Breastfeeding is a highly effective preventive measure a mother can take to protect the health of her infant.
Feeding benefits to the Baby
- Nutritional benefits – most easily available complete food which is easy to digest
- Better neurodevelopmental outcome
- Lesser infection rates
- Gastrointestinal benefits – Rapid emptying, soft stools
- Better emotional security
- Long term protection from DM, HT, CAD, obesity, allergy
Benefits to the mother
- Helps uterine contraction (Oxytocin) and control of bleeding.
- Helps regain figure.
- Protection against next pregnancy (prolactin)
- Lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Lesser workload/ time & comfortable travel.
- Means that no drinks like water, honey, glucose water, gripe water, juices, animal or powdered milk or foods other than breast milk.
- Every baby must be exclusively breast fed for 6 months.
- Special milk in 2-5 days post delivery
- Thick and light yellowish in colour.
- Secreted in small amounts (30 – 90 ml/ day)
- Sufficient to meet the caloric needs.
- Easily digestible
- Has anti-infective elements
- So its very important to start BF as soon as possible
General Steps in Breastfeeding
- Mother relaxed.
- Adequate nutrition & hydration.
- Comfortable posture.
- Baby is calm and active.
Position: Relation of baby to mother
- Head and body of baby to be in a straight line.
- Baby’s head and body well supported.
- Body of baby to be turned towards the mother.
- Baby’s body close to the mother (skin to skin contact)
Attachment: Relation of mouth to breast
- Chin denting the breast
- Lower lip opened outwards
- Mouth wide open enclosing most of the areola
- Lower areola less visible than the upper areola
How frequent should be the feeds?
- Demand feeding i.e., whenever the baby cries.
- Usual time interval between each feed is about 2 to 3 hours.
- At least 8-10 times in 24 hours.
- Important not to skip night feeds.
Signs of proper feeding
- Cheeks full and drawn in
- Rhythmic suck-swallow-pause pattern.
- Pain free feeding
Signs of adequate feeding
- Passing urine at least 6 times in 24 hours.
- Sleeping 2-3 hours post feeds.
- Regains birth weight by 2 weeks & since then gains, adequate (10-15 mg/kg) weight.
- Use dress, mittens, socks, wraps
- Use cotton material
- Do not nurse the baby near air currents (windows’direct fan’ AC)
- If AC is used, maintain the room temperature between 26 degree – 28 degree
- Swaddle the baby well.