In this episode, Dr. Rekha Rajendra Kumar, a gynaecologist, speaks about breastfeeding. She highlights how important breastfeeding is for babies as it provides a lifeline for them, helps in brain development and also in the development of other body parts.
Breastfeeding does tremendous work in preventing infections and many other serious diseases in the baby’s body. As soon as the baby is born, they should be allowed to latch on for feeding. The yellow-coloured milk which comes out of the breasts as soon as the babies suck on it for the first time contains colostrum which is very important for them. “This has many antibiotics and vitamins which help in the growth of babies. Hormonal changes in the mother’s body help to produce healthy milk for babies.”
During the first six months, babies should only be consuming breast milk and following that, only liquids should be given to them. Mothers should eat well so that equally good nutrition is supplied to their babies in the form of milk.
As many women have to get back to work after just three to six months of giving birth, they can opt for different methods to draw out breast milk, store it and provide to the baby whenever needed. “Or else, women can consider alternate ways for working or of staying near the office so that their baby can be fed once in two hours.” Babies can breastfeed for one year and six months, with some solid foods being added into the diet after six months.
Dr. Rekha also speaks about women who have tragically lost their babies during pregnancy. “These women should also be provided special physical care as their breasts will continue to produce milk.”
Some reports have shown that breastfeeding is connected to reduced risk of breast cancer. Mothers who are breastfeeding should also be careful about consuming medicines, if possible, during the period. “To maintain the shape of breasts, mothers can use specifically-designed bras when breastfeeding.”