All babies thrives on mother’s milk till 6 months of age since it is nature’s ideal way of nourishing the baby. In india, breastfeeding is customary and hence most women need not be told to breastfeed their babies. However you need to advise many women to feed their babies colostrum, which is the thick yellowish milk that is secreted in the first three to four days after delivery. Colostrum is a rich source of nutrients and also protects the infant against many diseases. In some communities colostrum is discarded which should be discouraged. Breast milk is the best choice of food for infants because its have many more benifits.
6 important Benifits of Breastfeeding :
- Adequate to meet the nutritional needs of the infants.
- Easily digested and the nutrients from it are more easily absorbed.
- Rich in substance which protect the baby from many infectious diseases.
- The milk supply automatically adjust to the baby’s needs.
- It protects the infants against allergy during its most vulnerable period.
- It is economical, convenient and very clean.
Tips for breastfeeding :
- Put the baby to the breast within an hour of birth.
- Let the baby be fed on demand, I.e. whenever it wants.
- Encourage cleanliness.
- Encourage exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months of age. Do not use any prelacteal feeds.
- Breast feed as long as possible.
- If the infant is too weak, expel milk from the breast and feed it with a cup/katori or spoon.
- Calm and quite atmosphere favours maximal milk secretion.
- Continue breastfeeding during episodes of diarrhoea.
- Use oral dehydration solution to prevent and correct dehydration.
- Raw and cooked fruits vegetables, whole grains and adequate amount of water should be included to avoid constipation.
- No food should be withheld from the mother unless it cause distress to the infants.
- The dietary intake of caffeine, artificial sweeteners and alcohol must be totally avoided.
Breast Milk Substitute:
What is breast milk substitute ? Sometime it is not possible to provide breast milk to an infants as for example when the mother has some illness or due to other problems. In such cases you have to substitute the breast milk with other milk and have to copy nature as closely as possible. Usually you feed cow’ s or buffalo’ milk as a substitute. Click to read about pregnancy problem and solution.
However, cow’s and buffalo’s milk differ from human milk and have no anti-infective properties. Usually milk is diluted with water to make it easily digestible. However, this decrease the amount of energy available from the milk ; consequently you must add sugar to ensure that the baby will get enough energy. Whenever you use cow’s or buffalo’s milk, boil it first to kill all harmful bacteria. Dilute the milk with boiled and cooled water when necessary.
Cleanliness is extremely essential while preparing the milk. The following precautions should help to ensure protection of the infants from infection:
- If any milk is leftover in the bottle after a feed, do not leave it as it is. Use it in some family food preparation.
- Wash all bottles, nipples, spoons, cups etc. with soap and water.
- Sterilise all the bottles, nipples, etc. by immersing them in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Boil milk after dilution.