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BREASTFEEDING AND ITS ESSENTIALS FOR THE CHILD AND MOTHER

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By OSONWA IKECHUKWU

Breastfed baby

Breastfeeding is the feeding of infant/young child with breast milk directly from female breast.

Breast milk is the natural food for infants and it is the optimal exclusive food for infants up to the age of 6 months.

Optimal infant feeding practice recommended by WHO and UNICEF involves exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by adequate complementary feeding while breastfeeding continues until the child is at least 2 years ago.

This will supply the macro and micro nutrient in adequate amounts for optimal growth and development of the child.
Virtually every woman can breastfeed.

Note : INTERNATIONAL BREASTFEEDING DAY…..1ST _ 7TH AUGUST

PHYSIOLOGY OF BREASTFEEDING

When a baby suckles at the breast, sensory impulses go from the nipples to the brain. The anterior pituitary gland secretes PROLACTIN, while the posterior pituitary secretes OXYTOCIN in response to the stimuli.

Prolactin makes milk secreting cells to produce milk. Most of the prolactin remains in blood for about 30minutes after the feed, causing the breast to produce milk for the NEXT feed. Thus, the baby takes milk which is already secreted in the breast. So if a baby suckles more, the breast will produce more milk. More prolactin is produced at night, so breastfeeding at night is very important for keeping up the milk supply.

Oxytocin is responsible for the milk “let down reflex” by stimulating the muscle cells surrounding the alveolar to contract. This

makes milk which has been collected in the alveoli flow to the lactiferous sinuses. It makes the milk in the breast flow for the PRESENT feed. Oxytocin release can further be stimulated by kindness and pleasant conditions in the parturient mother. Pain, worry or doubt that the mother has enough milk can hinder the reflex, and stop her milk from flowing temporarily.

ADVANTAGES OF BREASTFEEDING

TO THE BABY

 Confers immunity and protects against infections especially

gastrointestinal tract infections and

respiratory tract infections.
 Contains the right balance of nutrients i.e. it is complete, for

optimum growth and development.  Reduces the risk of allergies like

asthma.
 Mild laxative, meconium is

easily evacuated, and lessens risk of neonatal jaundice

 More intelligent children ( Taurine and cysteine help in brain development)

 The nutrients are more easily absorbable.

TO THE MOTHER

  •   It helps in bonding
  •   It helps in child spacing
  •   Reduction in the risk of ovariancancer endometrial cancer andbreast cancers
  •   Helps in weight reduction.
  •   Faster involution of the uterus with reduction in postpartum haemorrage.
  •   Personal satisfaction and fulfillment of motherhood.
  •   It saves time.
    TO THE FAMILY AND COMMUNITY.

 It saves cost.
 It is safe for the environment..

no littering in terms of cans.

SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT BREASTMILK/ BREASTFEEDING

Breast milk is not enough for the growing child.

Breast size is small, and therefore milk output may be small.

Colostrum is dirty milk and should not be given to the baby.

Breast may sag as a result of breastfeeding

  •   Loss of sexual appeal.
  •   Loss of sexual activity duringlactation.
  •   Working mothers introducing infantformula just to get the baby used to formula milk.

These misconceptions are very untrue and should not be an excuse for denying the new born breast milk and its benefits.

health

Contributed by:

OSONWA IKECHUKWU

Calmdove.blogspot.com

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