Breastfeeding: Gift of a Lifetime to Your Baby.
Breastfeeding is feeding of infants or newborn with breast milk from female/women’s breasts (i.e. through lactation).WHO (World Health Organization) has recommended Colostrums, the yellowish, sticky breast milk, as the perfect food for the newborn. No doubt, Breast milk is best for baby. Benefits of Breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition also contains all vitamins, nutrients, and antibodies to protect your baby from illness, which your baby needs in the first six months of life. Breastfeeding is best for your baby, and it's good for your health, too.
How long can a woman produce breast milk?
Breastfeeding is a supply and demand process, so as long as the mother is receiving baby’s feeding (demand) stimulus, the breasts will continue to supply milk, although the milk’s consistency and volume will change to accommodate the needs and age of the child. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding till at least 2 years of age.
This means feeding the infant only on breast milk, no other solids or liquids, including water(drops of vitamins, minerals or medicines, are allowed, when medically indicated). Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age.
Complementary feeding shall begin at 6 months of age. Use of locally available, affordable and acceptable complementary foods will be promoted. In addition to complementary feeding, breastfeeding should continue until 2 years of age and even more. Complementary foods should be of an appropriate:
Important of Breastfeeding for Mother:-
- It reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and certain cancers such as breast cancer.
- It helps in building a connection with the baby.
- Breastfeeding helps in losing the extra weight that you put on during pregnancy.
Important of Breastfeeding for your Baby:-
- It supplies all the vitamins and nutrients to the baby in the proper proportions.
- Antibodies present in mother’s milk protects against allergies, sickness, and obesity.
- Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome by about half.
- It protects against infections, like ear infections.
- It is easily digested – no constipation, diarrhea or upset stomach.
- Babies have healthier weights as they grow.
- Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests.
- Research shows that breastfed babies have a better antibody response to vaccines than formula-fed babies.
- Mothers milk changes in volume and composition according to the time of day, nursing frequency, and age of the baby to promote healthy growth of the baby.
- Breastfeeding - deciding when to stop
Stopping breastfeeding is called weaning. According to World Health Organization recommendations, all babies should be exclusively breastfed for six months, and then gradually appropriate family foods should be included after six months while continuing to breastfeed for two years or beyond. It is completely you and your baby’s decision to when is the right time to stop breastfeeding. Weaning can be simple or a struggling job, depending on your circumstances and how attached your child is to breastfeeding. Get an experienced Gynaecologist advice on how to wean, when to know if it's time to start weaning.
Dr. Garima Sawhney is an experienced obstetrician in Gurgaon. She gives the best advice to the breastfeeding mothers for healthy mother and healthy baby. She has years of experience in handling all breastfeeding and weaning related issues. According to her, breastfeeding builds a strong bond between mother and baby.