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Exclusive Breast Feeding: Nature’s Most Under-utilized Gift (Part 2)

01-Aug-2014.By: Funmilola Sipe


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Like I said in my earlier post, one can never go wrong with nature. The same goes for breast milk which is the best and first natural food for babies. I hope mothers out there, especially working executives who think they are too busy to bless their child with this wonderful gift of nature are beginning to have a rethink; I also hope fathers who are reading this piece are going home to have a serious discussion with their wives.

Without wasting time, I will quickly share with us other benefits of breast-feeding.

Breastfed babies have less diarrhoea and vomiting. Breastfed babies are also more intelligent than formula-fed peers.

Beyond the aforementioned nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, there is also a biological and psychological value that resulted from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding enhances natural bonding between the mother and the child. Early skin contact is promoted from the moment of birth. Reports show that breast -fed babies have a closer interaction with their mothers which also reduces behavioural problems.

Additionally, breastfeeding helps regulate your baby’s blood sugars, breathing and heart rates. Breast-fed babies are less likely to be constipated. Breast-fed babies do not suffer from obesity or overweight as formula-fed babies.

To the mother who breastfeeds, there are also benefits to be enjoyed. Breastfeeding offers a symbiotic relationship between the mother and the child. Studies show that six months’ breastfeeding may lower the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) in later life. Also, health problems such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, postnatal depression etc. are less common in women who have breast-fed.

Breast-feeding makes it easier to lose weight after giving birth, by using up about 500 extra calories per day. It is also the most convenient method of feeding. It is always available, fresh and readily prepared. It is also cost-effective as it is free. Immediate breast-feeding few minutes after birth helps to expel the placenta reduces blood loss and prevents haemorrhage (big bleed).  Continuous breastfeeding after birth helps the uterus to shrink down in the days following birth.

Much as the breast milk is free from sterilization like the feeding bottles, teats, bowls and spoons etc, it is the responsibility of the mother to keep the breast clean at all times. The mother should use breast pads to avoid the milk from staining the under wears or clothes. The nipples should also be cleansed with lukewarm water to avoid the blocking of milk ducts which can result into mastitis (infection of the breast). The nipples should be well-moisturised for less pain immediately after birth. Pregnant women are advised to massage the nipples with olive oil during pregnancy.

A normal healthy balanced diet is advised for breast-feeding mothers. The body should be properly hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids including water. Vitamin D supplement is highly recommended to breast-feeding women and for breast-fed babies. Multivitamin supplements should be taken daily.

I know it can be challenging to do six months’ exclusive breast-feeding for women that work in corporate environment who are only given three months maternity leave as against one-year maternity leave in other developed countries. My advice which is in line with World Health Organization’s Baby-Friendly Initiative is to breast-feed your baby for two good years!!!

Last Updated: 13-Jul-2017 10:09 AM





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