Frequently Asked Questions About Breastfeeding…Must Read!

breastfeeding
Image Credit: shanghaimamas.org

In case you are not aware, world breastfeeding week is August 1-7 every year.

We bring you extract from WHO Breastfeeding Fact File. I strongly recommend it for every woman (you definitely need the info) and men that understand the power of knowledge.

  1. HOW LONG SHOULD I BREASTFEED MY BABY?

WHO recommends EXCLUSIVE breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, solid foods, such as mashed fruits and vegetables, should be introduced to complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more.

This Should Be Primary

However, note that the composition of human milk changes to meet the changing needs of baby as he matures. Even when a baby is able to take solids, human milk is the primary source of nutrition during the first year. It becomes a supplement to solids during the second year. In addition, it takes between two and six years for a child’s immune system to fully mature. Human milk continues to complement and boost the immune system for as long as it is offered.

In addition, breastfeeding should begin within one hour of birth. Breastfeeding should be “on demand”, as often as the child wants day and night; and bottles or pacifiers should be avoided (motherhood is no joke, yea right! But you will agree with me that it is worth it)

  1. WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS?

Breast-milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, the two primary causes of child mortality worldwide.

Breast milk is readily available and affordable, which helps to ensure that infants get adequate nutrition (keywords: Available and Affordable).

  1. IS IT TRUE THAT MOTHERS ALSO BENEFIT FROM BREASTFEEDING?

YES! Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control (98% protection in the first six months after birth). It also reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression.

  1. WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM BENEFITS?

Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adolescents and adults who were breastfed as babies are less likely to be overweight or obese. They are less likely to have type-II diabetes and perform better in intelligence tests (the making of the genius starts from day one).

  1. WHY NOT INFANT FORMULA?

Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk. The long-term benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and children cannot be replicated with infant formula. When infant formula is not properly prepared, there are risks arising from the use of unsafe water and unsterilized equipment or the potential presence of bacteria in powdered formula. Malnutrition can result from over-diluting formula to “stretch” supplies. While frequent feeding maintains breast milk supply, if formula is used but becomes unavailable, a return to breastfeeding may not be an option due to diminished breast milk production.

All hail the all-time champion “Breastfeeding”!!!!!!!

  1. I AM HIV POSITIVE, CAN I BREASTFEED MY BABY?

An HIV-infected mother can pass the infection to her infant during pregnancy, delivery and through breastfeeding. However, antiretroviral (ARV) drugs given to either the mother or HIV-exposed infant reduces the risk of transmission. Together, breastfeeding and ARVs have the potential to significantly improve infants’ chances of surviving while remaining HIV uninfected. WHO recommends that when HIV-infected mothers breastfeed, they should receive ARVs.

  1. I AM CONFUSED ON THIS BREASTFEEDING THING, HOW DO I START? HELP PLEASE!

Breastfeeding has to be learned and many women encounter difficulties at the beginning. Many routine practices, such as separation of mother and baby, use of newborn nurseries, and supplementation with infant formula, actually make it harder for mothers and babies to breastfeed (explains why some babies reject mummy’s breast).

Health facilities that support breastfeeding by avoiding these practices and making nurses/trained breastfeeding counsellors available to new mothers encourage higher rates of the practice. Kindly seek for guidance from the more experienced folks.

  1. I DON’T HAVE TIME TO BREASTFEED BECAUSE OF WORK, CAN I JUST STOP?

Truly many mothers who return to work abandon breastfeeding partially or completely because they do not have sufficient time, or a place to breastfeed, express and store their milk.

Weaning your baby too early because of work is not a good one, rather we advise you utilize other options such as part-time work arrangements, on-site crèches, facilities for expressing and storing breast milk, and breastfeeding breaks. The sacrifice is definitely worth it.

  1. MUST I ALWAYS USE BOTH BREASTS AT EACH FEEDING?

It is more important to let baby finish the first breast, even if that means that he doesn’t take the second breast at the same feeding. Hindmilk is accessed gradually as the breast is drained. Some babies, if switched prematurely to the second breast, may fill up on the lower-calorie foremilk from both breasts rather than obtaining the normal balance of foremilk and hindmilk, resulting in infant dissatisfaction and poor weight gain. In the early weeks, many mothers offer both breasts at each feeding to help establish the milk supply

 

Reference:

WHO Fact File. http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/breastfeeding/facts/en/index8.html

Accessed 05/08/16

 

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