Breastfeeding Myths

Unlocking the Hidden Powers: Breastfeeding’s Impact on Baby and Mom!

You don’t want to give her the divine power of breastfeeding specifically meant your newborn!

As per Indian mythology, only gods can have an elixir that can make them immortal!

What about humans?

So for humans, gods created another elixir of life, breast milk which literally helps save millions of newborns across the globe.

Breastfeeding stands out as a highly efficient method of optimum growth and health in childhood. Nonetheless, in contrast to guidelines provided by the World Health Organization (WHO), less than 50% of infants under six months are exclusively fed through breastfeeding.

In this story, we will discuss some most important questions being asked about breastfeeding.

Why Breast Milk?

Breast milk is the perfect nourishment for babies. It is a secure and hygienic source of nutrition, rich in antibodies that offer protection against numerous typical childhood infections. During the initial months of life, breast milk supplies all the required energy and essential nutrients for an infant, and it remains a significant source of at least half of a child’s nutritional requirements throughout the latter part of the first year and up to one-third into the second year of life.

Breastfeeding can also help protect mother and baby against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases.

Soon after the birth how long it should take to start breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding should be started as soon as possible in case of normal delivery. In the case of cesarean section/LSCS within one hour it should be started.

What is exclusive breastfeeding?

Exclusive breastfeeding means feeding your baby only breast milk, not any other foods or liquids (including infant formula or water), except for medications or vitamin and mineral supplements(WHO).

Benefits to Baby

Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests.

Breast milk makes the babies stronger and Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Severe lower respiratory disease
  • Acute otitis media (ear infections)
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting)
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infants

Breastmilk bath And Breastmilk Massage!

Do you know that breast milk is also used as a breastmilk massage for babies other than feeding?

Also known as breastmilk bath, can be done twice a week.

The advantage of breast milk baths is:

1 It can reduce neonatal acne and hypopigmented spots

2 Moisturising effect due to palmitic acid present in it.

3 It has having a soothing effect and prevents Diaper rash

4 It prevents cradle cap due to good hair nourishment

5 Prevent wastage in many cases there is excessive breastmilk discarded, which can be used for breastmilk bath or massage

6 It can help in healing minor cuts and wounds due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits to Mother

To start, breastfeeding offers her the advantage of saving a significant amount of time because she doesn’t need to go through the process of sterilizing bottles or preparing formula.

Additionally, it leads to financial savings since there’s no need to purchase formula powder.

Breastfeeding not only provides emotional fulfillment but also forges a strong, intimate connection between the mother and her baby.

Most importantly, breastfeeding has a positive impact on the mother’s well-being, aiding in her post-pregnancy recovery. It assists in the return of her uterus to its normal state, reduces the extent of regular vaginal bleeding, and lowers the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. 

Furthermore, it aids in shedding the excess weight gained during pregnancy.

Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of

  • Breast cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.

Is there any contraindication to start Breastfeeding?

Though human milk offers the most comprehensive nutrition for infants, including premature or unwell newborns, there are uncommon circumstances where human milk or breastfeeding may not be advisable.

1. If an Infant is diagnosed with A rare genetic metabolic disorder, classic galactosemia,

2. Mother has HIV and 1) is not on antiretroviral therapy (ART), or 2) is on ART but has not achieved sustained viral suppression during pregnancy

3. Mother is infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I or type II

4. Mother is using an illicit drug, such as opioids

5. Mother has suspected or confirmed Ebola virus disease

How do I know my baby is breastfed adequately?

You can check whether your baby is receiving sufficient nourishment through various indicators.

Regularly wet and soiled diapers are clear signs that your baby is getting enough to eat. 

Furthermore, your child’s healthcare provider can assess their weight and length to ensure proper growth.

How long baby Can be breastfeeding? Can toddlers be breastfed?

The World Health Organization advises exclusive breastfeeding for the initial 6 months, followed by a combination of breastfeeding and the introduction of suitable complementary foods for up to 2 years of age or even longer.

Is it safe to take medicines while I am breastfeeding?

Although many medications do pass into breast milk, most have no effect on your breast milk supply or on your baby’s well-being.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have questions or concerns about taking medications while breastfeeding.

You can visit the website to check for safer medication while breastfeeding!

Is it safe to give a baby pacifier?

If you are nursing your baby, it’s a good idea to delay introducing a pacifier until breastfeeding is firmly established. Once breastfeeding is well-established, using a pacifier during naps and bedtime can be helpful in lowering the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Why can’t we give water to a breastfeeding baby before the 6 months, even when it is hot?

Offering water to infants may increase the risk of diarrhea and malnutrition. Water may carry contaminants that can lead to infections in the baby. Furthermore, providing water can result in the baby consuming less breastmilk or prematurely discontinuing breastfeeding, which can contribute to malnutrition.

If mothers opt for water over breastfeeding, it can also reduce their milk production in the long run.

Breast milk contains over 80% water, especially the initial milk produced during each feeding.

So, whenever a mother senses her baby is thirsty, she can breastfeed the baby.

This not only quenches the baby’s thirst but also provides protection against infections and supports the baby’s healthy growth.

Even in hot climates, babies do not require water before they reach 6 months of age.

This is one of the reasons that WHO recommends for children to be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life.

Disadvantages of formula nourishment

Formula milk can place excessive strain on a baby’s organs if the nutrients-to-water ratio is incorrect, whether it’s too much or too little. In contrast, breast milk boasts numerous anti-infective elements. Formula milk, if prepared with contaminated water, can lead to diarrhea

Additionally, bottles can harbor bacteria if not stored at a cool temperature or sterilized properly, rendering them unsafe for use.

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