Pregnant women and new mothers should be informed of the benefits and superiority of breast feeding, in particular, the fact that it provides the best nutrition and protection from illness for babies. Mother should be given guidance on the preparation for and maintenance of lactation with special emphasis on the importance of the well balanced diet both during pregnancy and after delivery. Unnecessary introduction of partial bottle feeding or other foods and drinks should be discouraged since it will have a negative effect on breast feeding. Before advising a mother to use an infant formula, she should be advised of the social and financial implications of her decision, for example if a baby is exclusively bottle-fed equivalent of more than one can (500gm) per week will be needed, so the family circumstances and costs should be kept more in mind. Mothers should be reminded that breast milk is not only the best, but also the most economical food for the babies. If a decision to use an infant formula is taken, it is important to give instructions on correct preparation methods, emphasizing that unboiled water, unboiled bottles or incorrect dilution can all lead to illness.
Mothers should be explained the following advantages and nutritional superiority of breast feeding.
1. Immediately after delivery, breast milk is yellowish and sticky. The milk is called colostrum, which is secreted during the first week after delivery. Colostrum is more nutritious than mature milk because it contains more protein, more anti-infective properties which are of great importance for the infant’s defence against dangerous neonatal infections like infections of respiratory tract, otilis media, diarrhoea. It also contains higher levels of vitamin ‘A’.
2. Breast milk
Is clean and uncontaminated.
Is a complete and balanced food and provides all the nutrients needed by the infant in the first few months of its birth.
Has anti- infective properties against viral infections and anti-staphylococcal factor that protects infants from infection in early months.
Breast feeding is much cheaper than feeding infant milk substitutes as the cost of extra food needed by mother during lactation is negligible comparatively.
3. Care of the breast
From the second half of the pregnancy, breast should be pressed gently with fingers, massaging with smooth strokes, starting from periphery of the breast and proceeding towards nipple. It is better to avoid the use of soap as it makes the nipples dry and less supple but a thorough cleansing with luke warm water is a must before each feed.
Mothers should be encouraged to use ‘feeding brassiers’ for giving mechanical support to the milk distended breasts and should be motivated to exercise chest muscles, to maintain a proper circulation and supply.
4. Technique of Breastfeeding
A semi-reclining position of the mother is most comfortable during breast feeding. She should support the head of the baby on her elbow and infant’s buttocks on her palm.
5. Management of breast feeding
Breast feeding immediately after the delivery enables the contraction of the womb and helps the mother to regain her figure quickly.
Is successful when the infant suckles frequently and the mother wanting to breast feed is confident in her ability to do so.
Let the mother and the infant stay together after the delivery( in hospital, this is called ‘rooming in’)
The mother should be advised to follow a semi-demand schedule. Thus if the infant is sleeping at the expected time of feeding, he should not be aroused for feeding. If he is hungry and demands a feed before the arbitrarily scheduled feeding time, the feed should not be denied.
Most babies demand a midnight feed during the early months of life. Although it may be exhausting for some mothers, the baby’s need should receive due consideration.
Every effort should be made to breast -feed the infants whenever they cry.
– ( Collected from Various Resources es )
This article was written by admin