Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility
July 29, 2021
Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility
Each year, World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated in the first week of August 1st-7th. For 2021, the theme is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility.”
This theme has been chosen as a means to highlight “the links between breastfeeding and survival, health and wellbeing of women, children, and nations. ” Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. Coming to women, Studies show that women who have breastfed experience reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer later in life. Other studies have reported that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The Nation too stands to benefit as a whole.
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have been tough particularly for expectant and new mothers. One thing that needs to be clarified is the COVID virus does not spread during the time of delivery; the only possibility it might infect a child is through air post-birth from the mother or the health care staff. Even if a mother is on her treatment for COVID-19, she can feed the baby following certain precautions.
Tips to Make Breastfeeding a success
According to the Royal Women’s Hospital making Breastfeeding, success is possible by following these tips,
Stay with the baby after the birth
Keeping your baby with you after birth will promote a feeling of closeness and a strong hormonal response that is linked with breastfeeding success. In many cases, it is even possible to have your baby with you immediately after a cesarean birth.
Get into a comfortable position
The ﬁrst few days after childbirth is the best opportunity for you and your baby to learn to breastfeed. Your breasts are still soft for a few days after the birth, then as breast milk changes from highly nutritious colostrum to mature milk, your breasts can become quite full and ﬁrm. Try and use the first few days to get your position and attachment right, to avoid potential problems.
Do not Panic
Breastfeeding is a skill that both you and your baby are learning and might prove challenging for some mothers and babies. Relaxation is important for both you and your baby. If you find you are getting frustrated or angry at yourself while you’re trying to breastfeed, stop and try again in a little while. If your baby is distressed, and if it is possible, ask someone to keep them distracted until you are ready to try again. You could also express for this feed and try feeding on the breast for the next feed.
Feed on demand or need
While you are establishing your breastfeeding your baby will feed between seven and twelve times in 24 hours. This will settle over time. Frequent and effective feeding will help you to make enough milk for your baby.
Keep baby in the room with you
There are many benefits to having your baby in the room with you in the hospital and at home; including that it reduces the risk of sudden infant death. Having your baby in the same room as you will help you to recognize when your baby is hungry, tired, or in need of a cuddle; it will make it easier for you to know when your baby is ready to feed.
It is important to provide a safe sleep environment for your baby night and day.
Avoid teats, dummies, and complementary feeds
If your baby is consuming ﬂuids other than breast milk, there is a chance he/she will breastfeed less and your breast milk supply will decrease. Frequent, unrestricted suckling at the breast will satisfy your baby and ensure that your milk supply continues to meet your baby’s needs.
Is Breast milk sufficient for the baby?
A baby who is exclusively breastfed needs no other food or drink until at least six months of age. You can be confident that your baby is receiving enough breast milk in the early weeks if they have six or more heavy, wet nappies and at least one bowel motion a day. It’s also a good sign if your baby settles after most feeds.
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