Breastfeeding Guide : Things a Mom Should Know
Motherhood is a beautiful experience, a feeling that drenches the soul in pure bliss, body, and mind. It’s an everlasting commitment surpassing all species. All that you are, and all that you can be, start with her. It’s the constant nurturing, each waking moment that sustains life for most. Breastfeeding serves as the first step in that lifetime of nurturing.
Breastmilk serves as both food and medicine for the child, tailor-made to meet his needs. Apart from giving an array of nutrients like protein, calcium, sugar, etc., it boosts immunity and consists of a significant hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone regulating a broad range of processes in the human body, including metabolic health and immune response. It’s a hormone that profoundly affects the development of babies.
Enumerated below is a detailed guide about breastmilk and why it is imperative for both the child and the mother-
What does breast milk constitute?
Along with vitamins, minerals, water, amino acids, digestive enzymes and hormones, breastmilk consists of an apt amount of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. It also has antibodies and lymphocytes from the mother to help baby fight infections.
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the first milk produced by a mother right after the birth of the child. Newborns have immature digestive systems, and colostrum delivers the required nutrients in a concentrated low-volume form. With its mild laxative effects, it helps the baby pass its first stool, and aids in preventing jaundice. Profoundly rich in nutrients, colostrum is the primary immunization of a baby and should be given right after childbirth.
WHO guidelines for breastfeeding
WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months of a child’s birth for his optimal growth. Post that, it should be continued for up to 2 years or beyond along with other nutritious complementary foods. However, it is recommended that mothers breastfeed for at least 2 years, by both WHO and UNICEF.
Infections that can be transmitted through breastfeeding-
- HIV infection
- Tuberculosis- Breastfeeding is safe after you have undergone treatment for at least 2 weeks, and are no longer contagious.
- Hepatitis B- Breastfeeding is safe. Your baby should be administered HBIG and hepatitis vaccine soon post-birth.
- Herpes Simplex- You can breastfeed as long as there are no lesions on the breast. However, pumped milk can be used with lesions too.
- CMV- The virus can transmit through the milk and might lead to health issues. It’s safe to consult a doctor first.
- Chicken Pox- If the infection is contracted during childbirth, direct contact should be avoided. However, expressed milk can be used. Post recovery, breastfeeding is safe.
Foods to ingest while breastfeeding as per recommended by Healthline
- Fish and seafood: Salmon, seaweed, shellfish, and sardines.
- Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, and organ meats, such as the liver.
- Fruits and vegetables: Berries, tomatoes, cabbage, kale, garlic, and broccoli.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds.
- Other foods: Eggs, oats, potatoes, quinoa, buckwheat, and dark chocolate.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers
- It helps to downsize your uterus to pre-pregnancy size.
- It curbs post-delivery bleeding.
- It helps reducing pregnancy weight while nursing the baby.
- It reduces the risk of postpartum depression and cancer of breasts and ovaries.
- It saves money, no alternative feeding.
- It can delay the resumption of menstruation.
Some tips to ease the process-
- Try to breastfeed within the first hour of birth. It will help your uterus contract and provide valuable colostrum.
- Stay hydrated to help your body produce milk. You might try sipping water while nursing.
- Nurse in a calm environment to help milk express. After a while, the process will become much spontaneous whenever the need is.
- Let breastfeeding establish itself for the baby before proceeding to other nipples, pacifiers, etc.
- Try to breastfeed 8-12 times a day. However, feeding should always be in demand.
- Stock yourself with inner wears of appropriate sizes, keeping in mind the requirements.
WHO/UNICEF guidelines to successful breastfeeding at workplaces
- Have a written breastfeeding policy, communicated to the staff, periodically.
- Train healthcare staff to help implement this.
- Raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding amongst all stakeholders.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them.
Workplaces should provide proper space and time for nursing mothers, to aid in their smooth return and avoid employee turnover. Truworth Wellness strives to make workplaces as woman-friendly as possible, for inclusive growth. After all, talent doesn’t have a gender.
Recommended : Pregnancy Care Program for Corporates