"Breast Milk is the nature's gift to the New born". Breast feeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal nutrition for healthy growth and development of infants.
AWARENESS TIPS ON NECESSITY OF BREAST FEEDING TO THE NEW BORN:
*Nutrient rich and energy rich food is easy to digest. *Breast fed babies will never go hungry. *Provides protection against illness. *It saves children from 3 major killer diseases - Neonatal sepsis, Diarrhea, Pneumonia. For premature babies, a special type of milk rich in lactoferrin, proteins, minerals and immunoglobulin is produced in breasts which increases their chances of survival. This breast milk is ideal for low birth weight babies.
AWARENESS TIPS ON CORRECT NORMS FOR INFANTS BREAST FEEDING:
*Initiation of Breast Feeding immediately after birth, preferably within 30 minutes. *Exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months. i.e., the infant receives only breast milk and nothing else, no other milk, food, drink or water. *Appropriate and adequate complementary feeding from 6 months of age while continuing breast feeding. *Continued breast feeding upto the age of 2 years or beyond. *The World Breast Feeding Week is on from August 1 to 7.
AWARENESS TIPS ON ADVANTAGES OF BREAST FEEDING OF NEW BORN:
*Breast milk is nature's gift to the infants. *It stimulates all the 5 senses - sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. *It fosters emotional security and a long life impact on psycho-social development. *Breast fed child is more intelligent and may have an I.Q. of 8 points higher than a non breast fed baby. *It enhances brain development and learning ability. It is capable of saving 13% of all under 5 child deaths.
AWARENESS TIPS ON ADVANTAGES FOR BREAST FEEDING MOTHERS:
*Early initiation of breast feeding lowers the mother's risk for excess post partum bleeding and anemia. *Exclusive breast feeding boosts mother's immune system. *Delays next pregnancy. *Reduces the insulin needs of diabetic mothers. *It can help to protect a mother from breast, ovarian cancers and osteoporosis. *It helps a mother to shed extra weight gained during pregnancy. *Acts as an effective child spacing device - to recover her health after delivery. *A point to be remembered is that the benefits of breast feeding are reduced if it is not exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months.
AWARENESS TIPS ON FIRST BREAST FEEDING TO THE BABY:
*It is the first hour that saves one million babies because initiation of breast feeding within the first hour of birth is the most vital step towards reducing infant mortality and high neonatal mortality rate. *Women need to be given minimum essential support. For example, assistance at the time of birth to initiate the process of breast feeding, a policy to keep the baby and mother together after delivery, avoidance of giving pre lacteal feed and artificial nipple.
AWARENESS TIPS ON BENEFITS OF INITIATING BREAST FEEDING WITHIN 1 HOUR OF CHILD BIRTH:
*Early initiation builds on the baby's innate reflexes. *During the first one hour after birth, a baby is particularly alert. So, they suckle effectively. *The baby learns to recognize his/her mother's smell. The mother's body produces the hormone oxytocin and the process of emotional bonding starts. The flow of milk is enhanced. Also, the mother's body helps to keep the baby warm. This is specially important for low birth-weight babies, saving them from hypothermia, one of the causes of infant deaths. The baby will be calmer and breathing and heart rate are also steadier. The mother's commensal (normal) bacteria start colonizing the baby's skin and gut, which protects baby against harmful bacteria in the environment. Early initiation reduces post-partum bleeding, a major cause of maternal death in developing countries. Every new born, when placed on the mother's abdomen soon after the birth, has the natural ability to find his/her mother's breast to take the first breast feed known as the 'BREAST CRAWL'.
AWARENESS TIPS ON IMPORTANCE OF COLOSTRUMS:
It is the thick yellowish fluid produced immediately after birth. It is the super food for infants as it is very rich in growth factors, proteins, vitamins A and K. It strengthens their immune system, reduces onset of infection, especially viral and also enhances the development of gastro intestinal tract. As the baby grows, the mother produces milk in larger quantity, but it has less immunoglobulin and protein content and more fat and sugar for rapid growth of baby.
AWARENESS TIPS ON FREQUENCY OF BREAST FEEDING:
Babies aged between 6-8 months old may be breast fed twice or thrice a day, and 3-4 times a day when they are aged between 9 months - 2 years. On an average, breast fed babies of 6-8 months obtain around 70% of their energy needs from breast milk. This falls to around 55% at 9-11 months and 40% at 12-23 months.
AWARENESS TIPS ON COMPLIMENTARY FOOD FOR BABIES:
Inadequate breast feeding or early introduction of complimentary food contributes significantly to the high incidence of malnutrition. Good complimentary food must be rich in energy and adequate in protein, vitamins and minerals, easy to prepare, have very few dietary bulk and easily digestible and should be free from artificial colors and flavors.
AWARENESS TIPS ON THE PRACTICE OF GIVING OTHER MILK OR SUPPLEMENTARY FOOD AFTER BIRTH:
The practice of giving any other food fluids before first breast feed interferes with the mother's confidence. It reduces oxytocin or the let down reflex, suckling stimulation, prolactin production and protection from infection. They may severely disrupt hormonal function.
AWARENESS TIPS ON BREAST FEEDING RELATED RECOMMENDATIONS:
Breast feeding must begin within half an hour of the child's birth. The colostrums are rich. Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby is needed. Breast feed for 6 months. Discourage prelacteal feeds. Discourage the use of pacifiers. Proper positioning of the baby during feeds. Frequent feeds on demand. Breast feed at night too. Complementary feeding after 6 months, timely, nutritionally adequate and safe feeds. Homemade nutrient rich foods like rice gangi, mashed potato and other vegetables, fruits, egg. Four or Five times each day. Canned foods are expensive and unnecessary. Continue breast feeding for 2 years and beyond. If the mother or child fall sick, breast feeding must be continued. There are special guidelines for working mothers during working hours.
The Government of India aims to increase the initiation of breast feeding within 1 hour to 50% from the current level of 15.8%, to increase exclusive breast feeding to 80% from 41% and to increase the rate of complementary foods to 75% from 32.5%.
The Indian Academy of pediatrics has formed a breast feeding and lactation management committee. The efforts of such panels will help the government to reach their goals in the area of improved infant and young child feeding practices which will reduce infant mortality, malnutrition and promote an integrated early child development.
Let us whole heartedly encourage and support all around beneficial breast feeding to enhance mothers love and birth right of all round health and wellbeing of new born babies, forfeiture healthier society and prospective nation.
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