Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both The Mother and The Baby

Posted on : August 11, 2023 by Clinic One on Blog

Did you know?

Only 42% of mothers initiate early breastfeeding to their babies (i.e., Within 1 hour of birth).

Likewise, only 62% of mothers perform exclusive breastfeeding to their babies (i.e., up to 6 months of age).

And, only 88% of mothers continue breastfeeding their babies up to 2 years of age.

Hence, we can say that the trend of breastfeeding is gradually decreasing with the increase in the practice of bottle feeding.


What is Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is the process by which a mother feeds her breast milk to her child.

It is one of the most important and effective approaches adopted against malnutrition, undernutrition, and various other neonatal, infant, and childhood-related mortality and morbidity.

Exclusive breastfeeding is the most common practice of exclusively feeding only the mother’s milk to the baby continuously for 6 months and nothing else.

Hence, breastfeeding has numerous benefits for both the mother and the baby.

Complementary feeding can be introduced to the baby, followed by 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding.


When to Start Breastfeeding and For How Long?

Exclusive breastfeeding should be introduced to your baby within an hour of giving birth and should be continued until your child is 6 months old.

The first few breastfeeding sessions may take 30-45 minutes each, and the duration will gradually decrease once your child can properly take your milk.

Newborns should be fed every 2-3 hours. After 2 months, your babies should be fed every 3–4 hours, and by 6 months, babies are usually fed every 4-5 hours.

The practice of breastfeeding your child can be continued as long as your child wants and/or needs it.

However, WHO recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding followed by complementary feeding for your child up to 2 years of age. After that, you may introduce your child to supplements.


Why do Babies Need Breast Milk?

Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, required for your baby to grow and develop properly.

‘Colostrum’, is a yellow-colored substance released by mothers after giving birth, containing all the necessary nutrients and antibodies that your baby may require to fight against common infections for the first few days of their life.

The colostrum changes into transitional milk by the 5th day, and it again changes into mature milk by the 2nd week, which is rich in antibodies that protect your child against major neonatal and childhood illnesses.

Breast milk is rich in Omega-3, which provides immunity to your baby along with assisting in brain development.

Breastfeeding your babies properly and exclusively can lower their risk of having asthma, allergies, ear infections, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer.


What does Breastfeeding do to the Mother?

Breastfeeding mothers release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps the uterus get back to the pre-pregnancy stage of mothers.

It helps them lose excessive calories, which enables them to lose their weight faster.

Similarly, it also lowers the risk of ovarian and breast cancers, heart disease, postpartum depression, type-2 diabetes, and many other health problems.

So, it is said that: ‘the longer they breastfeed, the better they will be protected’.

Hormones like prolactin and oxytocin are released during breastfeeding, which strengthens the bond between mothers and babies.


How is Bottle Feeding or Formula different from Breastfeeding?

  • Formula feeding lacks antibiotics.
  • Bottle feeding can be infectious and unsanitary.
  • It needs extra effort to sanitize and store.
  • Formula feeding can be expensive.
  • Formula milk doesn’t contain everything that a baby requires, while breast milk does.
is formula milk different from breastfeeding


Best Practice or Position for Breastfeeding

There are several positions of breastfeeding in practice.

  1. Cradle hold
  2. Cross-cradle hold
  3. Rugby ball hold
  4. Side-lying position
  5. Laid-back breastfeeding for Cesarean cases
  6. Upright breastfeeding
  7. Dangle feeding


Maternal Contraindication

The maternal contradictions arise if the mother:

  1. Has been infected with HIV or is suspected of having HIV.
  2. Has untreated tuberculosis.
  3. Is taking chemotherapy for cancer.
  4. Under any medical treatment or is taking antibiotics.
  5. Has consumed alcohol.
  6. Is taking any illegal drugs.



Breastfeeding Challenges

There are several challenges to breastfeeding, especially among new mothers. Some of these challenges are:

  1. Sore and Painful nipples
  2. Dry and cracked nipples
  3. Breast Infections
  4. Breast Engorgement
  5. Stress and postpartum Depression
  6. Lack of enough ejection of milk


Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs to Know

  1. A good latch and proper position determine effective breastfeeding.
  2. Breastfeeding burns 500-600 calories per day.
  3. Some studies have linked breastfeeding with a higher IQ score in later childhood.
  4. The color of breast milk is not always White. It can be yellow, blue, orange, pink, or green, depending on what food you eat. It doesn’t harm your baby.
  5. Your breast size doesn’t determine the amount of milk you produce.
  6. The leakage of milk is normal.
References

1. Breastfeeding [Internet]. [cited 2023 July 31]. Available from: https://www.who.int/health-topics/breastfeeding

2. Breastfeeding. In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Jul 31]. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Breastfeeding&oldid=1167790032

3. 10 Things You Should Know About Breastfeeding [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 31]. Available from: https://www.thesource.org/post/10-things-to-know-about-breastfeeding

4. Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 31]. Available from: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/breast-bottle-feeding.html

5. https://www.facebook.com/WebMD. WebMD. [cited 2023 Jul 31]. Breastfeeding Overview. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/nursing-basics

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Jul 31]. What to Expect While Breastfeeding. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/breastfeeding/what-to-expect.html

7. Medela [Internet]. [cited 2023 Jul 31]. 14 Fascinating Facts About Breastfeeding. Available from: https://www.medela.us/breastfeeding/articles/14-fascinating-facts-about-breastfeeding.



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