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Breastfeeding: The right and the wrong

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Breastfeeding: The right and the wrong

Thereport24.com Desk:

Recently while talking to an ex-colleague I realized breastfeeding is somewhat like parenting - to each his own. There are mothers who proudly nurse their babies into toddlerhood and others who feel that crossing the 6 months mark is a big feat in itself. The mothers who take their cues from the baby instead of calendar are often tagged 'eccentric'.

To put all myths at rest, I spoke to Christa Muller-Aregger, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and International Educator on breastfeeding.

Christa says that today most women are head driven than emotion driven. Everything needs to be questioned and sometimes women even forget about their gut feelings. As a matter of fact, when humans think of milk, they think of cow's milk, which looks different, has a different composition and usually comes in bigger quantity then breastmilk. But human body works differently. Animal babies are born mature but human babies are born immature. "While animal milk is made to give the babies energy for strong muscles, human babies need a lot of elements to develop and grow physically and so the milk is different in composition. Human milk is very special. It looks different compared to animal milk and it is ever changing, tailor made and living. It has so many living components, necessary for the growth and development of the baby."

It is fascinating how human milk is like a 3 course meal. "Taking a sample of the human milk before the baby start to feed, the milk is watery. Taking another sample after 15 minutes of breastfeeding, the milk appears like we understand milk. This part of the meal contains vitamins, minerals and everything the baby needs to develop and grow. Once the baby has finished his meal and if we take another sample, this milk will often looks kind of yellowish. It has a high fat content and gives the baby energy and weight gain." Christa adds.

Coming to the duration of each breastfeeding, the first few days an infant normally feeds 10 to 12 times in 24 hours. In this phase, the feeding time is shorter and the amount is small but fits perfectly to the baby's small stomach. Also remember, it is important that your baby clutches to your breast and feeds often in this duration to initiate lactation. The more the baby breastfeeds in the first days of his life, the better the initiation of lactation. "Breastfeeding in the first few days is not only feeding your baby food but it also helps in retraction of the mother's uterus," adds Muller.

There are mothers who complain about the lack of breast milk development, not having enough breast milk for the baby. Most of the times with a little help from a lactation consultant/breastfeeding expert, the problem can be solved.

How many times have we heard that a lactating mother should eat for two? Quite often. Muller busts the myth. "A mother should eat what she is used to eating. But I would suggest that she should not try new food. There is no special diet needed during the breastfeeding period. There could be times when the baby doesn't like one of the foods you ate, so observe that- he/she will let you know. Leave that food item for 2-3 weeks and then have it again. The digestive tract of the baby becomes mature over time and is ready for new eats."

Most smart working mothers store their breast milk for the baby. But there are some basic rules to follow. Pumped breast milk should never be left at a room temperature, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator immediately. If you want it to last, you can store it at the bottom back of the refrigerator for 3-5 days. In case you want it to last for 3 months, freeze it (less than 18 degrees).

The right way to warm breast milk which comes out of the refrigerator is to warm it in a water bed which does not exceed 40 degrees. Heat destroys all the useful ingredients of the breast milk. Therefore, you should never microwave it or boil it.

Bringing up a child isn't easy and equally tough is feeding a child. Breastfeeding is a learned behavior for both mother and baby and sometimes it takes a while until it gets easy doing. Agreed, it can be taxing but extremely rewarding too at the same time!

Source: The Times of India

Ends/thereport24.com/S/Aug 1, 2016