By Rekha Babu
Breast milk is recommended as the first source of nutrition for a newborn. It is considered as the sole source of nutrition for the first six months of life that helps an infant build growth for the lifetime. Also, it is recommended that complementary foods are added to the infant’s diet at six months of age and that breastfeeding continue up to two years of age and beyond.
Mothers of the modern era have a hectic schedule and a busy life. This has considerably affected breastfeeding their young ones in a negative way as compared to the past. Nowadays, it’s seen that a lot of mothers are working, rather than sitting at home and taking care of children and doing household chores.
The problems that arise due to this are that infants develop colic, indigestion and the like. This is because formula food is heavier to get digested as compared to breastmilk, which is lighter. Formula does not contain sufficient vitamins, protein and fats as are present in breastmilk. Therefore, the child’s immunity gets diminished and he/she will face frequent infections and diseases, leading to frequent hospital visits.
These are a few important benefits every newborn gets from breastfeeding:
* Before beginning to breastfeed, the mother should be calm and stress free. The flow of milk also depends on the on-going mental dilemma of the mother. Ensure that a newborn is breastfed every two/ three hours or otherwise feed them on demand.
* Mother’s milk contains most of vitamins than any other food can provide and so it is important to make a note that a newborn gets proper amount of milk in the initial few months. Breast milk contains vitamins, fat and protein necessary for a child’s physical and brain development.
* The first milk, colostrums, contains immunoglobulin IgA, which is required to provide a protective layer against infectious organisms, hence protecting babies from infectious diseases. This will help in developing a better immune system.
* Breast milk is easier for baby to digest as it is lighter in nature and more likely to prevent developing indigestion and colic. It is also important to ensure proper digestion for a new born.
* Babies who are breastfed tend to put on more weight than babies who are formula fed.
* The IQ development of a baby can be taken care of during the time of their birth. Babies who are breastfed will have a better IQ level and cognitive development as compared to babies who are not.
* Most of all, it is important to breastfeed a new born to ensure a proper bond between mother and baby as it receives skin and eye contact that gives them a sense of secured feeling. We can also name it as the touch-feeling between a mother and a child, the feel that cannot be expressed through words.
(Rekha Babu is co-founder & CEO of Soothika. The views expressed are personal.)