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Date posted: February 4, 2012

Dr Jolly M D Mello

A new born baby has only 3 demands
They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence.
Breastfeeding satisfies all the three.

It is only in the act of nursing that a woman realizes her motherhood in a visible and tangible fashion; it is the joy of every moment.
Mother’s milk is time tested for million’s of years, it is the best nutrient for babies because its nature’s perfect food.
WHO recommends breast feeding for the first 2 years and exclusive breast feeding for first six months

Folk lore has often referred to breast milk as ‘white blood’ considering it similar to placental blood in intra-uterine life. Indeed human milk is similar to unstructed  living tissue like blood and is capable of affecting every system, enhancing immunity and destroying pathogenic bacteria

Composition of breast milk
About 100ml of colostrum is secreted on the second and third day after birth.
Colostrum is lemon yellow in colour, rich in proteins and salts, but low in fats and sugar.
It is high in immunoglobulin, which helps in protecting the new born until its own immune system is fully functioning.
Human milk contains 89%water, 0.8-0.9%proteins, 3-5%fats, 6.9-7.2% carbohydrates and 0.2%minerals
Carbohydrates mainly in the form of lactose, proteins like casein, alpha –lactalbumin, lactoferrin, immunoglobin and lysozyme. In addition it provides vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and hormones which a growing infant needs.

Tips for breast feeding

  • Arrange for privacy, mother’s hands should be clean.
  • Mother’s should sit up, either in bed or in a comfortable chair with low arms.
  • Position the baby so that its head is snuggled securely in the anti Cubital fossa of the   mothers arm and rotated slightly towards her so that eye to eye contact is maintained.
  • By cradling the infant’s thigh or buttocks in her arm, the mother can control the baby’s position and move the baby with ease.
  • Mother should support her breast with hand, her thumb should be just above the areola, fingers below. In this position the mother is able to guide her nipple in any direction and place more of the areola into the baby’s mouth. She can easily maintain the infant’s airway by pushing her thumb inward against her breast as necessary
  • Both breast should be offered at each feeding
  • After feeding the mother should break the infants suction on the nipple by placing her fingers in the corner of baby’s mouth in this manner she can gently remove the baby from her breast.
  • Alternate the breast first offered at successive feedings

 Advantages of breast feeding to the mother

  • Mother should be encouraged to breast feed immediately after delivery and regularly thereafter.
  • Suckling stimulates uterine contraction, aids in expulsion of the placenta, helps in control of excessive maternal blood loss.
  • Promotes weight loss, since calories are used used up.
  • Frequent and exclusive breast feeding can delay return of fertility through lactational amenorrhea , which helps in  birth control.

Long term health benefits

  • Breast fed mother’s have less risk of endometric and     ovarian   cancers, osteoporosis, later risk of breast cancer is lower, helps in stabilizing maternal endometriosis.
  • Mother’s who have fed longer than 8mths also benefit remineralization, require less insulin for diabetes mellitus

Advantages of breast feeding to the baby

  • Infants suckling response will be most intense during first 20-30mins after birth.
  • Delaying gratification of reflex can make it more difficult for the baby to learn suckling process later.
  • Infant promptly begins to receive immunological benefit of colostrum, creates a mild laxative effect, expelling meconium and prevents built up of bilirubin.
  • Scientist’s have documented breast milk benefits every system in a baby’s body.
  • Protects against allergies, respiratory infections and obesity
  • Improves vision and oral development, intestinal immunity is enhanced.
  • Breast feeding enhances baby’s cognitive development, ability to control one’s own action which is very essential in human development.
  • Recent studies have shown that children fed on mother’s milk during infancy have higher IQ than those fed by formula feed.
  • Risk of juvenile diabetes is less common in breast fed babies ,have fewer ear infections ,better cardiovascular and kidney functioning.
  • Breast feeding satisfies babies’ emotional need or love and security.
  • Baby enjoys not only the comfort of the warm breast, but caressing, rocking in its mothers arms and eye to eye contact with the mother while feeding.
  • The baby with all its senses drink’s the mother’s love

Bonding between the mother and infant
Breast feeding is designed by nature to ensure maternal and infant interaction and intimacy.
If done without schedules and restrictions it guarantee’s that you and our baby are in close physical contact 8-18 times in every 24 hours.
Suckling by the baby results in massive rush of the love hormone oxytocin  from the hypothalamus into the mothers blood.
Oxytocin changes the mother’s mood making her more relaxed and ever more passionate towards her baby. Thus it enhances intimacy and strengthens maternal affection towards the baby.

Breast milk is a natural sustainable resource, and no doubt the best instant, infant food in the world.

Dr  Jolly m d’mello
Department of physiology & biochemistry
Fr muller homoeopathic medical college
Deralakatte,Mangalore

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