Breastfeeding is an important activity in which the mother and baby bond and the baby are provided the right nutrition and diet. Breast milk is considered the best source of antibodies and prepares the baby for life to fight against diseases. Numerous organizations and researchers recommend that the baby should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months. It is important to know the facts associated with breastfeeding.
Facts associated with Breastfeeding:
- Breast feeding should be started soon after delivery. It should be started within the first hour of normal delivery and as soon as possible after a cesarean section.Support from family and hospital staff plays a pivotal in achieving this goal
- Mothers produce enough milk for their babies. They often give formula milk or cow’s milk in addition to breast milk as they feel that they are not producing enough for their baby. This is generally not true as breast feeding works as a stimulus for production of hormones which are required for secretion of milk. Hence the more they breast feed the more milk they produce. Top-up feeds have an adverse effect on this process and cause a reduction in the amount of breast milk produced.
- One can be confident that the baby is getting enough breast milk if he/she is doing the following: Passing urine at least 5-6 times every day Passing stool that is changing from dark green to yellow in color. Gaining weight Remaining content and settled in between feeds.Latching and sucking on the breast with full cheeks and swallowing seen during feeding.
- Babies need only breast milk and nothing else till six months of life. This is known as exclusive breast feeding. Multivitamin drops and medications may be given if advised by the doctor. However, there is no need to give water or any supplementary food in the first six months of life.
- Breast feeding should be continued along with complementary feeding- Breast milk provides full nutrition for the first six months of life.To sustain full growth and development beyond six months babies need to be started on solid food. Ideally, these should be simple home- made items such as rice water, lentil (Dal) water, Khichdi, mashed fruits, and vegetables etc. Breast feeding should be continued along with this up to a maximum of two years.