Breastfeeding, commonly known as nursing, is the process of feeding the mother’s breast milk to her infants or newborn baby. It is the first step towards the healthy living of the newborn and should often begin approximately in the first hour of the newborn’s life, and it is often advisable to continue to breastfeed the baby up to 6 months. And, the mother can also continue to breastfeed her baby even after 6 months, with appropriate complementary food, up to two years of the baby’s age. Breastfeeding forms the initial step towards saving the newborn’s life and improving the infant’s health with rapid development. So, if you are wondering how breastfeeding is crucial for a newborn, think no further. Keep reading to learn the significance of breastfeeding for an infant.
Why Breast Milk Is Important For A Newborn Baby?
- Abundant in Proteins & Nutrients: Breast milk is rich in complex proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other biologically active components with provide growth benefits to the infant and promote the overall development of the child in a long run.
- Provides Immunoglobins & boosts immunity: Breast milk provides Immunoglobulins which are nothing but crucial antibodies that fight against the disease; it can be considered as the newborn baby’s first vaccine. Thus, by breastfeeding your little one, bacteria, viruses, fungus, and parasites can be easily eradicated by increasing the immunity of the baby.
- Acts as a Good Source of Minerals: In addition to this, breast milk of the mother is a great source of minerals that keep the body and muscles of the child in a good functioning state.
- Offers Lactoferrin: Lactoferrin, a very important protein, is present in the breast milk. It helps in improving the digestive health, boosting the immunity of the infants, repairing and strengthening the body, and protecting the newborn from infections.
- Ensures hydration, lubrication, & maintains body temperature: Breast milk is majorly comprising of water. Due to its good water content, it serves as an important factor for hydration, promotes lubrication action within the body, and helps in maintaining the body temperature.
- Promotes secretion of growth hormones: Breast milk comprises regulators of the growth of the infant’s body and breastfeeding the baby stimulates endocrine hormones’ secretion. Thus, providing breast milk to a newborn is crucial for the growth factor and promotes the growth and overall development of the baby. Also, a mother’s breast milk is crucial for the good development of the gastrointestinal tract, brain, and immune system of the infant.
- Minimizes Further Metabolic Risks: Several medical studies reveal that the intake of breast milk by the newborn in the infant stage minimizes the risk of development of metabolic disease later in life. It reduces the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity later in life.
How is Colostrum Crucial for Every Newborn?
Colostrum is the superfood for the infants. Within a few minutes after the birth of the baby, sticky, yellow fluid is discharged from the mother’s breast. This is the first milk that is called colostrum. It is beneficial for all the infants, no matter whether the delivered baby is full-term or premature. Colostrum is highly loaded with immune and developmental factors.
Benefits of Colostrum, the Superfood:
- Colostrum builds a strong immune system, as it contains antibodies and white blood cells.
- It helps to pass meconium (the first stool).
- It prevents the occurrence of jaundice.
- Colostrum supplies the right amount of nutrients for growth.
- It creates a tough lining on your baby’s stomach & intestines, thereby preventing the attack of germs.
- It’s a source of high levels of protein, salts, fats, and vitamins.
- It is easy to digest.
Common Myths and Facts about Breastfeeding in India
Myth 1: Colostrum should not be given to children
Fact 1: As mentioned above, Colostrum is the superfood, which should never be missed. So, colostrum is highly beneficial for the newborn.
Myth 2: Avoid breastfeeding if the mother is ill
Fact 2: Breastfeeding should not be stopped, as it prevents the baby from infection. It should be stopped only if the infections affecting the mother include HIV, TB, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I or II, etc.
Myth 3: The amount of breastmilk depends upon the size of the breast during lactation.
Fact 3: The size of the breast has nothing to do with the production of breastmilk, as the breast’s size is determined by fatty and connective tissues which have no role in breastfeeding. The amount of breastmilk depends on how much the baby needs. A baby’s sucking increases the secretion of oxytocin and prolactin; thus, it increases the production of milk.
Myth 4: Avoid all medications during breastfeeding.
Fact 4: Not all, but only certain medications should be avoided which can easily pass through Breastmilk.
Myth 5: You should wash the nipple every time before breastfeeding.
Fact 5: Avoid washing as it makes the nipple area dry. Also, do not use any washing agents, such as soap to clean this part.
Myth 6: Baby needs additional water even after breastfeeding.
Facts 6: Breast milk is majorly made up of water. Around 80%-90% of breast milk is water content. So, the baby does not need additional water after receiving breast milk.
Myth 7: Breastfeeding mother should completely give up cold beverages and cold things, as it may affect the child.
Fact 7: It is perfectly okay to consume cold beverages. It won’t affect the baby, as viral infections do not get transmitted through breast milk.
Now that you know how breastmilk is essential and nutritious for a newborn, make sure you breastfeed your dear little one if you are expecting a baby or have an infant.