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The history of infant feeding has evolved gradually over the years. The earliest forms of substitution for mother's breast milk was wet nursing (breast milk form another woman). This was gradually substituted too, since the invention of the feeding bottle and formula milk.
Along with advancements what followed was advertisement campaigns that propagated the safety use of formula feeding. Currently, formula feeding appears to be responsible for several developmental issues in children along with diabetes, atopy and childhood obesity.
Recently, at a hospital, a mother's new born was fed formula milk as his first meal as the mother was under and couldn't hold the baby for several hours. It is crucial to note that this happened much to her dismay and without her consent. After sharing this information, she learned
that there were quiet a few more like her, who have unwittingly allowed their infants first feed to be formula milk.
As a mother, it needs to be an informed decision and not under the influence of hospitals and doctors alike. The yellow form of lactation that appears during late pregnancy and after childbirth, called colostrum, contains antibodies that protect a newborn against diseases. Plus, colostrum delivers nutrients that act as laxating agents to help smooth the passage of your baby's first stool. Something that is very crucial for your baby's immature digestive system.
Besides this it is also rich in proteins, vitamin A, sodium chloride and immunoglobulins that boost infant immunity. Hence, breastfeeding within one hour of child birth is the best shot at reducing infant immortality.
Deciding the best way to feed a baby is a very personal choice. However, it has to be an informed and a collective decision of both the partners involved.
Establishing a feeding schedule may take a few weeks for both a new mother and baby to get used to. It is a learning process and an important stage for the mother and baby to connect with each other. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies receive breast milk for the first six months and then continue breast milk along with other foods until at least a year or longer if both the mother and child are willing.
However, many new mothers face problems during this period of breast feeding.
Not being able to produce enough milk to feed your baby is one of the biggest challenges for a new mom. In around 20% of new moms, fatigue is attributed as the major reason.
Feedings can be painful and hurtful for a new mom as her breasts become sore and nipples become tender. Plus, it is harder to put a measure on how much a baby has consumed or if there was enough milk for the baby in the first place.
Babies breast feed more often than bottle feed, so the process is very taxing for a new mother.
Family members need to step in to help a nursing mother. It is important to be sensitive towards her. Limiting her physical exertion by bringing her the baby when it is time to nurse, giving as much rest between feedings as possible and creating a holistic, stress-free environment is very crucial.
Since a mother is the only source of nourishment for the baby, she needs to have a healthy diet. Consumption of 400 to 500 calories a day is recommended. For more information on how to overcome breastfeeding challenges click here
It is important to understand that breastfeeding is important both for the mother and infant. And to enjoy this experience and overcome its challenges.