In this episode of Active Health, Dr. Rekha Rajendra Kumar discusses the importance of Breast Milk with RJ Padma Priya.
Doctors have long suggested that newborn babies be given breast milk sooner rather than later after birth. Naturally, there could be exceptions that could delay this feeding – a C-Section procedure, or any health issues that the baby or the birth-giver may have. “Breastfeeding is good for both the persons involved. This feeding triggers hormonal changes which help keep the milk production consistent. If the baby is not fed for two or three days, then the chances of production of breast milk can drop drastically.”
Breast milk is medically considered the ideal nutrition for babies as it contains important antibodies, promotes the development of a healthy baby weight, helps make children smarter, and helps the feeder lose weight as well. Colostrum, the thick, yellowish breast milk that is produced in the initial stages of milk production, is especially rich in antibodies that are needed to protect the newborn. The breast milk produced later is just as rich, albeit in different ratios, and provides the baby essential doses of Vitamins A, D, and H (biotin).
If fed early and sufficiently with breast milk, babies tend to have lower chances of contracting infections. “For the first six months of their lives, babies do not need to drink any water; once that period has passed, they can be gradually fed solid foods along with breast milk. After every feeding, it is important to burp babies, or else there could be health concerns. Feeding persons should keep a note of the production of their breast milk, whether it is sufficient for their baby or not. If the baby doesn’t consume enough of the milk, then the breasts can get heavy and painful (engorged). Latching babies to the nipple should be avoided if enough milk is not being produced as this can lead to gastric stress in the baby’s body. Parents who are working can collect their breast milk and have it fed to the baby later as well.”
While breastfeeding is considered essential, it is important to not buy into myths about it. It is also important to not acknowledge the stigma attached to not producing enough or any breast milk naturally. Myths also surround breastfeeding as being responsible for the sagging of breasts. “These beauty-related myths are just not true.”
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Written by: Ramya Gowda K
Edited by: Shruti Sharada