by Yen Express
Aug 4, 2020
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure soud health of a child, especially during the first six months. Breast milk provides the best nourishment for the baby. During the first few days after birth, the breasts produce a thick and yellowish fluid called colostrum. It’s high in protein, low in sugar and loaded with beneficial compounds. It is highly advisible to put the baby on the breast to suckle within thirty (30) minutes of delivery, this is of great importance to both mother and baby.
Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.
Constituents of Breast Milk
Proteins – Protein accounts for 75% of the nitrogen-containing compounds and the non-protein nitrogen substances include urea, nucleotides, peptides, free amino acids and DNA.
Fats – Essential fatty acids and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
Carbohydrates – The principal carbohydrate of human milk is lactose.
Minerals, vitamins, trace elements and immune-related components and growth factors.
Antimicrobial factors, digestive enzymes and hormones.
Types of Breast Milk
Colostrum: first secretion from the breast before birth and last until few days after birth.
Transitional milk:Eight days to fourteen days( 8-14 days) after birthday and usually more than colostrum in quantity.
Mature milk: Begins from 20 days after birth, it looks grey and watery.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Increased bond with mother
It contains important antibodies that protect the child from infections e.g diarrhoea, respiratory tract infections etc
Baby easily gain weight appropriate for age.
Prevents the baby against chronic diseases
Enable quick recovery when the child is sick
Higher intelligence test score when compared to a poorly breastfed child
Increased bond with child
Reduced risk of bleeding following child birth and more rapid return of the uterus to prepregnancy state.
Decreased menstrual blood loss and increased child spacing (lactational amenorrhea)
Quick return to prepregnancy weight
Reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers
It of great benefit to the family and community at large as the family get to save more money, reduced sicker persons rate and burden on hospital.
There is no true contraindication to breasfeeding except in infants with classic galactosemia (galactose 1-phosphate uridyltransferase deficiency). Even though there are conditions that may make it difficult. The use of teats, pacifiers and bottles is not advisable for administration of breast milk, this is because it increase the risk of the baby getting infected.
WHO recommends mothers worldwide to exclusively breastfeed infants for the child's first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, they should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of two (2) years or beyond. When breastmilk is no longer enough to meet the nutritional needs of the infant, complementary foods should be added to the diet of the child.
Sources: W.H.O and C.D.C