The best milk for any mammal on this planet is breast milk. While other mammals strictly follow this order of nature, we human beings who supposedly are the highest form of mammals, in our human wisdom many a times refuse to follow this natural boon bestowed upon all mothers by the creator himself.
Breast Milk – It’s the best!
If we start enumerating the advantages of breast milk, it would take a three day conference to cover all aspects, however, I shall try to summarize a few common advantages.
- The most important fact is that breast milk of each mother has the right kind of nutrients which are suitable for the baby.
- The contents and quality of breast milk of a mother of a preterm baby is different from the contents of the milk of a term baby. Hence it is tailor made, if we may put it that way.
- It is easy to digest, easier than any formula feed, has all the necessary immunoglobulins which are needed for immunity building of the baby.
- By virtue of sucking on the breast the baby also expends some calories thereby preventing obesity.
- It has also been observed that breast fed babies have a higher IQ than the non-breast fed ones.
- Retrospective studies have shown that those individual who were breast fed during infancy were less prone to chronic illnesses like heart diseases, diabetes and so on. More research is going on in this field.
Awareness supporting breast feeding:
With the growing awareness on breast feeding most of the mothers are now opting for breast feeding their babies. The recommendation is exclusive breast feeding for 6 months of age and can along with semisolids which are started after 6 months of age, be continued up to 2 years of age.
Deficient infrastructure not supporting breast feeding:
In our clinical practice we encounter various problems faced by mothers in breast feeding. The commonest problem is that the mother has to join work after three months, and hence won’t be able to continue breast milk. The next common thing we encounter is, mothers carrying feeding bottles with them when on outdoor commitments, when asked, the obvious answer is that it is only when we go out, how else can she feed her baby.
The concept of nursing one’s baby is public is a very normal practice in villages, but an absolute no no in urban settings. The reasons for the same may be lack of privacy, inadequate support from fellow colleagues and organisations, unfriendly or insecure environment and mind-set of the society around and so on. It is recommended that all organisations have crèches and feeding rooms to enable nursing mothers to breast feed their babies.
Just as we have public toilets everywhere these days including the malls and airports, it would be recommended to have feeding rooms for mothers in the malls, airports, railway stations, hospitals, work places and so on. This step can significantly boost the breast feeding practice in this country.
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