Breastfeeding, A Special Gift for The Baby and Mother
Breastfeeding provides unique health benefits for both the baby and the mother. Breast milk is designed to meet the healthy needs of a growing child and is the ideal food for infants. As it enhances the immune system in infants; Which contributes to protecting it from many common childhood diseases, and breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs in the first months of his life and continues to provide up to half or more of the nutritional needs of the child between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and a third of the energy needs between 12 and 24 months; Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF recommend the following:
• Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
• Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life
• Safe complementary (solid) foods at 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding until 2 years of age or beyond.
When should you start breastfeeding:
• Breastfeeding should begin within the first few hours of birth, by allowing the baby to be placed on the mother's breast (skin-to-skin) and nursed.
• In some cases, the infant must be separated from the mother for several hours or even days after birth, so breast pumping is recommended to stimulate breast milk production.
• In the first few days after giving birth, a woman produces a small amount of thick, yellowish milk called colostrum, which is rich in nutrients and provides all the calories the baby needs for the first few days.
• Many women worry that their babies are not getting enough milk immediately after birth, especially when only small amounts of colostrum are being produced, but there is nothing to worry about; Babies are born with excess fluid and sugar stores that their bodies use until the mother's milk production increases.
• It is recommended to continue breastfeeding frequently; to produce more milk within three to five days.
• Infants usually lose weight within the first few days of life and gradually regain this weight two weeks after birth.
Signs of hunger:
• Awakening the infant from sleep.
• Move the head and mouth to search for the mother's breast.
• Sucking on the hands, lips, or tongue.
• Intense crying, which indicates severe hunger.
Number of feedings and their duration:
• In the first 1-2 weeks, most babies feed 8 to 12 times a day in 24 hours, or at least every 2-3 hours from the start of the previous feeding.
• Some babies want to feed more frequently, every 30 to 60 minutes, while others need to be woken up and encouraged to feed.
• During the first week of life, a sleeping infant should be awakened to feed if four hours have passed since the start of the previous feeding.
• It is recommended that the infant be allowed to breastfeed for as long as they wish.
• It is recommended to breastfeed the baby from one breast per sitting until satiety; This is because the flowing milk at the end of the feeding session contains a higher percentage of fat than the milk at the beginning of the feeding; Which helps the child to feel full and sleep.
Benefits of breastfeeding for infants:
• Breast milk contains the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals needed for the baby's growth and development.
• Breast milk is easier to digest than formula milk, and breastfed babies experience less gas, sucking problems, and constipation.
• Breast milk contains antibodies that protect babies from certain diseases (such as ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory diseases, and allergies).
• Reducing the risk of developing asthma and type 1 diabetes.
• Reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
• Reducing the risk of enterocolitis for premature infants.
Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother:
• Breastfeeding makes it easier to lose the weight gained during pregnancy.
• Reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
• Reducing the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
• Breastfeeding helps release oxytocin, which helps contract the uterus and reduce the amount of blood after childbirth.
How to breastfeed a baby:
• Bringing the infant's body closer to the level of his nose close to the nipple of the breast.
• Let the infant's head tilt back a little so that his upper lip can catch the nipple. This should help him open his mouth wide.
• When he opens his mouth, his chin should be able to touch the breast first, and his head is tilted back so his tongue can reach as much of the breast as possible.
• With his chin firmly touching your breast and his nose visible, his mouth should be open.
• The mother should notice the areola above the upper lip of the child more than below the lower lip.
• Breastfeeding requires practice, as it takes time to find the best feeding position
Signs of satiety in infants:
• Relax his fingers and toes.
• Milk poured from his mouth.
• Stop sucking.
• Turn the head away.
Signs that the baby is getting enough milk:
• The infant's cheek is round and not hollow during sucking, and swallowing can be heard and seen.
• The baby is calm and relaxed while feeding, and leaves the breast alone when he is satisfied.
• After feeding, the breasts are softer and the nipples are similar (not flattened, pinched, or white).
• The mother may feel sleepy and relaxed after feeding.
• In the first 48 hours, the baby is likely to wet
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