Breast Feeding SupportBreastfeeding - A Complete Guide

Breastfeeding is the only optimal suggestion for a child’s development, immunity, and health. The mammary glands inside the breasts will produce milk during pregnancy and after delivery. This process is called lactation.

The process of directly feeding a baby from the breast by sucking is called Breastfeeding or Nursing. It will enhance the emotional connectivity between a mother and baby. You can also pump the milk and store it in a bottle for later feeding.

Composition of breast milk

Factors like age or diet would not affect the composition of milk. Studies have shown that breast milk has all the essential nutrients for a newborn to mid-year child. The average energy yield is 60 to 75 kcal per 100 ml.

Water: Breast milk consists of 87% water.

Fat: The mother’s milk has essential fatty acids, which produce energy. The fat content is about 3–5% of the total nutrients.

Carbohydrates: The carbohydrate source in breast milk is lactose. Lactose content accounts for about 6.9–7.2% of total nutrients.

Proteins:

  • Early lactation: 1.4 to 1.6 g/100 ml
  • 3 to 6 months of lactation: 0.7 to 0.8 ml
  • After six months: 0.7 to 0.8 g/100 ml

Minerals: Mother's milk has minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, chlorine, iron, zinc, and copper in various amounts. A mother should include more iron in her diet for her baby too.

Vitamins: Except for K and D, mother’s milk has all the vitamins.

Hormones inducing the production of breast milk

  • Oxytocin: Secreted by the hypothalamus (a part of the brain) and released into the blood by the pituitary gland.
  • Prolactin: Secreted in the pituitary gland during pregnancy. 

How milk is produced

The breast starts developing a milk line in the 6th week of pregnancy. It boosts the mammary glands' ability to produce milk. At the end of pregnancy, the lumen will store the breast milk that has been developed. When the baby starts sucking the breast, the brain will order the respective hormones to release the milk. With the help of the hormones prolactin and oxytocin, alveoli in the breast will discharge milk through the tiny holes in the nipple. 

Stages of breast milk

Clinical science classifies human breast milk into three different stages.

Colostrum

  • Colostrum is the first stage of milk.
  • Colostrum milk is secreted in the first week after delivery.
  • It is creamy yellow.
  • It is thick in consistency.
  • It has rich nutrients like vitamins, minerals, proteins, and immunoglobins.
  • The passive immunity acquired from immunoglobins protects a baby from many diseases.

Transition milk

  • It is available later colostrum and lasts for about 2 to 4 weeks.
  • It relatively has high fats, lactose and vitamins than colostrums.

Mature Milk

  • Mature milk is obtained in the last phase of nursing.
  • Mature milk is obtained in the last phase of nursing.
  • It has 10% of nutrients and 90% of water.
  • The water content keeps the baby hydrated.
  • The nutrients provide weight gain and health.
  • Mature milk has two types.

Fore milk – Available in first the beginning of feeding

Hind milk – It is available after Fore milk and is rich in nutrients

Positions for breastfeeding

In several cases, feeding breast milk through a bottle is also advised. However, direct breastfeeding is an ancient practice that has long-term benefits.

While nursing, positions are also important. The latch should be free of pain for both the baby and the mother. You should ensure that your child's mouth covers the majority area of the nipple. The most preferred feeding positions are:

  1. Cradle hold cross
  2. Cradle hold football hold
  3. Side-lying position

Benefits of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding benefits both the mother and baby in many different ways. Researchers say that breastfed children are less likely to be affected by dental problems and allergies.

It gives the baby good brain development, strong skeletal growth, and muscle building, and also increases IQ. It also protects that child from many illnesses, such as:

  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Common cold
  • Viral diseases
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Childhood cancers

Breastfeeding helps mothers get relief from:

  • Hypertension
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovary cancer
  • Weight Loss
  • Hormonal imbalance

When to see a doctor?

Many women are associated with back pain, chest pain, and tiredness during breastfeeding. It may be due to hormonal imbalance or an imbalanced diet. In such cases, physicians will recommend you take a proper diet specifically for your body or medicines if needed. If you are experiencing discomfort, itchiness, or swelling in your breast, you should visit the nearby primary health centres or hospitals.

From traditional to modern science, breast milk is the only prescribed food for the baby till six months. It has all the necessary nutrients and antibodies for a newborn. There are many myths still roaming around breastfeeding. Every would-be parent must attend childcare awareness programmes organised by the government and NGOs.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Hyderabad - Jubilee Hills. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How long should a mother breastfeed?

A mother should give only breast milk to her baby for six months. But for two years, you can breastfeed along with other supplements.

2. What foods should a mother avoid during breastfeeding?

There are no specified foods to avoid during breastfeeding. However, preserved foods, alcohol, and cigarettes must be restricted as much as possible for a nursing mother.

3. What is the procedure for storing breast milk?

When a mother cannot breastfeed directly, they can take the milk from the breast by hand expression or an electric breast pump for a bottle. You can store the milk for a week in the refrigerator.

4. What are the common myths about breastfeeding?

1. Gaps are needed between each feeding to refill the breasts with milk.
2. Colostrum milk is bad for health as it is high in fat.
3. Frequent feeding reduces the quality of milk.
4. Nipples should be frequently washed for hygiene. The bacteria in the nipple are good for the baby’s immunity.
5. A mother should not eat spicy food.

5. What is weaning?

After six months from birth, breast milk is not sufficient for infants. The process of adding other supplements along with breast milk is called weaning.

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