Breastfeeding is the nursing and feeding of babies and young children with milk from the women’s breast. Breast-feeding, from the nutritional point of view is very important. It provides all the demanded requirements for a baby to grow healthy and sound. Breastfeeding is preferred over the formula feeding as it contains the absolute amounts of fats, proteins and other nutrients. It also decreases the risk of diarrhea and respiratory infections in the infants. It also play its role in the prevention of asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes and leukemia for child. In mothers, it prevents the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular diseases and arthritis. In this article, the discussion will be about the important aspects related to breast-feeding as the positions for lactation or latching and breast-milk or lactation.
When there are early days of pregnancy, the breasts are prepared for the lactation. Many hormonal changes occur that promotes this activity. Usually oxytocin is the hormone responsible for the milk ejection from the breast. When the breast is being prepared for lactation, it increases in size and there is also increased blood supply along with the enhanced pigmentation of areola and nipple. But the breast size is not related to the amount of milk that may be produced by the mother later on. Estrogen, progesterone and prolactin are usually responsible for milk production. The major benefit of the breast milk is that when a mother breast-fed her child with in one hour after birth with the colostrum milk, the oxytocin hormone contributes to decrease the postpartum depression by contracting the uterine muscles after delivery.
Breast-milk is usually produced from nutrients in the blood of the mother and the nutrient’s store. It is an ideal food for the growing child as optimal amounts of fats, proteins, water, vitamins and hormones are present in it. Breast-milk has long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that help normal retinal and neural development. Breast-feeding also accelerates the immunity against the infections for the infant with the help of enzymes, hormones, growth factors and immunological substances. Breast-milk is really the gift of the God. Its composition changes according to the child’s need. At first, when nursing is just started and the breast is full, it is more dilute and watery to fill the baby’s hunger concentrated in vitamins and hormones but at the end when the breast is just about to empty, the consistency of breast-milk changes and it becomes thick to fill the baby’s energy needs.
Colostrum is the very first mother milk that retains up to 30 to 40 hours after delivery is strictly recommended. It is easily digested instead of being thick and concentrated than mature milk.
Benefits of colostrum:
It has a laxative effect that helps the child to pass the feces easily and rapidly.
It also helps in the excretion of the bilirubin from the body that cause jaundice in infants.
It is rich in antigens IgA that develop immunity in the child and prevents against infections.
It is started to be produced by the third or fourth day after birth. The breasts produce foremilk, diluted milk containing many proteins and vitamins. And at the end, when baby keeps nursing hind milk is produced that is thick. It is creamier in color and contains more fat.
Latching on for breast-feeding:
Latching on is the placement of baby near the breasts to be fed easily with the more milk. Infants have the natural tendency to move toward breasts for feeding. They are also attracted toward the breasts through the sense of smell finding the nipple. The sebaceous glands in the areola produce scented oil and the infant is attracted to the odor of the secretion. In a good latch, a large portion of the areola and the nipple, is in the baby’s mouth. The nipple should be oriented towards the roof of the baby’s mouth.
If a baby is unable to suck, it may be suffering from the ankyloglossia in which the tongue is attached to the lower aw with some tissue band that prevents the suckling action. It can be corrected with some surgical procedure.
Positions for breast-feeding:
Correct positioning is a key tool to prevent soreness of the nipple and to ensure the enough supply of milk to the baby. Babies can be latched on the breasts from multiple positions. There are many recommended positions such as:
Breast-feeding football hold:
In this position, the baby’s legs are placed next to the mother’s side and the baby facing the mother.
Breast-feeding Cradle hold:
In this position, the mother supports the baby’s head in her arm’s crook.
Breast-feeding cross over hold:
It is similar to the cradle hold but the mother supports the baby with the opposite hand.
Breast-feeding semi-reclining position:
The mother is lying on either on a resting chair or a sofa in semi-reclining position with her child being-fed lying next to her.
Breast-feeding side lying position:
In this position, mother is lying fully relaxed on her one side on the bed feeding her child next to her.
So, breast-feeding is a very essential matter to be aware and practiced. You must have some knowledge about the feeding method to prevent some complications.