Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. World Health Organization - Breastfeeding
WHO strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. At 6 months, other foods should complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more. In addition: breastfeeding should begin within an hour of birth; breastfeeding should be "on demand", as often as the child wants day and night; and bottles or pacifiers should be avoided. World Health Organization – 10 Facts on Breastfeeding
Colostrum—a yellow, watery pre-milk for the first few days after birth helps newborn's digestive system grow and function. Breast milk has antibodies. Babies who are breastfed also have a lower risk of asthma, allergies, and colic. The protein and fat in breast milk are better used by the baby's body than the protein and fat in formula. Babies who are breastfed have less gas, fewer feeding problems, and often less constipation than those given formulas. Breastfed babies are at lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists – Breastfeeding Pamphlet
Beyond the immediate benefits for children, breastfeeding contributes to a lifetime of good health. Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates of overweight, obesity and type-2 diabetes. There is evidence that people who were breastfed perform better in intelligence tests. World Health Organization – 10 Facts on Breastfeeding
Convenient - always available and at the right temperature. Releases the hormone oxytocin uterus contract and helps it return to its normal size more quickly. Less bleeding after delivery. May lower risk of osteoporosis and some cancer. Burns calories lose pounds gained during pregnancy faster. Cheaper than bottle feeding. Creates a special bond between you and your baby. American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists – Breastfeeding Pamphlet
Infant formula does not contain the antibodies found in breast milk and is linked to some risks Water-borne diseases Malnutrition due to over-dilution formula to "stretch" supplies Return to breastfeeding may not be an option due to diminished breast milk production World Health Organization – 10 Facts on Breastfeeding
WHO recommends that a new mother should have at least 16 weeks of absence from work after delivery, to be able to rest and breastfeed her child. Mothers need access to a safe, clean and private place in or near their workplaces to continue the practice. World Health Organization – 10 Facts on Breastfeeding
A thin white opalescent fluid, the first milk secreted at the termination of pregnancy; it differs from the milk secreted later by containing more lactalbumin and lactoprotein Colostrum is also rich in antibodies that confer passive immunity to the newborn.
FOREMILK First milk the baby receives Thin and watery with a light blue tinge Satisfies baby’s thirst HINDMILK Released after several minutes of nursing Creamy; has the highest concentration of fat Weight in the baby
Passing of the milk down the ducts -“let-down” (milk ejection) reflex Infant suckling stimulates the nerve endings in the nipple and areola, which signal the pituitary gland in the brain to release prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin causes the alveoli to take nutrients (proteins, sugars) from the blood supply and turn them into breast milk Oxytocin causes the cells around the alveoli to contract and eject the milk down the milk ducts.