Breastfeeding:Uses by adapting the right methods
Breast feeding is beneficial for the health of both mother and child.All mothers can feed their babies except a few women who are unable to nurse due to some health problems like TB or HIV when there is actual risk of disease transmission to the baby through milk.Breast feeding canbe started after delivery as soon as both mother and baby are stable.
- Breast milk protects the baby against gastrointestinal and upper respiratory problems e.g common cold,croup.
- Allergic diseases are less common among breast fed babies.
- A relationship between mother and baby develops through breast feeding that gives the baby security and satisfaction.
- Breast feeding helps women lose weight after delivery,and reduces the risk of breast cancer.
- Several attempts has been made to prepare a formula that has similar composition as of breast milk but there is no such composition as nutriotinally beneficial as the human milk.
There is no scheduled time for breasfeeding as the baby shouldbe fed when he demands or show hunger signs.Generally,a newborn baby needs feeding every 2-3 hours in daytime with longer intervals of 4-5 hours at night.It means a newborn infant nurses atleast 8-10times a day.However,this nursing frequency does not show presence of inadequate lactation.
All breastfeeding moms should notice stooling pattern of breast fed babies.If a baby doesn't pass several stools a day during early weeks of brestfeeding,it simply suggests inadequate milk intake and supply.In neonates a loose stool is often passed with each feeding.Later,at at the age of 3-4 months,there maybe an interval of several days between stools.
Effect of medicines:
All medicines should be used with great care only on doctors advice during nursing period.Some drugs are secreted through breast milk that may cause harm to the baby.Here are a few all time no medicines that are contraindicated for a breastfeeding female to take. Diazepam,Tetracycline,Lithium,Chloramphenicol,Antimetabolites,Antithyroid drugs and Radioactive compounds.
The composition of brest milk is highly nutritious that changes with the time as a newborn baby grows.Breast milk carries proteins,carbs,fats,all types of vitamins,folic acid,linolic acid,pantothenicacid,iron,iodine,calcium,phosphorus,magnesium.sodium, potssium,chloride,copper,zinc,manganese,riboflavin,thiamin,niacin,biotin,inositol and choline.
Weaning or stopping brest feeding:
WHO recommends that solid food should be given to normal infants at about 6months of age along breastfeeding.Enriched cereals,fruits,vegetables and meats should complement the breast milk.This food order isn't very critical but a single ingredient complement food is given at a time at weekly intervals before a new food is given.
Ideally,breast feeding should remain continuous for atleast 12 months and thereafter as long as mutually desired.Non-breast-fed-infants should receive standard iron-fortified infant formula.Whole cow milk canbe given after the first year of life.
Breast feeding techniques:
Proper breast feeding techniques and correct positioning ensure effective nipple stimulation and breast emptying with minimal nipple discomfort.
- The mother should let the baby lick and mouth the nipple initally that makes it more erect for easy suckling.
- When the baby opens the mouth for suckling,the mother should insert as much nipple and areola(pigmented area around the nipple) as much possible.
- An appropriate feeding duration on the first day is 5min per breast at each feeding,on the second day it is 10min on each side at each feeding.And thereafter, 15min per side approx.
- A healthy baby takes 5-7min to get available milk but additional suckling time ensures breast emptying and promotes milk production.
- For feeding while sitting,the mother should raise the baby to the height of the breast,hold the baby tight at her side with their abdomens touching.The breast should be supported by the lower fingers of free hand with the nipple compressed between the thumb and index finger to make it more protactile.
- The mother should break sucktion by inserting her finger between the babys gums after nursing.
- The side on which feeding is started shouldbe changed.Nurse from both breasts.
Expressing milk and electric breast pumps:
Expressing milk is a technique of removing milk from the breasts.It maybe needed if the breasts are overfull i.e breast engorgement.Milk can be expressed by hand or with a breast pump. Modern electric breast pumps are very effective in expressing milk.Breast pump maybe required for expressing milk: When the baby cann't suck properly,or premature infant who is unable to feed at the breast,or the baby is hospitalized,or in the absence of mother when she returns to work.
Common problems of breast feeding:
- Some breast fed infants fail to thrive because of poorly managed mammary engorgement that decreases milk production fastly.Unrelieved mammary engorgement canbe a result of mothers ignorrannce of proper techniques and inappropriate feeding routines e.g long intervals between feeding,improper infant suckling,sore nipples,nursing from only one breast etc.
- Nipple tenderness is another problem caused by improper positioning of the baby and incorrect latch-on.Use of lanolin cream and air drying the nipples after nursing may help.
- Severe nipple pain usually results from improper baby attachment.Temporary breast pumping maybe needed.
- Mastitis is also a commonly occuring problem.Affected breast becomes tender,firm and erythematic.Breastfeeding shouldnot be stopped,it could worse the problem.Antibiotics maybe helpul in relieving mastitis.
- Breast feeding jaundice affects the baby in the first week of life usually.Its linked with inadequate intake of breast milk,infrequent stooling and unsatisfactory weight gain.It canbe managed by increasing the frequency of nursing and augmenting the babys suckling with regular breast pumps.