Breastfeeding the Primary Food for Babies

While before birth, the child gained its nutrients from the mother, the first nutrition given to a new-born is breast milk. As the child cannot change the way it ingests food suddenly, its nutrition after birth must be derived from the mother’s body just as it had before birth. Nature has crafted the mother’s body in such a way that the child should get adequate nutrients from it. Hence, breast milk is its natural, unadultered and hygienic derivative.

When should breast milk be given?

It should be given within an hour in a normal pregnancy. This may be up to six hours in the case of a caesarean.

Greatness of breast milk

The off-yellow secretion for up to three days after birth is known as cholesterol. This contains nutrients like vitamins, proteins and calcium.

The protein present will help induce the child’s body to build immunity to various diseases. It also helps to produce enzymes that aid digestion in the child’s gut.

How many times should breast milk be given?

Breast milk should be given from time to time as required. A new born should be fed at every two to three hours intervals from eight till ten.

In the second month, the new born can be fed from five till six times. After this, the amount can be gradually decreased until weaning normal food. Breast milk can still be fed at least till six months or until two years of age.

Method of feeding

When feeding, the child’s body should be sat upright diagonally with the nipple fixated firmly on the child’s mouth, the child should be able to suckle and drink well. While feeding, it is important to cover both the breasts.

The child should not be fed while sleeping, lying down, or working.

Nutrients in breast milk

Let us see what the mighty breast milk (100ml) contains:

Protein 1.1g
Fat 3.4g
Carbohydrates 7.4g
Calcium 28g
Phosphorous 11g
Iron –

Thyamine 20µg
Riboflavin 20µg
Vitamin C 3mg
Vitamin A 42µg
Total calories 76 kcal

A common complaint from women who do not feed breast milk to their children is that they do not secrete sufficient milk, and hence, choose artificial milk.

Method to increase breast milk

But only as the child begins to suckle do the nerve endings in the nipple get activated which will naturally induce the production and secretion of breast milk. Also, mothers need to consume foods rich in the necessary protein, fat, vitamins, carbohydrates, and essential salts.

Undiluted milk must be consumed at least twice daily. Consumption of legumes, meat, eggs, fish, butter green vegetables, greens must also be increased.

Consumption of coffee and alcohol, and smoking must be avoided while giving breast milk.

Feeding breast milk should not be suddenly stopped as breast milk is sufficient until the child is four months of age, after which it becomes insufficient. So other foods which need to be prepared in a mushy texture need to be prepared which will ease the child’s ability to digest it. The food also needs to be not too cold or too hot.

When should breast milk be avoided?

T.B., typhoid, or other infections will alter the breast milk secreted which may infect the child, if ingested; so should be avoided. It should also be avoided in case of diseases of the lung such as cancer, abscess, wound, protrusion of the nipple, or lesions. If the mother has mental maladies, breast milk should also be avoided.

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