Pregnancy > An Introduction to Breast Feeding

An Introduction to Breast Feeding

Welcome your baby to a wonderful, new world! A world where he is special and where he'll get the best start in life. A beginning that will come exclusively from you. 



This best start is the very beautiful and private world of breast feeding. A unique, personal experience so natural, it's been shared by women all over the world since the beginning of time. 

Over the last decade, there has been a plethora of scientific evidence and data supporting the supremacy of breastfeeding and the health benefits which accrues from it. 



UNDERSTANDING BREAST FEEDING 
By breast feeding your baby, you would have taken that first vital step to your newborn's healthy growth and development. 

That is because your milk is sterile, balanced and most appropriate for your baby. It contains all the nutrients in the right proportion. In fact, the first milk you produce is called colostrum which is unique to breast feeding. Colostrum contains the exact nourishment your baby needs for the first few days of life. In addition, colostrum also contains antibodies which protect your baby from infections like diarrhoea, coughs and colds during the first few weeks of life. So you can see just how important your milk is to your baby, as he will never get the same excellent nutrition from any other food. 

WHY IT'S BEST FOR BABY ? 
Breast feeding abounds with many real advantages your baby won't otherwise get. Here are some 

BENEFITS TO THE CHILD 

Breastfeeding saves lives 
For infants in the developing world, the risk of death increase 10-15 times for those who are not breastfed during the first 3-4 months of life. Globally, most of the deaths related to bottle-feeding are due to diarrhoeal diseases. Overall,it is estimated that if more mothers were to breastfeed optimally, an additional 2 MILLION infant lives can be saved each year. In industrialised countries, the impact of breastfeeding on mortality rates is smaller because of other factors that reduce infant death rates. It is however estimated that breastfeeding can further decrease the death rate during the first year of life by 4 per thousand babies. 

Breastfeeding is the perfect food for infants 
Mothers milk is the best food for infants and it contains all the nutrients required for the growing and developing baby in the right proportions. Breastmilk alone fulfills infant's total requirement during the first the first 6 months of life. Unlike formula milk, breastmilk is easily digestible and it is also immediately and readily available at the right temperature. There does not arise the problems of overdilution or overconcentration both of which are hazardous to the infant's wellbeing. When combined with appropriate weaning foods, breastmilk remains an invaluable source of nourishment throughout the second year of life, preventing malnutrition by allowing a child to develop fully on the family diet. 

Breastfeeding prevents diarrhoea 
Infants up to 2 months are at least twice as likely to have diarrhoea when they are not breastfed , and their chances of dying from its effects increase by up to 25 times. The World Health Organisation ( WHO ) ranks breastfeeding as FIRST among measures to prevent diarrhoea among infants. 

Breastfeeding is a baby�s first immunisation 
Born into a world teeming wih germs and infection, a newborn's strongest defence is the protection found in colostrum, the milk produced at the start of nursing. Unfortunately some culture and belief equate this first milk with pus and it is discarded and the infant is thus deprived of the most potent of defence against the unfriendly germ. Breastmilk and especially colostrum is rich with antibodies and live cells that protect infants from bacterial and viral pathogens. 

Breastfeeding protects against allergies 
Many allergic syndromes have been associated with bottle-feeding, namely abdominal colic, vomiting, diarrhoeal or bloody stools, failure to absorb feeds,eczema, asthma and rhinitis. Although breastfeeding is not a panacea against allergic diseases, they appear to be much less frequent in infants who are exclusively breastfed. 

Breastfeeding decreases morbidity 
Diseases of the respiratory tract is the most common cause for clinical consultation and hospital admissions. An excess of respiratory infections, 5 fold increase, is seen in bottlefed babies. Hospitalisation from respiratory infection eg. wheezing, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, otitis media is also more frequent in bottlefed infants. When respiratory infection develop in breastfed infants, the illnesses are likely to be less severe. 

Breastfeeding promotes long term health 
One of the most interesting developments is the consistent association between bottle feeding and immune system disorders. Bottle feeding accelerates the development of coeliac disease and it is a risk factor for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in adulthood all of which are unpleasant and serious ailments of the gut.Investigators have shown that bottle feeding is a risk factor for the development of Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus and Lymphomas. These observations are only preliminary but they have opened up an interesting and complex field for investigation. 

Breastfeeding promotes intelligence 
Two recent studies from Cambridge, England and Flinders, Australia have shown that breastfed babies have an advantage of 7-10 I.Q. [ Intelligence Quotient ] points. And recent studies from Holland have shown that breastmilk contains Docosahexanoic Acid and Arachidonic Acid [ a form of long chain Fatty Acids NOT found in artificial feeds ] which are very essential for the development of the central nervous system. 

Now, isn't that giving baby your best? 



WHY IT'S BEST FOR YOU AND ENVIRONMENT? 
Breast feeding is marvellous for you too, mother. Here's why. 

Benefits to the Mother and the Environment 
Breastfeeding helps family planning and helps protect women's lives 

Exclusive breastfeeding prevents pregnancy, offering 98% protection during the first 6 months [ while no periods is present ] and substantial protection for the next 6 months. In parts of the developing world, breastfeeding accounts for the prevention of more unplanned pregnancies than all other methods of family planning combined. 

By helping to space births, breastfeeding protects the lives of mothers whose well being is effected by pregnancies that occur too often or too close together. 

Breastfeeding reduces risk to cancer 
Recent research has shown that breastfeeding substantially reduce a woman's risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The former is the most common cause of deaths from cancer in women. 

Breastfeeding enhances early return to normality Immediately following delivery, breastfeeding causes early contraction of the uterus thus preventing blood loss and decreases the chance of death from after birth bleeding and anaemia. It also helps the mother to return to her original figure in a much shorter time. 

Breastfeeding saves money 
It is of the most cost effective child health survival measures. Breastfeeding is an economic plus for families , hospitals, communities and nations. The cost of bottle feeding for families in developing countries can represent from to 2 the average annual minimum wage. National economies lose money as well by spending hundred and millions of dollars in precious exchange to import breastmilk substitutes. 

Breastfeeding and the environment 
Environments are strained when plentiful natural resources - such as the water for mixing formula and cleaning bottles and the energy for sterilising and storing it's are wasted. 

Breastfeeding bonds mother and child 
During the act of breastfeeding, a mother's smell, feel and visual image are imprinted on an infant while the baby's are imprinted on the mother- a process called BONDING that will have a lifelong positive effect on the relationship between mother and child. 

That's a lot of goodness for you!

 











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