FAQ Breast Feeding
Breast-feeding is an art and a skill. It requires maternal
confidence and consistent information. Human milk is the most
appropriate of all available milks for the human infant because it
is uniquely adapted to his or her needs.
Q. What is
Exclusive breast-feeding means
that except breast milk no other food or fluid including water
should be given to child from birth to four months. It lowers the
risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia.
Q. What are the advantages
of Breast Feeding?
Benefits to Baby:
Breast milk is the
natural food specific for human babies. It is always readily
available at the proper temperature and needs no time for
The milk is fresh and free of bacteria.
Breast milk contains anti-infective factors, which help baby to
fight against infections.
It protects against allergies, eczema and asthma.
Human milk iron is well absorbed by the infant.
Benefits to Mother:
Breast-feeding is beneficial for mother also as it has
contraceptive effect in first 6 months, it helps in early
involution of uterus and protective effect against ovarian and
Breast feeding offers increased opportunity for close sensual
contact between the mother and infant. It creates a strong bond
between mother and the baby and helps in emotional, intellectual
and social development of child.
would a Prospective Mother prepare for breast feeding?
Most women are physically capable of
breast feeding, provided they receive sufficient encouragement and
are protected from discouraging experiences and comments while the
secretion of breast milk is becoming established.
Nipple assessment should be made to determine nipple protractility
and nipple preparation should begin in the 28th week of pregnancy.
Physical factors conducive to a good breast feeding experience
include establishing and maintaining a state of good health,
proper balance of rest and exercise, freedom from worry early and
sufficient treatment of any intercurrent disease and adequate
Q. Initiation of
A. Breast feeding should be
started as soon as possible after birth preferably within half an
hour of birth. Early breast feeding stimulates breast milk
production. It serves as newborns first immunization and food. It
reduces maternal post delivery bleeding, initial milk (Colostrum)
contains high level of antibodies which prevent infection in
The baby should be nursed every 2-3 hours or on demand, whichever
comes first, during the day and on demand during night.
Both breasts should be used at each feeding, starting on the
breast that was used to end the previous feeding.
Nursing on each breast is recommended from 7-10 minutes with
additional time added to each feeding if it is comfortable for
mother. Most of the milk is obtained early in the feeding in 2
minutes and 80-90% in 4 minutes.
Q. What Position is
suitable for nursing a baby?
A. Several positions are
possible for nursing a baby comfortably. These positions include
traditional "Madonna Position" and "Football hold" both allow
mother to sit, as well as lying down positions. The baby's head
should be in straight line with his body. The body of baby should
be against mother's stomach. Body should be supported at bottom,
head should be free to move. Baby should be facing the mother.
Mother should offer not only nipple to baby but also areola (the
Q. Feeding should be from one
or both Breasts?
A. Baby should empty at least
one breast at each feeding otherwise it will not be stimulated to
refill. Both breasts should be used at each feeding in early weeks
to encourage maximal milk production. After the milk supply her
been established the breast may be alternated at successive
feedings and infant will be satisfied from the amount received
Q. How adequate is
motherís milk for the baby?
A. If baby is satisfied after
each nursing period, he sleeps for 2-4 hrs and gains weight
adequately ,it means milk supply is sufficient. Infants who are
light sleepers requires lot of body contact with the mother.
Q. Sleepy Baby?
A. This is a common complaint
during first 1-2 days after birth. Sucking urge is at its peak for
first 2-3 hours after birth and then declines. Most babies start
nursing well again after 2-3 days. Other babies must be awakened
for every feeding by scratching on soles or ticking behind the
Q. Not enough milk?
A. This is the most common
reason given by mothers for starting other milks. But most of the
time mothers have adequate milk supply.
Mother should be reassured. Position of feeding should be correct.
Mother should breast feed atleast 8 times a day. Night feeds
should be given. Frequent suckling by baby should be done in good
position. If supplementary feeds are given they should be reduced.
Early Problems with Breast-feeding?
Breasts are of
different shapes and sizes.
Milk secreting glands are almost equal in all mothers therefore
size and shape of breast does not effect production of milk.
Q. Flat or small
A. Protractility rather than
size of nipple are more important (If one touches the nipple
between two fingres it erects and this is called protactility). A
Protractile nipple is normal. Length of nipple is not important so
long as it is protractile Nipple merely acts as a pointer to show
the baby where to take the breast.
Q. Engorged Breast?
A. If breasts are not emptied
adequately they will become engorged. Such breasts are painful,
look tight and milk may stop flowing. The baby is unable to suck
because of tightness of breast. Engorgement may be prevented if
mother is encouraged and supported to breast feed her baby in good
sucking position on demand from soon after birth. Treatment of
engorgement requires manually expressing the milk if baby is
unable to suck.
Q. Cracked Nipple?
A. If baby continues to suckle
in poor position it may damage the nipple skin and a fissure or
crack appears. Treatment includes helping mother to improve
Q. Multiple Birth?
A. Woman can nurse multiple
babies, since the supply of breast milk will increase to meet the
additional demands. In case of twin babies both breasts should be
used at each feeding, each baby can have his or her own breast,
the babies can be fed simultaneously or the hungriest baby can be