The recommended way to feed a new born is exclusive breast feeding till 6 months of age. Even water is not to be given till 6 months. After 6 months it is breast feeding in combination with semisolids which is called complimentary weaning or anparashan. Breast feeding is to be continued till at least 1 year of age or as long as the mother and the baby wish and are comfortable. But after 1 year it is usually because of psychological and social reasons, the nutritional value is not adequate for growth.
Breast milk is the Gold standard for infant nutrition
Breast milk is good for the child’s health in many ways. It can be compared to Amrit – as it has many protective properties:
- Breast milk is easily digested and the infant has the least colic/gastric problems.
- It has substances to boost immunity, is inexpensive, convenient, does not need sterilization and promotes bonding.
- Moreover the human proteins are best suited for the prevention of allergic disorders in life.
- Breast feeding prevents development of asthma and other allergic disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease at later stages of life.
- It has also shown to improve the cognitive development scores in infants.
Breast Feeding is good for mother too:
The breast milk is specific, i.e., a mother who has delivered premature baby will secrete milk according to the requirement of that baby.
Maternal benefits include protection
- Against breast and ovarian cancer,
- Faster losing of weight and achieving the hormonal balance.
Mothers need to take Vitamin D supplements from birth and iron supplements after 6 weeks while exclusively breast feeding infants.
Guidance is essential:
For moms who deliver for the first time, the whole experience can be exhausting. At times there is anxiety from the expectation that the society puts on them. It is important to ask for help and take guidance from your doctors, lactation consultant, family and friends. Take good care of yourself, eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids. Most importantly rest as much as possible.
For commercial mild formula – make an informed decision:
Commercial infant formula may be required for infants with special nutritional needs or if there is concern regarding adequate nutrition or hydration. Please make an informed decision after consulting your doctors. Focus on nurturing and nourishing your baby and enjoy these moments together with the newborn.