By Emmy Brenda
There are so many reasons to breastfeed:
- The joyful closeness and bonding with your baby
- The specific nutrition only you can provide
- The cost savings
- Health benefits for mother and baby
keep in mind that feeding your baby is a learned skill.
It takes patience and practice. For some women, learning to breastfeed can be frustrating and uncomfortable. It may also seem more difficult, especially if your baby was born early or you have certain health problems. The good news is that it will get easier, and support for breastfeeding mothers is available.
why breastfeeding is important
breastfeeding protects babies. your first milk is liquid gold.
Called liquid gold for its deep yellow colour, colostrum is the thick first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and includes antibodies to protect your baby from infections. Colostrum also helps your newborn infant’s digestive system to grow and function. Your baby gets only a small amount of colostrum at each feeding because the stomach of a newborn infant is tiny and can hold only a small amount
your milk changes as your baby grows.
Colostrum changes into mature milk by the third to fifth day after birth. This mature milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It looks thinner than colostrum, but it has the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for healthy growth.
formula is harder to digest.
For most babies, especially premature babies, breastmilk substitutes like formula are harder to digest than breastmilk. Formula is made from cow’s milk, and it often takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting it
breastmilk fights disease.
The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breastmilk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique and changes to meet your baby’s needs. Research suggests that breastfed babies have lower risks of
- Childhood leukaemia
- Childhood obesity
- Ear infections
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Lower respiratory infections
- Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm infants
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 2 diabetes
In some situations, formula-feeding can save lives. Very rarely, babies are born unable to tolerate animal milk of any kind. These babies must have an infant formula that is hypoallergenic, dairy free, or lactose free. A wide selection of specialty baby formulas now on the market include soy formula, hydrolyzed formula, lactose-free formula, and hypoallergenic formula. Speak with your doctor before you decide to feed your baby anything besides your breastmilk.
Your baby may need formula if you have certain health conditions that won’t allow you to breastfeed and you do not have access to donor breastmilk
Your baby can smell you and knows the unique scent of your breastmilk? This is why your baby will turn her head to you when she is hungry. Your baby is born with an instinct to suckle at your breasts.
Breastfeeding keeps mothers and baby close. Physical contact is important to newborns. It helps them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers also benefit from this closeness. The skin-to-skin contact boosts your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps breastmilk flow and can calm the mother
This year’s World Breastfeeding Week slogan is “Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding”.
The #WBW2019 slogan was chosen to be inclusive of all types of parents in today’s world. Focusing on supporting both parents to be empowered is vital in order to realise their breastfeeding goals.
Empowerment is a process that requires evidence-based unbiased information and support to create the enabling environment where mothers can breastfeed optimally. Breastfeeding is in the mother’s domain and when fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities support her, breastfeeding improves.
We can all support this process, as breastfeeding is a team effort. To enable breastfeeding we all need to protect, promote and support it.