Natural feeding of children, feeding a child with mother's breast milk is the most valuable thing you can give him in the first year of life. This process is the most natural, laid down by nature itself. At the moment of sucking on the mother's breast, the child calms down, and tactile and spiritual contact is established between the baby and the mother.
With breast milk, the baby gets everything he needs: protein, vitamins, necessary hormones, protective antibodies. Therefore, you need to try to get the most complete information about breastfeeding: what is natural feeding, what is it for, how to set it up correctly and what pitfalls can await you along the way. All this will be discussed below.
What is breastfeeding
Natural breastfeeding (NB) is the feeding of a baby's own breast milk either directly from the breast or expressed beforehand. Alsothere are cases of feeding a child with someone else's breast milk (nurse).
Benefits of Breast Milk
Women's milk is a unique product. Its composition varies depending on the needs of the child, the time of day and even the feeding process.
Let's explore the benefits of breast milk:
- Anti-allergenic. Breast milk protein is native to our body. It suits him completely, unlike cow or goat, in which the protein molecule is larger and is perceived by our body as alien, that is, allergenic.
- Amount of protein in milk. Breast milk contains as much protein as the baby needs, and animal milk is aimed at the development of their babies, respectively, they have a different, increased concentration of protein. The same applies to artificial mixtures, in which the amount of protein is greatly overestimated. This, in turn, causes oversaturation, intoxication, increased stress on the digestive organs of babies.
- Protection against various infections and viruses. Human milk contains phagocytes - immune cells that remain active in the baby's intestines, as well as immunoglobulins that protect the baby's mucous membranes - the "gateway" for infection.
- Easy to digest. Women's milk contains enzymes necessary for a more complete assimilation of this product. In this regard, it is absorbed by 100%, unlike artificial mixtures. In addition, enzymes contribute to the reproduction of beneficial and death of pathogenic microflora.
- The content of useful trace elements and vitamins. Depending on the child's needs andage in the milk of a woman, their content changes. This entails the normal development of the baby's body without deficiency and oversaturation of useful substances.
- Psychological factor. The time the baby is at the mother's breast helps him relax, calm down, get a feeling of protection, and develop the hormone of pleasure. So children are easier to tolerate adaptation to a new environment: dry air, bright light, noise, skin irritation with various tissues. It also helps with pain, for example, during intestinal colic.
Difference between breastfeeding and bottle feeding
Below we compare breastfeeding a newborn with formula feeding and identify the possible risks of a second infant feeding option:
- Mixtures are difficult to digest, causing constipation, bloating, pain in the intestines. You can, of course, use split, fermented milk mixtures, which gives its effect, but cannot be fully compared with mother's milk. In addition, such mixtures are quite expensive.
- The composition of the trace elements of the mixture is constant. This cannot serve as a guarantee of the baby's well-being, since the need for trace elements and vitamins changes with age, and is also individual for each. In this regard, an allergic reaction to any component of the mixture may occur, and skin tests by an allergist are done no earlier than three years.
- Feeding from a bottle, the child sees the amount of the mixture eaten and begins to navigateon him, and not on the feeling of satiety. In this case, children often overeat, which also has a very bad effect on digestion, and can also cause excess weight.
Organizing breastfeeding is not an easy process at all. So how, after all, to fix it?
Firstly, breastfeeding begins in the delivery room, when your baby is first placed on the breast, while he suckles diligently, trying to get nutrients. This is an innate survival reflex. Trust your body, it knows what to do. Let the baby suckle at the breast for as long as he needs. He will release it himself whenever he wants.
Secondly, the key to breastfeeding success is the mother's peace of mind. In any case, attitude matters. If you make a decision to breastfeed your baby for a certain amount of time, for example, up to a year, then that is exactly how everything will turn out. No difficulty will stop you.
Feel free to use the services of a lactation consultant. These are specially trained people. They will help you to establish feeding without pain, give recommendations, explanations. You can invite a consultant to your home immediately after you leave the hospital.
What is colostrum?
In the first hours after the baby is born, colostrum begins to be produced, not milk. It is a thick creamy or yellowish liquidcolors. The composition of colostrum is more comparable to blood than to milk. Using it allows the baby to switch to a new diet with the greatest comfort.
Colostrum is a concentrated product, which is why you should not worry that your baby may not have enough nutrition.
- has a laxative effect, which makes passing the first stool (meconium) easier;
- reduces the risk of jaundice;
- in the first days of a baby, colostrum is its protection against all possible external influences of pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria and viruses).
Please note that in order not to disrupt natural processes, mothers in the first 3-5 days after childbirth need to reduce fluid intake for high-quality colostrum production.
Laying the baby to the breast
For new mothers to start breastfeeding successfully, follow a few simple guidelines:
- As often as possible, put the baby to the breast, even if you think there is nothing there. Understand that you do not have a scale by which you will understand that your chest has filled or emptied. Even the feeling of mechanical filling during the rush of milk is just swelling of the mammary gland. Just take it as an axiom that there is milk.
- Before you attach the baby to the breast, take a couple of minutes for yourself. Calm down, think about the pleasant. Get a breast massage (very important!).
- Perform proper attachment of the baby to the breast. This can be taught to you by staff at the maternity hospital or by a lactation consultant.You can also watch online tutorial videos.
How you put your baby to the breast depends:
- quality of breast emptying;
- whether the baby will gasp for air when sucking (causing tummy pain);
- your well-being during feeding (possible pain, cracked nipples).
Correct positions for breastfeeding
There are many different nursing positions:
- "Cradle", the most common position - you hold the baby in your arms, while sitting or standing.
- Lying on your side - you lie on your side, you can put a pillow under your head, the child is on his side facing you, his tummy is pressed tightly against yours. Hold it with your free hand.
- "From under the arm" - the pose helps with lactostasis. You sit. There is a pillow next to you, on it you put the baby on the back with legs back. Holding the head with a free hand, the second for support. The baby is under your arm.
There is some controversy about how best to feed a baby: by the hour or on demand. So, experts recommend feeding the baby on demand until you have mature lactation, about a month or two after giving birth. After that, you can choose the optimal feeding regimen.
The duration of one feeding should not exceed ten minutes from one breast. That is, one feeding takes about twenty minutes. At first, the number of applications mayreach 12 times a day, later the child himself sets the number of feedings, most often it does not exceed eight.
Should I express milk?
In order to answer this question, it is necessary to understand the mechanism of milk production. Milk is produced under the action of the hormone prolactin as the breast is emptied, that is, according to the needs of your child. The more he eats, the more milk is produced. And for easy release from the breast, the hormone oxytocin is produced, which is released during mechanical irritation of the nipple. Therefore, if you want to increase the amount of milk, for example, to create a supply for an emergency or for other reasons, then feel free to pump.
Don't forget that milk is primarily food for the baby, not drink. Therefore, if the room is too hot and dry, then it is necessary to give the child water. Just do not use bottles with nipples for this. This can harm you and prevent you from breastfeeding.
Some women have very delicate and sensitive skin on their nipples. From prolonged sucking, cracks may appear on it. This causes severe pain, up to the refusal of some women to breastfeed. To prevent cracks, you need to lubricate the nipples with your own milk after each feeding and let them dry. It creates a protective film and promotes the healing of microcracks.
Another nasty problem when organizingnatural feeding of a newborn is lactostasis - this is the stagnation of milk in the ducts of the glands. The disease causes swelling of the chest, pain, fever. If this situation occurs, you should put the baby to the breast as often as possible and express milk yourself.
For about the first six months, a child feeds exclusively on mother's milk. Starting from the seventh month of life, complementary foods can be introduced with natural feeding. These can be juices, pureed cereals, steamed green vegetables, mashed apples, pears and bananas.
So, we have told you all the benefits of breastfeeding. It is up to you to decide how you will feed your baby. Natural breastfeeding is a benchmark for every mother. But still, there are no wrong or bad decisions. Every situation is different. Do not try to chase the title of "good mother" to the detriment of yourself or your child. The main thing is that you and your baby feel comfortable. May you be he althy and happy.