Breastfeeding benefits to a baby with milk. In the last 12 weeks or so to pregnancy they secrete colostrum. When colostrum is first secreted, it is clear and colorless; later on, it becomes a yellow color.
The baby’s birth is the signal for the breasts to begin producing milk. Two or three days later it starts to flow. Breast milk tends to look watery and bluish at the beginning of a feed and creamy towards the end.
How many feeds a day?
Babies should be put to the breast regularly in the first few days. They will not get much food, but they will enjoy sucking.
Between the third and the sixth day, babies become much hungrier. And may want to be fed ten or twelve times a day (a day is 24 hours). This may be inconvenient for the mother, but it helps to establish a good supply of milk. Because the more the baby sucks the more the breasts are stimulated to produce milk.
After that, the baby soon settles down to a pattern of wanting to be fed about six times a day, with the intervals varying between three and five hours. Gradually, the interval between feeds in the night gets longer so that by the age of 3 months, the night feed is usually given up altogether.
Structure of the breasts
Each breast contains about twenty sections (lobes) in which milk is produced from milk glands. Each section has a duct that opens on the surface of the nipple. The milk, therefore, comes from about twenty tiny openings. The shady area around the nipple is called the areola.
The size of the breasts before pregnancy depends on the amount of fat tissue and not the number of milk-producing glands. So, women with naturally small breasts will be able to breast-feed just as well as those with larger breasts.
Advantages of Breastfeeding Benefits to Baby
- It is safe.
- It is easy – there are no bottles to sterilize, of feeds to mix and get to the right temperature.
- Breast milk never causes indigestion (unless the mother has been eating unwisely. e.g. eating an excessive amount of fruit or taking certain laxatives).
- Breast milk contains antibodies.
- The baby is less likely to become overweight.
- Baby is less likely to develop nappy rash.
- Your baby is less likely to develop eczema.
- It is cheaper.
- Breastfeeding benefits to a baby gives time for a bond of affection to develop between mother and baby.
- A mother who breast-feeds spends a long time each day in very close contact with her baby. This gives the opportunity for a close and loving relationship to develop between them which is very important for the future well-being of the child. In the first few months of life and especially when newborn, babies do not have very much resistance to infections such as coughs, colds, and diarrhea, They are likely to become iller at this are than when older, and complications are more likely to follow. Compared with bottle-fed babies, breastfed babies get fewer infections, are less prone to severe infections, and almost never get gastroenteritis.
Breastfeeding Benefits for the mother:
Besides giving the child a good start in life breastfeeding also benefits the mother. Her uterus will shrink back to a size more quickly. Her periods will take longer to return, so she is more relax and content for not being bothered by the irritable feelings often linked with menstruation. A mother who enjoys breastfeeding feels especially close to her baby.
How long should breastfeeding continue?
Many doctors advise mothers to try to breast-feed at least for the first two weeks and ideally for four to six months. In the latter case, the babies are then at the right age to be weaned gradually from breast milk to a mixture of other foods. As the amounts of nourishment form other foods increases, the need for breast milk decreases. Breastfeeds become fewer and smaller until either the supply of milk fails or the baby refuses to feed on the breast any more.
Some mothers continue to breast-feed for a year or longer, perhaps for only one feed a day with older babies. A baby who is fed entirely on milk beyond the age of about 6 months may find it difficult to take to new foods. If weaning (p.216) has not started before 9 to 10 months, there is a danger of anemia due to the shortage of iron in breast milk.
Reasons for not breastfeeding
A few mothers do not have enough milk to breast-feed and a few more are unable to breastfeed for medical reasons. But although nine out of ten mothers are able to breast-feed their babies, many choose to bottle-feed. Those who could breastfeed, but decide not to do so, give reasons which include.
“Breastfeeding will spoil my figure’-
The mothers fear that their breasts will enlarge and they will not regain their former figure
- Breastfeeding does not alter the shape of the breasts permanently and they should return to normal size by about six months after breastfeeding has ceased.
‘My baby may not get enough milk’
- The regular weighing of the baby will show whether the baby is getting enough milk.
‘I feel embarrassed about feeding my baby on the breast.
- It may help to overcome embarrassment to realize the breastfeeding is nature’s way to feed a baby.
A compromise would be for the mother to breast-feed for the first few weeks, and then change to bottle-feeding when she needs more freedom some mothers overcome the problem by using a breast pump to express their milk into a bottle. A baby-minder can then give the breast milk to the baby while the mother is at work.