Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: A lot of things have been said about breastfeeding – from mothers being asked to cover up or leave when feeding in public, to some feeling that women should be allowed to breastfeed in public.
Whatever the case may be, breast milk is the best gift a mother can give to her baby. Packed with nutrients and antibodies, it is also not just good for the baby, but for mother as well.
Although, breast milk is the best possible nutrition for the newborns, most breastfeeding mothers nowadays feel that crossing the six months mark is enough, which in fact is painful for the babies. Studies have shown how breastfeeding benefits both mother and the baby.
Breast milk contains antibodies that help the baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers the baby's risk of having asthma or allergies. Also, babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function.
Therefore, a mother should think twice before making the transition from breastfeeding to formula for the baby.
Moreover, it's important for mothers to know that for instance, babies can't digest cow's milk as easily as breast milk or formula. Cow's milk contains high levels of protein, sodium, potassium and does not provide enough vitamins, iron and essential fatty acids. This indicates that human milk is so special and incredible, providing ideal nutrition for infants as well as contains all necessary components for growth and development of the baby.
It is said that a newborn should be fed 8-12 times per day for the first few days or about a month. The feeding time may be shorter during this phase, but the amount although is small fits the baby's small stomach.
By the time your baby reaches 1 or 2 months of age, you'll probably need to breastfeed him/her 7-9 times a day.
Perhaps, if you are a working mom, you can still store your milk using a breast pump. But remember, there are some basic rules to follow – it's best to refrigerate pumped breast milk immediately, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says milk can be kept at room temperature for six to eight hours. Pumped breast milk can be stored in the back of the main part of the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
In case you want it to last for months, breast milk can also be frozen. If there's a freezer compartment with separate doors (0 degrees F), it can be stored for three to six months.
Breastfeeding your baby is no easy feat, but that doesn't mean you've to stop nursing your baby. It requires practice, patience in order to get the hang of it. Happy Breastfeeding!