All you need to know about breastfeeding- Part 1

Introduction to breastfeeding-

Breastfeeding is the most effective ways to ensure child health and also to reduce mortality and morbidity of infants. Moreover it is also useful in reducing conditions such obesity, diabetes and prevents breast and ovary cancer in women.

It is due to the lack of proper awareness about breast feeding in mothers,  lot of infants are not exclusively breastfed.

What is Exclusive Breast Feeding?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in Exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), an infant receives only breast milk for the first 6 months apart from drops or syrups consisting of vitamins, minerals, supplements, or medicines.

EBF is therefore an important public health strategy for improving children’s and mother’s health.  

Post the age of 6 months, Exclusive breastfeeding is no longer sufficient to meet all energy and nutrient needs by itself, and complementary foods should also be introduced as the baby Is now active and has doubled his/ her birth weight.

At 6 months of age,  The digestive system is mature enough to digest other foods thus making the baby developmentally ready for introduction of other foods. Also by between 6 and 9 months infants can receive semi-solid food in their mouths easily. Moreover, Breastfeeding should continue with complementary feeding up to 2 years or beyond.

Why Breast Feed?

There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding-

In infant-

  • Strong mother-child relationship,
  • Lowers the incidence of many childhood illnesses
  • Reduces malnutrition risk
  • prevents overweight and also obesity
  • Supports healthy brain development

In mother-

  • Decrease the frequency of hemorrhage (postpartum hemorrhage)
  • Reduces postpartum depression,
  • prevents risk of breast cancer, ovarian and also endometrial cancer
  • Facilitates weight loss
  • The lactation amenorrhea is important for family planning.

Properties of breast milk-

  • ideal food for infants
  • easily digested
  • immunological and also anti-inflammatory properties
  • provides nutrients that the infant needs

Breast feeding and exercise-

  • Prenatal classes help understand the health advantages of breastfeeding.
  • Since improper positioning of mother can strain neck, upper back and lower back, it is essential to incorporate ergonomics and ensure proper positioning.
  •  The back and forearm should be supported and not leaning forward.
  • Stretching of neck muscles and scapular muscles help relieve the strain.
  • Education about position of baby and mother is essential to prevent strains and aches.
  • Exercising helps in reducing stress and relieves pain arising out of improper postures.

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