy of paediatrics and institute of medicine 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D is required by the infant till 1 year of age, hence vitamin D supplementation is very important.

• Lactose is found as the primary carbohydrate in breast milk. It amounts for total 40% of calories provided. Its helps in keeping a bacteria free flora of the digestive system hence improves the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium and at the same time promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the stomach.

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Benefits for the baby

• Ideal nutrition: tailored according to the need of the baby. Fore (more watery quiches the thirst) and hind milk(more rich in calories and satisfy hunger) differ in the content and milk content also differs according to the time of the baby (morning and night)

• Easy to digest, less cases of colic pain

• Protection against diseases like common cold, ear infections, UTI and with fewer cases of asthma and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)

• Protection against obesity

• Better IQ of the baby

• Baby develops better facial muscles

• Breast fed babies develop milestones on time especially speech.

• Better mother and child bonding

Benefits for mother

• Better recovery from childbirth

• Serves as contraceptive method since it suppressed ovulation

• Has shown to reduce risk of breast cancer, menopause, uterine and ovarian cancers.

• Better child and mother bonding.

• it reduces risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.

Additional Bonus points

• Its convenient

• Cheap, cost saving

• Less time for preparation of feed

• No sterilization and washing of utensils are required.

• Easier

Few huddles

• Sore & crack nipples: Generally caused by improper positioning. Easiest remedy is to position properly and after feeding squeeze some breast milk and let the nipple air-dry, it has a healing property and there is no need to clean nipple after nursing. Multiple remedies and nipple creams are available, Consultant your doctor before using them.

• Block milk ducts: Sometimes mammary glands become clogged resulting in tender and lumpy areas. Remedy for it is gentle massage followed by hot fermentation (yes its that easy !) Empty your breast during each feed, if infant is full, pump out the rest.

• Mastitis: Infective condition which starts with flu like signs (fever chills and body aches). There are signs of redness, swellings and tenderness. Advised to contact consultant immediately since you may need antibiotics. Remember to keep hydrating yourself and use some hot fermentation to relief the pain.

• Wet t-shirts/bras: oversupply causes such situations, solution is simple : Pump and store.

• Restriction for mother: From breast feeding clothes to going back to work.

Feeding positions:

• Cradle hold: Baby’s head in kept in the elbow pit of same side of arm as the feeding breast.

• Cross cradle hold: Baby’s head is held with arm opposite to feeding breast which is held in a U shape close to the baby’s mouth.

• Football/ Clutch hold: Baby is held by arm of the same side of feeding breast with the elbow bent and the hand supports the head of the baby with his/her face at the level of nipple and torso resting on your forearm (most convenient for twins)

• Side lying hold: Both you and baby lie down side by side and once baby latches on to the upper early approachable breast, support baby’s body with your upper hand.

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