September 14th, 2011 by Hasham
Breast-Feeding – Topic Overview
What is breast-feeding?
Breast-feeding is feeding a baby milk from the mother’s breasts. You can feed your baby right at your breast. You can also pump your breasts and put the milk in a bottle to feed your baby. But pumping does not help keep up your milk supply as much. Doctors advise breast-feeding for 1 year or longer. But your baby benefits from any amount of breast-feeding you can do.
Breast milk is the only food your baby needs until about 6 months of age. You do not need to give your baby food, water, or juice. After that, you will gradually breast-feed less often as your baby starts to eat other foods. But keep breast-feeding for as long as you and your child want to. Your baby continues to get health benefits from breast milk past the first year.
Breast-feeding lowers your child’s risk for many types of infections and allergies. Breast milk may also help protect your child from some health problems, such as eczema, obesity, asthma, and diabetes.1
To compare, baby formula does not help protect a baby from infections and other health problems.
You may recover from pregnancy, labor, and delivery sooner when you breast-feed. You may also lower your risk for breast cancer and for osteoporosis later in life.1
Is breast-feeding hard to do?
Breast-feeding is a learned skill-you will get better at it with practice. You may have times when breast-feeding is hard. The first 2 weeks are the hardest for many women. But stick with it. You can work through most problems. Doctors, nurses, and lactation specialists can all help. So can friends, family, and breast-feeding support groups.
How do you plan for breast-feeding?
Before your baby is born, plan ahead. Learn all you can about breast-feeding. This helps make breast-feeding easier.
* Talk to your doctor about breast-feeding. Schedule an exam with your doctor early in your pregnancy. Before your first visit, write down any questions or concerns that you have about breast-feeding. This will help you to remember to talk about them with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows about any breast reductions, implants, biopsies, or other types of breast surgery you have had.
* Learn how to breast-feed. The staff at hospitals and birthing centers can connect you with people called lactation specialists who can help you learn how to breast-feed. While you are pregnant, you can take a breast-feeding class. Also, get a breast-feeding book for quick reference. Ask your doctor for ideas.
* Plan ahead for times when you will need help. Think about who you could talk to or have come over to help you succeed with breast-feeding after your baby is born. Many women get help from friends and family. Before you have your baby, talk to friends and family members about your plans to breast-feed and how their support is important to you. Also think about joining a breast-feeding support group. After your baby is born, you may feel more “connected” if you talk with other breast-feeding mothers. You may also help each other answer questions about breast-feeding issues.
* Buy breast-feeding equipment. You may need breast-feeding supplies after your baby is born. For example, breast pads, nipple cream, extra pillows, and nursing bras are all helpful. You can buy these items ahead of time. It is also a good idea to buy or rent a breast pump to have on hand when you bring your baby home. Pumping your breasts can help relieve pain and pressure when your milk comes in. And it lets you store extra milk for future use.
Colostrum is the first stage of breast milk that occurs during pregnancy and lasts for several days after the birth of the baby. It is either yellowish or creamy in color. It is also much thicker than the milk that is produced later in breastfeeding. Colostrum is high in protein, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that pass from the mother to the baby and provide passive immunity for the baby. Passive immunity protects the baby from a wide variety of bacterial and viral illnesses. Two to four days after birth, colostrum will be replaced by transitional milk.
Transitional milk occurs after colostrum and lasts for approximately two weeks. The content of transitional milk includes high levels of fat, lactose, water-soluble vitamins, and contains more calories than colostrum.
Mature milk is the final milk that is produced. 90% is water, which is necessary to maintain hydration of the infant. The other 10% is comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats which are necessary for both growth and energy. There are two types of mature milk: foremilk and hind-milk.
Foremilk: This type of milk is found during the beginning of the feeding and contains water, vitamins, and protein.
Hind-milk: This type of milk occurs after the initial release of milk and contains higher levels of fat, and it is necessary for weight gain.
Both foremilk and hind-milk is necessary when breastfeeding to ensure the baby is receiving adequate nutrition and will grow and develop properly. You might looking into taking a supplement that helps deliver vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are important for healthy and plentiful breastmilk production. Get Supplements Now
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby?
Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat — everything your infant needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.
Breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood in some studies The physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching, and eye contact all help your baby bond with you and feel secure. Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children. Some studies have also shown a link between breastfeeding and a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers. But more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Are There Breastfeeding Benefits for the Mother?
Breastfeeding burns extra calories, so it can help you lose pregnancy weight faster. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may also lower your risk of osteoporosis.
Since you don’t have to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples, or warm bottles, breastfeeding saves you time and money. Deciding to breastfeed provides you with regular time for relaxing quietly with your newborn as you grow close and emotionally bond.
Proper infant feeding practices are key to child survival
Optimal breastfeeding of children under two years of age has the greatest potential for a positive impact on child survival of all preventive interventions, with the possibility of preventing 1.4 million deaths in children under five in the developing world annually1. Breastfed children have at least a six-times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children. Breastfeeding drastically reduces deaths from acute respiratory infections and diarrhoea, two major child killers, as well as from other infectious diseases.
Current breastfeeding patterns, have improved significantly in some countries over the past 10 years but they are still far from the recommended levels in the developing world as a whole, indicating that their potential to improve child survival remains untapped.
Only 39 per cent of all infants 0–5 months of age in the developing world are exclusively breastfed, and less than 60 per cent of 6- to 9-month-olds continue to be breastfed while also receiving solid, semi-solid or soft foods. Although global levels of continued breastfeeding are relatively high at one year of age (76 per cent), only half of infants are still breastfeeding at two years of age (50 per cent).
Are there breastfeeding benefits for the mother?
Breastfeeding requires extra calories — about 500 extra calories a day — so you can lose pregnancy weight faster. It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre- pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It may also lower your risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture after menopause.
Since you do not have to buy and measure formula, sterilise teats, or warm bottles, breastfeeding saves you time and money. Deciding to breastfeed provides you with regular time for relaxing quietly with your newborn as you grow close and bond emotionally.
How do I know I’ll have enough milk when I start breastfeeding?
The first few days after birth, your breasts produce an ideal “first milk” called colostrum. Colostrum is thick, yellowish, and scant — but there is plenty to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Colostrum helps a newborn’s digestive tract develop and prepare itself to digest breast milk.
Most babies lose a small amount of weight in the first three to five days after birth. This is unrelated to breastfeeding. A natural connection exists between your baby’s feeding needs and your milk production. As your baby needs more milk and feeds more, your breasts respond by producing more milk. Experts recommend breastfeeding exclusively (no formula, juice or water) for the first six months. If you supplement with formula, your breast milk production may go down.
Even if you breastfeed less than the recommended six months, it is better to breastfeed for a short time than no time at all. You can begin to add solid food at six months but also continue to breastfeed if you want to keep producing milk.
c7Breastfeeding is undoubtedly best, according to experts and lots of mums too. This section covers many aspects of breastfeeding; from the basics of how to breastfeed to why breast milk is so beneficial. It also looks at why your diet is important to your baby’s nutrition, along with the most common breastfeeding problems and solutions you might encounter as you and your baby get the hang of it.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s quick and convenient. But breastfeeding is a learned skill and many newborns need time to learn, just as you will require a strong commitment and some perseverance in the early days. While breastfeeding is perceived as being natural and instinctual, it is common to experience difficulties because proper technique is required by both you and baby to get it right, which takes a lot of practice. It can take time and patience to figure out the technique – however, most problems can be overcome with the right education and support and the benefits breastfeeding bring to you and your baby make it worth persevering with.
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