Breast feeding practice is followed everywhere in India, except
among higher socio - economic groups, who tend to look for
alternatives to breast-feeding. Ignorance of the advantages of
breast-feeding and the proper method often leads to
discontinuation in most cases.
The ability of the breasts to
produce milk diminishes soon after childbirth, without the
stimulation of breast-feeding.
The immunity factors in breast milk
can help the body fight off infections.
Breast milk contains vitamins,
minerals and enzymes, which aid the baby’s digestion.
Breast and formula feeding can be
It is the simplest way to feed the
It increases the period of
lactation amenorrhoea after childbirth.
Breast milk also contains
infection-fighting anti-bodies from the mother.
Breast feeding in the initial 4-
months of the baby’s life reduces the chances of infection and
increases the immunity of the baby.
The amino acids in breast milk, the
building blocks of proteins, are well balanced for the baby.
These proteins best aid the baby’s intestinal tract.
The emotional bonding between the
baby and mother is strengthened & gives a feeling of
satisfaction and achievement to the mother.
It is much cheaper than artificial
The baby should be
put to the breast as soon as possible after birth. The initial
yellowish and thick fluid (colostrum) is rich in proteins and
protective antibodies. The practice of giving ghutti should be
discouraged, because the nourishment of the baby is delayed,
increasing chances of infection and delaying the stimulation for
Some important points:
The mother should sit in a
comfortable position, hold the baby in her arms and offer the
baby her whole breast & not just the nipple.
The baby should be fed from a
different breast each time so that both breasts produce the
maximum amount of milk.
The baby should be fed, whenever
she is hungry. Before offering the second breast to the baby, it
should be ensured that the baby sucks the fat rich hind milk
from the first breast.
A daily bath is sufficient to keep
the breasts clean.
Frequent cleaning with soap removes
the natural oils from the breasts, predisposing the nipples to
Burping the baby after every feed
by holding her against the shoulder is advisable.
A mother who is feeding her baby
should eat healthy foods to keep up her strength & feed the baby
At times the breasts may feel hot,
heavy and hard, due to accumulation of milk.
The mother should be encouraged to
let the baby continue to suck for as long as possible.
If still enough milk is not
removed, the milk should be squeezed out in a clear (preferably)
boiled cup using the thumb and the finger.
A warm compress on the breast or a
warm bath is also helpful.
It the baby is fed frequently both
during the day and night this condition (engorgement of breast)
If nipples are cracked and painful,
the mother is advised to leave a drop of hind milk on, the
nipple after feeding as this helps in healing. Malai or pure
ghee can also be applied.