The importance of breastfeeding for New-born and the mother
Breast milk from the mother is known to be the sole source of nutrition for newborn babies for up to 6 months of their young lives. It accelerates the baby's development both physically and mentally. Not just that, it is beneficial to the health of the mother as well.
Breastmilk is liquid gold. It changes according to the needs of your baby—how amazing is that? It is a steady and natural source of vitamins and minerals. It is vital for your child’s long-term health as it contains antibodies that prevent a plethora of potential health issues.
We're here to offer an abundance of breastfeeding-related information and guidance. The best course of action is to speak with your midwife or health visitor about any worries or concerns you may have about breastfeeding.
What are the stages of breastfeeding?
Breast milk is made up of protein, fat, carbohydrates, water, enzymes, vitamins, and most importantly, hormones. The composition of the milk changes according to the changing needs of the child.
Typically, breast milk progresses through the following stages:
Colostrum – The colostrum is created by the mother’s body towards the end of her pregnancy. Even though the quantity of colostrum produced is very less, it contains all the nutrients that the baby needs in the initial stage of its life. It is very high in white blood cells and antibodies to prevent infections and help with digestion as well.
Transitional Milk - Almost three to five days after she gives birth, the transitional milk is produced by the mother’s body. It is a combination of colostrum and mature milk. It has higher levels of lactose, fat, vitamins, and proteins. It has a creamy texture.
Mature Milk - The mother’s body produces mature milk, 90% of which is water, in a few weeks. The composition of the mature milk can change day to day depending upon the nutrients that the mother is taking in. It is higher in carbohydrates but lower in protein.
Signs that your baby is hungry
- Your baby might be hungry if he/she
- Clenches their hands.
- Turns their heads towards the breast or the bottle when you’re holding them.
- Puckers or licks lips.
- Puts their hands in their mouths.
- Opening or closing their mouth.
- Makes sucking motions with their mouth, indicating that they want to be fed.
- Keeps staring at you.
- Drools more and sticks out his tongue.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the new-born
Here are some benefits of breastmilk for your newborn.
Breastmilk contains antibodies that are essential for your baby to ward off any infection. Colostrum is the most important source of this. Nowadays, the colostrum is pumped and stored for use in the event of any infection. This is called live immunity and is transferred from the mother to the child.
Healthy weight of the baby
It is the source of healthy weight gain for the baby. Breastmilk produces healthy gut bacteria, because of which studies have proven that breastfeeding for more than 5 months significantly reduces the chances of obesity.
As breastfed babies regulate their milk intake, they also tend to develop healthy eating patterns.
Reduces risk of diseases
Breastfeeding your child significantly reduces the risk of a number of diseases and infections, such as
- Colds and fevers
- Ear infections
- Allergic reactions
- Respiratory infections
- Bowel issues
- Diabetes and even
The supreme source of nutrition
It’s not known as liquid gold for nothing. It contains everything that a baby would need for the initial months of its life. As mentioned above, the composition of the milk changes according to the needs of the baby, and so do the nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, lactose, vitamins, and the like.
Make your baby smarter.
Studies have shown that breastfed babies tend to be smarter than formula-fed babies. They are less likely to develop behavioral and psychological problems. These babies do not have many learning difficulties. It has positive effects on the brain development of babies.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother
Here are some benefits of breastfeeding for you—mental and physical.
Lowers risk of cancer
Breastfeeding her newborn helps the mother lower the risk of not just a few types of cancer but also diabetes and high blood pressure as well. Not just that – it can even prevent heart disease in cases where there is a family history of the disease.
It helps the uterus shrink back to its original size.
When you nurse your baby, your body produces a hormone called oxytocin, which helps your uterus contract and go back to its original size. This significantly reduces the blood loss post pregnancy. Studies have shown that the uterus of mothers who breastfeed shrinks back in six weeks as compared to mothers that do not choose to, which takes up to ten weeks postpartum.
Natural Birth Control
Although not as legit as other forms of birth control, breastfeeding periodically can postpone ovulation. This is only applicable during the first six months postpartum. You must breastfeed your child at least every four hours to hasten your ovulation.
Breastfeeding is free. It doesn’t cost you anything – money-wise atleast. Even if you choose to purchase breast pumps, it is still much less than what it will cost you to have a continuous supply of formula. It can be done anytime and anywhere. As long as the mother is healthy and the baby wants to feed, breastfeeding is the most economical option when compared to formula.
It helps you lose weight.
Breastfeeding is the foolproof way to lose all that pregnancy weight gain. It effectively burns calories. Within three months of breastfeeding, you are likely to burn fat more than mothers that do not breastfeed. This might, however, not be the case with all mothers.
Breast milk is the best start that you could possibly give your child. It is not an easy journey. Some mothers may not be able to produce enough to satiate their children. Some may produce excessive milk, for which they might need absorbent breast pads to keep from leaking.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed your newborn is your personal decision. We at 1st Step have all the products that you might need on this new journey of yours. Remember, as a mother, there is no right or wrong way. You simply know what to do.
1. When should a mother avoid breastfeeding?
Mother’s should avoid breastfeeding when they are on medications. Always talk to your doctor about the implication that the medication could have for your child.
2. How long should you breastfeed?
Mothers can breastfeed their newborns exclusively for upto six months and in moderation with other food items till they are about 12 months.
3. Are breastfed babies healthier?
Breastfeeding can help protect babies against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are also less likely to have ear infections and stomach bugs.
4. Does breastfeeding act like birth control?
When you do it perfectly, the LAM birth control method can be about as effective as hormonal contraceptives (like the pill). About 2 out of 100 people who use breastfeeding as birth control get pregnant in the 6 months it can be used after a baby is born.
5. What happens when you stop breastfeeding?
Stopping breastfeeding suddenly could put you at risk of engorgement, blocked ducts or mastitis, as well as being an abrupt change for your baby's digestive and immune systems to cope with. It may also be difficult for you both, emotionally.