Breastfeed a Child For 6 Months At least – Why is it Important ?

Breastfeeding is a natural part of the body’s development. For some moms and newborns, however, it is a skill that requires experience and may require assistance. Breastfeeding necessitates the encouragement and support of partners, families, and health care professionals. Employers must also encourage breastfeeding mothers who are returning to work. Since time immemorial, breast milk from the mother, or another nursing mother (in the case of unwilling mothers and royalty), has nourished, safeguarded, and assisted in the raising of kids.

 

Mammary Glands to Nourish the Infants

breastfeeding child
breastfeeding child

Humans, like all mammals, have mammary glands, which are used to nourish their infants until they are ready to eat from other sources. 

It is effective strategy to breastfeed a child for 6 months atleast to protect a child’s health and survival. However, nearly two out of every three infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended six months. It’s a percentage that has remained unchanged for the past two decades and is a matter of concern.

For newborns, breastmilk is the best food. Breastmilk is safe and hygienic as well as it includes antibodies that help protect against a variety of ailments. Breastmilk provides all of the energy and nutrients that an infant requires during the first few months of life. It continues to provide more than half of a child’s nutritional needs during the latter half of the first year. And not only this, it also provides up to almost one-third of a child’s nutritional needs during the second year.

 

Few of the Benefits

To promote optimal growth, development, and health, the WHO recommends that women exclusively breastfeed a child for first 6 months of their child’s life. Following that, kids should be fed nutritious complementary foods and breastfed until they are two years old or older. 

Lower risk of gastrointestinal infection for the newborn, faster mother weight reduction after birth, and a delayed return of menstrual periods are only a few of the benefits. There has been no evidence of a reduction in the risk of other infections or allergy disorders. Breastfeeding exclusively for six months is shown to have no negative impact on growth. 

 

Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding

Breast milk is the healthiest nutritional option for infants, according to health experts. However, not all women will be able to nurse their babies. Breastfeeding or formula feeding is a personal choice for many people, depending on their comfort level, lifestyle, and medical circumstances. Infant formula is a nutritious alternative for moms who are unable to breastfeed or choose not to. The nutrients that newborns require to develop and thrive are provided by formula.

 

Recommended By Health Experts

It is recommended to breastfeed for 6 months at least as it is best option for the baby. It is advised to breastfeed a child for 6 months atleast by several health experts. Recommended by various health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Breastfeeding aids in the prevention of allergies, infections, and a variety of illnesses that are chronic. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be nursed exclusively for the first six months of their lives. It is recommended to breastfeed a child for 6 months and maybe longer if both the mother and the infant are willing. 

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Breast milk contains everything a newborn requires in the first 6 months of life, in the proper amounts. The composition of breastmilk changes according to the changing demands of the newborn child. 

This normally is witnessed during the first month after the birth of the child.

 

breastfeeding benefits for mother and child
breastfeeding benefits for mother and child

 

Colostrum

Colostrum is a thick, yellowish fluid produced by female breasts in the days following birth. It’s protein rich as well as low in sugar. It is also full of healthy ingredients. Colostrum aids the development of the newborn’s digestive tract and hence is considered the best first milk for newborns. 

 

Breast milk’s components

Breast milk’s components — lactose, protein (whey and casein), and fat — are readily digested by a newborn and are often referred to as the “ideal diet” for a human baby’s digestive system. On average newborns who are breastfed have a smoother digestive system than those newborns who are formula fed. As breast milk is easier to digest than formula and is rich in nutrients, it results in fewer chances of diarrhea or constipation in breastfed babies.

Many of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn requires are naturally found in breast milk. The AAP recommends that all breastfed newborns start taking vitamin D supplements within the first two months of life. Also they should continue taking them until they eat adequate vitamin D-fortified formula or milk.

 

Antibodies – fight viruses

Breast milk contains antibodies that help babies fight viruses and germs, which is especially important during the early months when their immune systems are still developing. This is especially true of colostrum, or the first milk. Colostrum contains a lot of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and other antibodies. IgA protects the newborn from being ill by producing a protective barrier in the nose, throat, and digestive tract. Children with stronger immune systems may be more resistant to persistent respiratory illnesses. Children with a history of nursing are less likely to develop asthma and allergies, chronic respiratory disorders that are often diagnosed during childhood.

Breastfeeding has the potential to benefit a child’s future health by reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese, in addition to delivering protection from a wide range of infectious and chronic disorders. Antibody protection is not provided by the formula for newborns. Babies who are not breastfed are more susceptible to infections, pneumonia, and diarrhea. 

 

benefits of breastfeeding child
benefits of breastfeeding child

 

Many Other Benefits for Infants

Breastfeeding encourages a healthy weight increase in children and helps to avoid obesity in children. Breastfeeding for more than four months reduced the likelihood of a child becoming overweight or obese. Newborn babies that are breastfed are likely to gain the appropriate weight. They are not likely to become overweight. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) can be prevented if a baby is breastfed. This may be linked to the emergence of new gut bacteria. Breastfed newborns have more good gut flora, which could influence fat storage. They also have higher levels of leptin than formula-fed babies. Leptin is an important hormone that controls hunger and fat storage.

Breastfed infants also regulate their milk consumption on their own. They are better at merely eating until they are full, which aids in the development of healthy eating habits. 

 

Involution and Oxytocin

breastfeeding
breastfeeding

After delivery, the uterus undergoes a process known as involution, which allows it to recover to its original size. This is aided by oxytocin, a hormone that rises during pregnancy. During labor, the female body produces a large amount of oxytocin to aid in the delivery of the baby and to decrease bleeding. During breastfeeding, oxytocin levels rise as well. It helps the uterus return to its previous size by encouraging uterine contractions and reducing bleeding.

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Oxytocin aids in the return of the female uterus to its pre-pregnancy size and may help to minimize uterine bleeding after delivery. Breastfeeding burns more calories, thus it can help the mother lose weight faster during pregnancy. Breastfeeding also reduces the chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer. It may also reduce the risk of some bone problems such as osteoporosis. Breastfeeding mothers experience reduced blood loss after delivery and faster uterine involution.

 

Breastfeeding has Financial Advantages

Breast milk is free of cost, however, the cost of formula adds up quickly. There is no need for bottles, nipples, or other potentially expensive goods until and unless mothers are pumping breast milk and providing it to their babies. Because breastfed babies are less likely to become ill, they may visit the doctor less frequently, resulting in lower co-pays and less money spent on prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.

Several studies suggest that breastfeeding can help in the proper development of a child’s brain and hence to higher IQ scores in later life. Furthermore, physical proximity such as direct contact with skin or eye contact, etc. aids the infant’s bonding and sense of security with the mother.

For finest start in life to the newborns as well as health and well-being benefits for both moms and babiesit is crucial to breastfeed a chilf for 6 months atleast. Breastfeeding has financial advantages for the entire family and society.

 

Exclusive Breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding is suggested until babies are roughly six months old, with the introduction of suitable supplemental feeding (foods and beverages other than breastmilk) around this time, as well as continuous breastfeeding to 12 months and beyond, for as long as mother and child choose. According to these suggestions, all health practitioners have a responsibility to encourage, support, and promote breastfeeding.

Health professionals, on the other hand, should recognize that any nursing is beneficial to both the baby and the mother. Exclusive breastfeeding is when the baby is given only breastmilk (even if it is expressed breastmilk) and no other fluids. Breastmilk fulfills all of a baby’s nutritional and hydration needs during the first six months of life.

 

how to breastfeed child
how to breastfeed child

 

Goal of Breastfeeding for 6 Months

The goal to breastfeed a child for 6 months atleast is to maximize the benefits of nursing for families (lower illness, lower costs) while minimizing the risks of not breastfeeding (infections and illness). Health practitioners should make sure that new parents and families are informed about the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the hazards of not breastfeeding or introducing supplementary foods too soon.

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and diabetes in mothers. It’s dose-dependent yet again. The longer a mother breastfeeds her child into toddlerhood, the better protected she is. Breast milk also meets the nutritional and metabolic needs of an infant’s growth and development, as well as supporting the development of the nervous and immune systems and promoting the overall health mechanism. Breastfeeding mothers have a lower risk of developing: Breast cancer, Ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and High blood pressure.

For most infants, especially premature and ill neonates, breast milk is the best source of nutrition. However, there are a few circumstances in which breast milk or breastfeeding is not advised.

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Medicines are prohibited while breastfeeding

Only a few medicines are prohibited while breastfeeding. Although many drugs enter breast milk, the majority have little or no influence on the supply of milk or the health of a newborn. When providing drugs to breastfeeding women, health care practitioners should constantly balance the risks and benefits.

 

why to breastfeed child
why to breastfeed child

 

Postpartum Care for Mother

Breastfeeding is better for moms because it promotes faster weight loss after birth, burns about five hundred extra calories per day to build and maintain a milk supply, stimulates the uterus to contract and return to normal size, less postpartum bleeding, and fewer urinary tract infections, lowers the risk of anemia, lowers the risk of postpartum depression, and promotes a more positive mood.

Breastfeeding releases the naturally calming hormones oxytocin and prolactin, which help to reduce stress and create pleasant sentiments in the nursing mother, as well as enhanced confidence and self-esteem. Babies that are breastfed do not get sick on a frequent basis. Also, babies that are breastfed naturally cry less as compared to those who are given formula. Breastfeeding can help the entire family to be healthier in body, mind, and spirit.

Due to breastfeeding teenage and adults will find benefits for life as they are less likely to develop the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, heart diseases, multiple sclerosis as well as pre and post-menopausal breast cancers.

 

Safe Travelling

Breastfeeding facilitates travel by ensuring that breast milk is constantly clean and at the proper temperature, as well as increasing the physical and emotional contact between mother and infant. Initial 6 months of Breastfeeding encourages more skin-to-skin contact, holding, and stroking, and many experts believe that affectionate bonding during the first years of life can help reduce social and behavioral problems in both children and adults. Breastfeeding mothers learn to read their infants’ cues, and babies learn to trust caregivers, all of which help shape the infant’s early behavior.

 

Conclusion

By now we have seen that it is very important to breastfeed a child for 6 months atleast as it not only helps the parents to raise a healthy baby, with less risk of illness and better functioning of the organs systems but also it helps the mother to overcome from several psychological and physiological factors. Hence, in the long run, it aids in prosperity and in creating a better lifestyle for all the family members.

 

Vedangi Vijay Laxmi
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