Normal growth and healthy development of infants

Breast food is the most natural and perfect food for normal growth and healthy development of infants.

·         It provides the best nutrition and protects the infant from infections.

·         The infant can easily digest and absorb it as compared to formula milk.

·         Colostrum-the milk secreted during the first three days after child birth is rich in proteins, minerals, vitamins particularly Vitamin A and antibodies. It is a laxative too.

·         Breastfeeding helps to reduce fertility and facilitates spacing of children.

·         It makes an emotional bond between the mother and the infant.

·         An average Indian woman secretes 750ml of milk per day during the first 6 months and 600ml/day thereafter upto one year.

·         The quality of breast milk can be improved by supplementing mother’s diet with nutrients.

When to start breast feeding?

1.       Mother-infant contact should be made immediately after birth by permitting the infant to suck at the breast.

2.       It can start 30mins after delivery.

3.       Colostrum to be fed immediately after birth.

4.       Avoid feeding honey, glucose, water or dilute milk formula before lactation.

5.       Colostrum should not be discarded as is a practice.

6.       Breast feeding is more common among the rural and urban poor carrying on for a longer duration.

7.       The working mother tends to discontinue breast feeding early.

8.       A baby should be exclusively breast fed for 4-6 months and then introduce supplementary foods. Breast feeding can be done for upto 2 years.

9.       If the baby is quiet or sleeps for two hours and shows adequate weight gain ,feeding is adequate.

10.   Breastfed infants don’t need additional water.

In severe malnutrition the breast milk may be poor in both quality and quantity.

·         Fat is more affected.

·         Better diet quality can enhance concentration of water soluble vitamins like Vitamin A.

·         Vit A and B-complex supplements can increase the levels of these vitamins in breast milk.

·         Ca and Iron content can also be raised in breast milk.

·         Iron from breast milk is better absorbed.

Breast Milk protects against Infection

1.       Protects against diarrhoea and upper respiratory tract infections.

2.       Breast milk has bifid us factor ,  immunoglobulins,  lactoferrin etc which prevent various  infections.

3.       E-coli and some viruses protect the gut mucosa.

4.       Also offers protection from allergic reactions.

For an adequate Breast milk supply

It’s important that the mother is emotionally prepared and eats a well-balanced diet.

Avoid anxiety and emotional upset and ensure adequate rest.

Feed the child on demand.

Note-Care should be taken as drugs are secreted in the breast milk and could be harmful for the baby.

 

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