Helping Mothers for Effective Breastfeeding

By Dr Maria Pais
Dr Maria Pais is an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrical and Gynaecological Nursing, MCON Manipal.
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Aug 2, 2020

World breastfeeding week is celebrated on August 1 to 7 every year, to create an awareness about the importance of breastfeeding. The 2020 theme is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet.” As we know every animal gives birth to their offspring but though they were not aware about the importance of breastfeeding, they continue to breastfeed their offspring. In human beings –Breastfeeding is natural-why should a woman need help?......As per my knowledge I have seen many women especially with their first baby experience difficulties in breastfeed because, they may be anxious, lack confidence, and sometimes lack support from close relatives. A woman needs help to continue breastfeeding, especially when she works away from home, or if the baby cries a lot…. Now-a- days many women use artificial feeds, these may be cow’s milk, glucose water or, formula milk (Lactogen).

Production of breast milk

Breast milk is produced as a result of the action of hormones and reflexes. Immediately after delivery, when baby begins to suckle at the breast nipple, it produces milk but every woman should know that initial three days there may not be sufficient milk production. When baby suckles at the breast, it stimulates the nerve endings in the nipple, the message stimulates the pituitary gland to produce, prolactin. Prolactin goes in the blood to the breast tissue and helps to produce milk. Another hormone, oxytocin helps in milk let down.

Helping mother for breastfeeding

Help the mother sit or somewhere comfortable preferably low seat is usually best, so that she can hold the baby’s body under her arm, or she can lie down with the baby beside her, if it helps. She can also support the baby on a cushion or supporting pillow. The baby’s head should be in a straight line with his/her body, baby’s abdomen should touch the mother’s abdomen, the baby should face the breast and head should be free to bend back a little. Mother has to lift her breast by holding ‘C’ position and offer whole breast (primary areola as well as secondary areola) to the baby, not just the nipple. Aim the baby’s lower lip well below the nipple, this helps to get the baby’s chin close to the breast. Babies vary in how long they take to breastfeed. Most finish in 5-10 minutes, but some take 20-30 minutes. It does not
matter. Let the baby finish the first breast before you offer second. The baby should breastfeed at night for as long as possible. Do not wash nipples with soap it can damage the skin (nipple). If a baby does not suckle enough, the supply of milk decreases. A mother who lacks confidence can doubt her milk away. After every breastfeed, a good time to burp the baby by placing baby over your shoulder or face down on lap and patting or rubbing baby’s back to expel trapped air.

Breast milk vs artificial feeding

Breast milk is always a perfect milk to meet all the nutrients that a baby needs. Initially few days after delivery, the breast secretes colostrum. It is yellow in colour and produced in only small amounts, which contains antibodies and it will protect the baby from infection. The exclusive breastfeeding till 6 months should be followed because the mother’s milk is quickly and easily digested. It contains appropriate protein, fat and more lactose, vitamins and iron than other artificial milk products. It has a special enzyme (lipase), which digests fat easily. Breast milk is clean and free of bacteria, it has living white blood cells and immunoglobulin which will protect the baby from infection. Breastfed babies have less diarrhoea and all types of infectious diseases than artificially fed babies.

Immediately after delivery, when baby sucks at the breast it helps to stop bleeding. Continued breastfeeding helps mothers to regain her normal figure. Breastfeeding helps a mother and baby to develop a close bonding. Frequent breast feeding helps to protect against another pregnancy as well as lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis, breast, uterus and ovarian cancer in later years.

Artificial feeding is often contaminated with bacteria it may lead to diarrhoea and severe under nutrition. Any artificial feeding takes a large part of family’s income. The quality of protein and fat can never match that of breast milk. Artificial feeding or bottle feeding can lead to serious illness.

Covid-19 breastfeeding issues

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. However, concerns have been raised about whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus to their infant or young child through breastfeeding. Temporary separation of mothers with known or suspected COVID-19 from their new-borns have been proposed to reduce the risk of mother to baby transmission by skin-to-skin contact and rooming in. The mother can wear a face mask and practice hand hygiene for new-born care until the mother is afebrile for 72 hours without use of antipyretics. It is unknown whether the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Data are not sufficient to conclude vertical transmission of COVID-19 through breastfeeding. However, droplet transmission could occur through close contact during breastfeeding. Expressed breast milk by another healthy caregiver can be fed to the baby. World health organization (WHO) recommendations on the initiation and continued breastfeeding of infants and young children also apply to mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

 

 

 

Comment on this article

  • Nelson Fernandes, Kuwait

    Mon, Aug 3 2020

    Great article, need of the hour and an eye opener for present day mothers of new born .
    Keep it up
    God bless you

    Agree [2]

  • Stany Jovin Menezes, Pangla / Muscat

    Mon, Aug 3 2020

    Very informative . Nice to read your articles Dr.Maria - Keep writing .

    Agree [3]

  • Nelrin, Brisbane

    Sun, Aug 2 2020

    I would like to thank you for well-written article.informative and educational.

    Agree [4]

  • Doris, Kallianpur

    Sun, Aug 2 2020

    Beautiful Article.

    Agree [4]

  • Renita, Kallianpur/London

    Sun, Aug 2 2020

    Brilliant, thought provoking and well researched with very salient points.

    Agree [4]


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