Breastfeeding -Why breastmilk for 6months (exclusive)?
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING
A story is told of a two-year-old who helps granddad in the farm to milk the cow- Macy.
While he was two, his mom was pregnant with his little sister. Three days after delivery, during a regular visit to see mom at the hospital, he found her breastfeeding baby sister- in his experience, baby sister was milking mom. After several teen observations, he came to a conclusion, “Macy must have given birth to mum!”
What is Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is the natural feeding of an infant by inserting the nipple of the mother into the mouth of a child. It is symbolic of care and nutrition from mother to child.
Breastfeeding comes highly recommended even in a century where development is noticed in forms of formula and supplements. Beyond the existence of the infant’s primary contact with the external world outside the uterus and the transmission of materials, is there something more?
Plainly, without good nutrition, the formative process of a neonate (newborn) and also that of a growing child would take a bad turn. There exists a list of healthy foods and what not when it comes to nutrition in infantile feeding. Beautifully though is the fact that this natural method costs nothing more than healthy feeding of the breastfeeding mother.
The Process of Breastfeeding
A pregnant woman passes through a stage of uttermost responsibility. The woman’s body recognizes this and passes information known as hormones- prolactin and oxytocin, to the mammary gland.
These kick-starts the combination of fats, complex proteins, carbohydrates and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium etc. All these done in preparation for the arrival of a baby; more is done internally than physically visiting shopping centres for hand and earmuffs, clothes, diapers, head warmers, etc.
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When the baby is delivered, the first few days after delivery, the mother produces colostrums. It’s a yellowish fluid that sometimes leaks from the breast during pregnancy. This colostrum has a high level of antibodies and proteins that help build immunity for the baby, with the reason that the baby’s immunity isn’t stable.
These colostrums gradually change to a better form of breast milk. It appears thin, watery and quite sweet (ask any baby around, don’t ask the big guys- 3 yrs is enough to forget sour or sweetness) but later on becomes thicker and creamier.
The baby relieves the utility as their thirst and hunger are quenched with the necessary protein, minerals, antibody and just enough sugar to build up a baby.
The Competition- Natural Vs Artificial Milk
Science has invented methods to serve as a substitute for breastfeeding. These come in forms as:
- Infant formula: This mixture contains purified cow milk with a blend of vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins pump.
- Supplemental Nursing System (SNS): this copies the form of breastfeeding in itself. It is a thin feeding tube paired with a bag of milk or formula that a mother can plant close to her nipple as the baby sucks. Quite an invention!
Why Breast milk beats all forms of infantile feeding
- Of the many fats that are present in breast milk, cholesterol tops it. This fat is a major constituent of brain and nervous tissues. This means a good response to stimuli and also better cognitive development. Artificial milk doesn’t meet the standards of the cholesterol percentage present in breast milk.
- Breast milk isn’t sterile. It contains as many as 600 different species of various bacteria. Thankfully, these bacteria are beneficial to the development of a child.
- There is a unique type of sugars called HMOs. These types are not present in formulas. They help build the digestive system of infants. They also block the attachment of disease-causing pathogens which help prevent infectious diseases.
- The matrix of child wellbeing, in respect to their early age, is that of nutrition. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the full impact of this and started up a strategy to improve infant and young children feeding in 2003.
- The existence of chemicals to help destroy viruses and bacteria from a foreign environment.
- Apart from the biology and mechanics of breast milk, breastfeeding provides the platform for the baby to be held more. This forms a relationship intended to foster a cordial progressive relationship of the infant with the breastfeeding mother.
The mother isn’t left out in the entire process.
- Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast cancer.
- The baby’s sucking causes the mother’s uterus to contract and reduces the flow of blood after delivery.
- Losing weight and achieving pre-pregnancy figure more easily than mothers who bottle feed.
Breastfeeding is not only economical but seeks to protect the infant superiorly above all forms of supplement. Over the years, there have been various researches done in regards to improving an infant’s diet as to reduce the growth of infantile malnutrition, kwashiorkor and any related illness; so far, none has beaten breastfeeding.
Science has since given up ways to surpass this natural phenomenon but has found ways to store and make available this resource for people who are deficient i.e. medical conditions, in means of a formula, electric breast pump, donor etc.
If one can though, it is advised consistent only breastfeeding of the first six months of an infant. This was and is still is, a prerequisite for “optimal growth development and health” as stated by the UNICEF in collaboration with the WHO.
Conclusively, breastfeeding is still and will always be the best choice!