Breast feeding is an art and a pleasure that every woman looks forward to doing.
Breast feeding is beneficial for the mother
• It is convenient
• It helps build a bond between the mother and the baby.
• Helps reduce weight
• Provides contraception when exclusive breast feeding is done in the first 6 months
• Decreases risk of certain cancers in the mother
• It releases a hormone called oxytocin that not only squeezes the breast but also squeezes the uterus so that it contracts and returns to its pre-pregnancy size. Breast milk is good for the baby.
There are some advantages such as
• The breast milk is easily available, at the correct temperature.
• The protein and the fat content of the breast milk is in appropriate concentrations for the baby and therefore is easy to digest as that compared to the cow’s milk or formula milk.
• Colostrum is the yellow watery pre-milk and it helps the newborn’s digestive system.
• It has antibodies that help the immune system of the baby fight infection and allergies.
• Breast fed babies have less chances of gas, constipation, diarrhea and allergies.
Whilst you are breast feeding it is advisable to have a healthy well balanced diet, drink plenty of water, take the supplements and avoid foods that can cause diarrhea / gas and distension in the baby.
It is important to look after the breast and the nipples. One should cleanse and wipe them dry after the feed. Keep the nipples well moisturized so that they do not crack. If a crack develops then one can use a nipple shield. It is easily available at the chemist. It is important to note that if the breast has a lump that persists, or it feels red hot tender to touch then one must report to the doctor.