Breastfeeding benefits both the mother and the baby. It is important to breastfeed your baby as long as possible (1 year or even longer). Although 1 year is recommended, some women choose to breastfeed for six months.
Breast milk is recognized as the best source of nutrition for babies. Compare to formula milk, breast milk is higher in protein, chloride, calcium, sodium, iron, and nitrogen. Human milk provides all the protein, sugar, fat, vitamins, and specials benefits that babies need to be healthy.
Because human milk contains protective substances that are not found in formula milk, these protective substances help to protect babies against certain diseases and infections.
Also, no babies are allergic to the milk produce by their mother. Sometimes, babies do react to something the mother eats. This problem could be eliminated if the mother removes those particular foods from her diets. For example, smoking can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, breast-feeding mothers should not smoke.
How is Breast Milk Produced?
During pregnancy, the pregnant woman’s body increases the production of a hormone called prolactin that stimulates breast cells to increase breast milk production. When she starts feeding the baby, the amount of prolactin her body produces also increases.
It is worth noting that breast size does not control the amount of milk produced. The baby nursing controls the production of milk. The more a mother feeds, the more milk her body will produce.
Breastfeeding Benefits Babies in the Following Ways:
- Breast milk is naturally designed for babies. A Breastfed infant tends to have a lower rate of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, allergies, and rashes than formula-fed babies.
- It is easier to absorb and digest.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies to fight infections.
- Breast milk doesn’t need to be prepared and is always available at the right temperature.
- It is hard to get milk out of a breast than a bottle; babies have to work harder at sucking at the breast, which promotes good jaw development.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to have ear infections, allergies, diarrhea, vomiting, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and meningitis.
- The Closeness that creates a bond between the mother and your baby.
Breastfeeding also Benefit the Mother:
- Breastfeeding burns more calories, which will help you to get your pre-pregnancy weight back more quickly.
- Helps the uterus to contract to its regular size more quickly.
- Reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Builds bone strength to protect against older age bone fractures.
- Delay the return on the menstrual period (may help to extends the time frame between pregnancies)
- In early weeks, your nipple may become sore or cracked.
- When your breast is full of milk, it may become hard and painful.
- Changing lifestyle – you must wear clothing that allows you to nurse everywhere and changing your diets to avoid foods that may irritate your baby
How Long to Breastfeed?
Keeping in mind that some breast milk is better than none at all.
It may be difficult to breastfeed when your baby’s teeth start to come. Expressing breast milk to give to your baby can solve this. Breast milk can be efficiently and effectively expressed using a breast pump.
Breast Pump & Breast Milk Storage
Usually around six weeks after you started breastfeeding or if you’re not comfortable with feeding your baby in public, you should consider expressing breast milk to give to your baby by bottle.
Expressing breast milk to give to your baby provides your partner with an opportunity to feed the baby and giving you some free time. It also helps in getting your baby used to take the bottle.
Expressing Breast Milk Using Breast Pump
Breast milk could be expressed by hand but it is more efficient using a breast pump. Pumping breast milk will keep your milk production stimulated. Once breast milk is not emptied regularly, this will send a signal to your body to stop producing milk.
Using a breast pump to expressed milk is easier and faster than expressing breast milk manually. Breast pumps are divided into three categories:
- Manually operated breast pump.
- Batteries operated breast pump.
- Electric operated breast pump
Electric pumps are easier to use and more effective than hand pumps. It also stimulates breast milk more effectively, but it is more expensive than hand pumps.
Regardless of the types of breast pumps you choose, when purchasing a breast pump makes sure that all parts of the pump that will contact the skin or milk can be removed and clean. A breast pump that is not cleaned properly may result in milk contamination.
Breast Milk Storage
Expressed breast milk can be kept in the fridge up to 24 to 48 hours (depending on the temperature of the fridge) without losing much nutritional value. It can also be stored in a freezer for up to 4 months.
When storing breast milk, be sure to put the date to indicate when the milk was expressed.
Also, expressing breast milk to give to your baby provides your partner with an opportunity to feed the baby and giving you some free time as well as getting your baby used to take the bottle.
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I am experienced health professional (B.Sc. Nursing, P.GD Nursing). I am passionate to provide valuable information about Maternal and child Health. My goal is to provide the right and trustworthy information about pregnancy and baby care.