What is exclusive breastfeeding, and why should mothers consider it?
Breastfeeding is entirely a mother’s choice. It is up to her to decide how she is going to feed her child as it’s a personal matter. Many friends and relatives also play a vital role in making a mother choose between one- breastfeed or not to breastfeed. But the benefits of breastfeeding are huge as they protect the child against diarrhoea and other common childhood illnesses like pneumonia. It also protects the mother and child from obesity and adolescence.
Medical experts strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for up to 6 months.
What exclusive breastfeeding is our topic today? Gynaecologists recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the initial six months and then breastfeeding along with other foods like fruits, proteins, vegetables, and grains. The following guide will help you understand the benefits and problems of exclusive breastfeeding.
What is exclusive breastfeeding?
When a child drinks only breast milk and nothing else, that is called exclusive breastfeeding. During this period, the child does not get liquids and solids with the only exception is for oral rehydration solutions or other syrups like vitamins, minerals, or medicines.
How long can you keep your child on exclusive breastfeeding?
Paediatrics and other medical experts recommend that infants should be kept on exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months with no other solid or liquid food. After six months, you can introduce the child to other supplement foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains along with breastfeeding as well.
Many women in the US think they can stop breastfeeding before the first six months, and many never even begin it, which refrains the infants from growing and developing correctly. It also weakens the immune system of the children due to which life-threatening illnesses prove fatal later in life.
What are the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding?
Exclusive breastfeeding is vital for infants because of numerous health reasons. Following are some of the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the infants.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help to make infants a fighter against various viruses and bacteria
- Protects infants from having asthma or other allergies
- Infants develop fewer ear infections
- They stay safe from respiratory illnesses
- Infants do not suffer from bouts of diarrhoea
- It provides emotional satisfaction to the mothers
- They quickly and easily recover from childbirth
- The hormone called oxytocin released during breastfeeding help the uterus return to its original size
- It also reduces postpartum bleeding
What are the problems of exclusive breastfeeding?
There can also be some issues of keeping the infants on exclusive breastfeeding. It can cause cracked or sore nipples, breast engorgement, insufficient production of breast milk. A slight discomfort of feeding the infant in public, a lowering in lactation support, inadequate support of breastfeeding out in public, availability of short periods of maternity leaves, etc. all these problems can make mothers choose not to breastfeed their infants exclusively. But experts strongly recommend keeping the infants on breastfeeding at least in the first six months after their birth because of the health benefits both for infants and their mothers.
How to go about breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is a natural process, but still, many mothers need help and support for their firstborns. After birth, you can eat foods that can promote milk production in you and help the infant get breast milk as per his needs. They feel fear of doing something wrong as the infants are sensitive beings. But the following tips can help you regulate your breastfeeding process.
Stay with your child after birth:
A closeness will help you understand your child’s needs better. You can have a breastfeeding success because of a tight relationship with your infant. You will know when the infant needs to sit baby food, aka breastmilk, to grow strong and healthy.
Make your position and attachment right:
Use your first few days to get better positioning and attachment of your infant with your breasts. In the initial days after childbirth, your breasts will still be soft while later, when the milk turns into mature milk, they will become fuller and firmer. Getting the right position will help you avoid problems later in the track.
You will learn to breastfeed with time. Some mothers may find it hard to breastfeed their infants than the rest. Have patience and try learning this natural process with time. Be relaxed as it will help you breastfeed your infant better.
Feed on demand:
In the beginning, when you are establishing the process of breastfeeding, your child will need to be fed 7 to 12 times per day which will get settled with time. Continuous and effective feeding will help your body make enough milk for your children. You can also use breastfeeding reminders to help you stay on track and keep a check on how many times you have fed your child.
Avoid complementary feeds:
As your baby is still learning to feed on breast milk, avoid giving them teat or a dummy. When your baby has other fluids than breastmilk, it can make them feed less on the breast milk, which will reduce the production of breast milk in you. You might end up reducing your breast milk production, which will not be sufficient for your baby’s needs.
Breastfeeding is a natural process that is to keep the infants healthy and fulfil the needs of their growing bodies. Taking away this feed from the infants and giving them complimentary meals might be insufficient for the infants and get them struck with different illnesses now or in the future. It is a personal decision entirely to breastfeed or not to do so, but it is a highly recommended thing from experts around the world. Breastfeeding reminders can help you regulate the number of times you feed your infant. Protecting your infant from illnesses and giving him a robust immune system can only be possible by keeping him on exclusive breastfeeding in the initial six months after birth.