According to medical experts, breastfeeding is desirable for both mothers and infants. For most infants, it is considered to be the best available nutrition source. As the infant grows, the mother’s breast milk tends to change to meet the growing needs of the child. Breastfeeding can protect the mother and the infant against certain diseases and illnesses.
How infants benefit from breastfeeding?
Toddlers’ breastfed by their mother tend to exhibit reduced risks of:
- Severe respiratory disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Ear infections (Acute otitis media)
- NEC (Necrotizing enterocolitis) for preterm infants
How mothers benefit from breastfeeding?
Mothers’ breastfeeding their babies tend to show reduced risk of:
- Ovarian cancer
- Breast cancer
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
Consulting with your doctor can help you to know what is expected from the mother while breastfeeding the baby.
When mothers’ should avoid breastfeeding?
Breast milk offers infants with all the essential nutrients required by their body to grow and stay protected from various types of ailments. It includes sick newborns and premature babies. But some rare exceptions are noticed where breastfeeding or breast milk is not recommended.
While breastfeeding, certain medications are not recommended. Certain medications could pass onto breast milk with most having no or very little effect on the infant’s overall well-being or on mother’s milk supply. Hence breastfeeding mothers should weight the benefits and risks of taking prescribed medications by consulting the doctor.
How growth is evaluated for breastfed infants?
The W.H.O (World Health Organization) Growth Standard Charts are to be followed in the United States concerning formula-fed and breastfed children, ranging from birth to completing two years. It is necessary to monitor their growth.
The growth chart reflects the growth patterns amongst children, breastfed predominantly for minimum four months as well as breastfeeding at 1 year of age. The chart tries to establish the breastfed infants’ growth as norm for growth. They are presently considered to be the standards on how babies should grow in optimal conditions.
Breastfed infants are reported to gain weight much faster when compared to formula-fed infants during their initial months of birth. Later, they gain weight slowly for the rest of their infancy even after the introduction of complementary foods. It is necessary to follow Growth Reference Charts for children from age 2 – 19 years.
What is the duration that the mother should breastfeed her baby?
The American Paediatrics Academy recommends mothers to breastfeed their infants for the initial six months after birth. Breastfeeding should be continued while providing appropriate complementary foods for about a year or even longer. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by W.H.O for infants to about six months with continued breastfeeding. It shoudl be practiced along with complementary foods until the infant reaches two years of age.
Medical experts encourage mothers to breastfeed their infants for a minimum 1 year after birth. Longer the time the infant gets breastfed greater is likely to be the protection derived by the small one from certain long-term diseases and illnesses. As you continue breastfeeding your baby for a long time, your child’s health is likely to be benefited immensely.
The American Paediatrics Academy recommends infants to be introduced to alternate foods apart from infant formula or breast milk as they reach 6 years of age.
What happens if a child is given another woman’s breast milk?
Medical science has proved that breast milk tends to transmit very few illnesses to the baby.
Should there be taken adequate precautions to handle breast milk?
Human breast milk does not come with universal precautions. Occasional exposure towards human breast milk does not cause Hepatitis B or HIV infection transmission. Human breast milk is said to be implicated from transmitting HIV infection to infant from mothers. Health workers exposed to breast milk frequently should wear gloves.
Where should mothers seek information related to breast milk storage and preparation?
There are guidelines to follow to ensure proper preparation and storage of breast milk. This will help maintain expressed breast milk quality and safety, thus ensuring better health of the infant.
About human milk banks
These are milk banks established to gather from potential donors. Then the donated breast milk is processed, screened, stored and distributed to meet the individual’s specific needs. Human milk banks, if possible, serves adopted healthy infants including those not in a position to get their mother’s milk for various reasons.
Your child is precious and hence, you should take all adequate precautions to ensure he/she gets good quality and nutritious breast milk at all times. Although there is need to test your breast milk, carrying out breastfeeding test after baby is born will provide you with vital information. For more information, you should immediately discuss it with your doctor.
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