Breast Feeding and its importance to a child’s growth
Breastfeeding is the best gift a mother can give to her baby. It not only helps in building a strong emotional bond between the mother and her baby but also promotes a sound development of the baby along with recovery for the new mother.
According to WHO, breastfeeding is the normal approach of providing young infants with the nutrients required for a healthy growth and development. It recommends that mostly all healthy newborns are ready to breastfeed with in the first hour after birth.
However, breastfeeding is as much about emotions as it is about the physical transfer of breast milk from the mother to the baby. Sometimes, dealing with the added responsibilities, new moms experience stress that is severe and intense, and which can temporarily inhibit letdown. This is because physical and mental stress can slow the release of oxytocin into the bloodstream of a breastfeeding mother. Oxytocin, a hormone released into your bloodstream when you nurse, can have a calming effect. This means that a mom who’s stressed and breastfeeds her baby is likely to become more relaxed post feeding.
Some of the other known benefits of breastfeeding are as follows:
For the new mother:
- Comfortable and easy
- Helps in dissolving pregnancy fat
- Protection from uterine and ovarian cancer
- Natural contraceptive
- Enhances bonding between the new born and the mother
For the new born:
- Better immunity
- Higher IQ and better health
- Good dental formation
Usually, a lot of myths and misinformation about breastfeeding keep mothers from trying to feed their babies. Some of the myths are cultural, and some come from the family as a genetic transfer, especially, the notion of not making enough for the baby.
It is important for a mother and her family to understand that it’s normal to take a few days for a mother’s milk to come in. Promoting skin to skin contact immediately after birth triggers reflexes that help baby attach to mother’s breast. Also, optimal family support during the initial days plays an important role in establishing the nursing practice as it has a huge impact on the confidence and psyche of the new mother.
Instead of relying on the online content, seeking professional help from a certified lactation consultant before delivery and during the initial phase of breastfeeding will help a mother to be equipped with all the right information needed to tackle these tricky situations efficiently.
Dr. Rabia Kapur, Lactation Consultant, Fortis Mohali