There is no substitute for mother’s milk - Martin H. Fischer
Breast milk acts as a rich source of nutrients for most babies until the age of 6 months, eliminating the need for other diet elements. Ideally, babies do not need any other form of food other than breast milk for the first 6 months.
Some babies may start consuming solid food at 4 to 5 months. Breastfeeding is considered safe as long as both the mother and child are comfortable with it. Once a baby ups his/her solid food intake, a mother may choose to breastfeed less often, depending upon the child’s needs and doctor’s advice.
Breastfeeding has the following major advantages:

Breastfeeding Benefits for your baby

Breast milk contains a right balance of nutrients required for the growth and development of a new-borns.
Breastfeeding has the following major advantages:

  • Gets easily digested and well absorbed by babies
  • Contains antibodies that help strengthen baby’s immune system
  • Reduced risk of ear infections, respiratory infections, and obesity (in infancy and childhood)
  • Reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Reduces chances of food allergies and gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhoea, vomiting, etc.
  • Decreased risks of Diabetes Mellitus, Asthma, Leukaemia, and Eczema
  • Known to influence better brain development
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers

It isn’t just babies who benefit from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has a positive impact on a woman’s physical and mental health, as well.
Following are the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers:

  • Helps in a faster recovery post labour and delivery
  • Aids weight-loss (although this may vary)
  • Induces oxytocin release thereby helping the uterus heal faster post-pregnancy
  • Decreased risks of Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Anaemia, and UTIs
  • Stress reduction and reduced risk of postpartum depression
Points to remember about breastfeeding
  • Feed when the baby is hungry
  • The more you feed the baby, more milk will be produced
  • Make sure that both breasts are used equally
  • Offer both breasts at each feed
  • Switch between breasts during feed and
Where to seek assistance?

It is quite natural for first-time mothers to feel anxious about their baby’s feeding habits. Taking help from a nurse, doctor, or lactation specialists can help clear initial doubts. Breastfeeding within 30 to 60 minutes of a baby’s birth is ideal. A baby usually needs to be breastfed about 8 to 12 times a day but, this may vary depending on his/her needs.

Breastfeeding Tips
  • Be calm and relaxed
  • Have some water or juice for yourself before feeding
  • Have pillows to comfortably support you and your baby
  • The baby's head and chest should be lined up straight and facing your breast
  • Your baby's mouth needs to be wide open
  • Let your baby suck for at least 15 minutes
  • Be sure to burp your baby after each breast

Breastfeeding mothers should avoid alcohol, drugs, and tobacco as these elements can get transferred from mother to baby. It is highly recommended to consult a doctor before starting any medication. It is vital that a lactating woman take care of her diet requirements. Include healthy and balanced food items in your diet and vitamins and supplements, as required.

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