|Health benefits pass from mother to child through breast milk. They include antibodies which protect an infant at birth to the special nutrients in mother's milk which have been shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases.
Breast feeding impacts the present and future health of a baby, as breast milk keeps pace with the infant's individual growth and changing nutritional needs.
Breast feeding also plays an important role in the emotional and spiritual development of babies. Health benefits include increased bone density, and the reduced risk of many childhood diseases. There are factors in human milk that destroy E coli, salmonella, shigella, streptococcus, pneumococcus.... and many others.
|Benefits for mothers
Research shows that breast feeding infants for the first 6 months of life is beneficial to both baby and mother. Breast feeding helps the mother's uterus contract after birth to control postpartum bleeding. Helps delay return of fertility and to space subsequent pregnancies. It helps to reduce the risks from certain diseases, such as anaemia, cervical cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
|Benefits for babies
Breastfed babies enjoy a special warm bonding and emotional relationship with their mothers.
Studies show breast feeding gives protection against gastroenteritis, necrotizing entercolitis. There's a reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets and childhood diabetes.
It gives protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, septicaemia (blood poisoning), and also against allergies, asthma and eczema.
|Steps for breast-feeding
Sit comfortably on a chair or bed with good pillow support behind your back and a pillow under the arm you're using to support your baby's head. Hold your baby tummy-to-tummy and relax.
Hold your breast with your thumb and forefinger behind the areola (the dark area around your nipple), guide the nipple into baby's mouth. You may have to squeeze your breast to encourage milk flow at first, this will also encourage baby to suckle.
|Nursing is not the time to go on a diet. You should be taking in from 2,000 to 2,700 calories per day. Simple food is the best. Keep a bottle of water nearby. Don't be tempted to drink lots of soda pop. Your body needs pure, healthy water.|
|You're producing milk — a liquid. The more water you drink, the more liquid you'll produce. The general rule is that you should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
If you want to breast-feed but are having trouble getting started, consider using a breast pump.
Some hospitals have breast-feeding classes that cover basic breast-feeding techniques, suggestions about how to reduce sore nipples, and offer other helpful information.
At first, breast-feeding may take up to an hour, but don't get upset if baby doesn't get right to it at the first, second, or even third try. Try to make this a stress-free period without restrictions on time. You may want a nurse to be present but not necessarily your relatives or friends, so ask them to leave during that time.
Many things can be transferred to your breast milk: alcohol, medications, illegal drugs, and even some spicy foods. Always consult with your doctor before you take any medications.