Benefits of Breastfeeding for a Newborn Baby
Benefits of Breastfeeding for a Newborn Baby
Breastfeeding has never been regarded as significant as it is today, considering its importance. Besides hospitals, prenatal care centres, special institutes for child care and all newborn specialists, as well as various organisations and volunteers, are raising awareness of the essentiality of breastfeeding in the overall health and development of a child right from its birth.
Our specialists at Yashoda Hospital in the Centre for Neonatology and Paediatrics advocate the WHO states about breastfeeding- that breast milk is the ideal food and the most effective way to ensure child health and survival in the initial months of its birth.
While protecting you and your special little one from misleading myths around breastfeeding, our specialists bring to you some of the most essential facts regarding breastfeeding.
What is breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is the process of feeding a mother’s breast milk to her infant, either directly from the breast or by pumping out the milk from the breast and bottle-feeding it to the infant/baby.
It is the recommended method for feeding infants since breast milk provides the right balance of nutrients that an infant needs which is also enriched with essential antibodies that boost your baby’s immune system.
When can you start breastfeeding?
As long as you and your newborn are healthy, breastfeeding should ideally start preferably within the first hour of your baby’s birth. Our specialists advise so because early skin-to-skin contact decreases the baby’s stress and promotes mother-child bonding besides providing the gift of long-lasting health and immunity to your baby.
Why must you breastfeed? Benefits!
The mammary glands in your body may begin to produce colostrum as early as 16 weeks into pregnancy. Colostrum is a concentrated, highly nutritious thick and yellowish-white fluid that is produced within the first 24 hours after birth that your baby will drink during the first few days of breastfeeding.
Although small in amount, these are the reasons why breast milk with colostrum makes the perfect first food for your baby:
- It is rich in protein
- It is an excellent source of macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals)
- It acts as a laxative which helps your baby excrete bilirubin to prevent jaundice.
- It coats the digestive tract and helps prevent infection
- It provides immunity to protect against illness
- It is easy to digest
How often should you breastfeed your baby?
It is recommended that a baby should be fed at least 8-10 times within 24 hours, and since newborns tend to sleep for longer hours during the day and feed mostly at night, new mothers need to get ample sleep between feedings and feedings.
Although general feeding hour numbers range between 2-3 hours, the feeding time for every baby differs depending upon the baby’s demand for food.
What are the signs of a baby getting enough breast milk?
There are a few indicators that signal when the baby is sufficiently breastfed. Babies tend to sleep for a good 2-3 hours after a good feed and frequent feeding is followed by 5-6 wet nappies in a day.
Another sign is the gradual increase in weight wherein the baby gains approximately 20-30 gm per day. You must not worry about your baby’s initial loss in weight because most babies regain weight by the 10th day.
As another health indicator, well-fed babies tend to pass golden yellow, soft stools, which they may pass once or many times over the course of a few days.
How long must the breastfeeding period last for a baby?
Our specialists urge that the newborn be breastfed for the first 6 months and that any kind of supplementary food is included in the diet thereafter under their thorough supervision to ensure the best health for the baby.
You must not worry in case your baby is born premature or with any need for special care because our neonatologists are skillfully trained to develop the best-personalised diet your baby will need.
What is the diet you should take for a good breast milk supply?
Besides intake of healthy fluids like milk, soups and fresh juices, any lactating mother must drink 3-4 litres of water. A healthy balanced diet is a must and despite the odd sleeping pattern that comes with newborn care, you must get adequate rest in between feeds.
What are the risk factors or warning signs you must not miss?
Any healthy baby would have pinkish and warm skin and body and show signs of activity and response, and demand feeding almost every 2-3 hours while passing urine every 3-4 hours. These hours may vary for babies but here are some of the danger signs that you must not ignore:
- Long urine halts
- Abnormal breathing
- Sudden rise or fall in body temperature
- Abnormally drowsy or irritable
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal movements
- Abnormal changes in the colour of the skin or eye
What is the ideal room temperature for a baby?
The baby’s entire body must be kept warm and comfortable at all times. This can be maintained through appropriate clothing with the weather and with air conditioning, our doctors recommend the maintenance of temperature at 77-78 F.
When is the right time to start bathing your baby?
Although generally, the baby’s first bath is recommended after 24 hours, our specialists recommend that your baby’s first bath be given after the fall of the umbilical cord.
Sponge baths are advised for the initial week wherein extra attention is paid to skin folds while keeping the baby’s face away from water.
A gentle massage using natural oils like coconut oil is highly recommended to promote the mother-child bond and child health. It is advisable that our specialists monitor the amount of oiling and powdering since an excess of either can cause skin problems.
Who can help you?
Our in-house Centre for Neonatology & Paediatrics team urges you to understand that your first breastfeeding is a learning experience for you and your baby and you must not worry under any circumstances while breastfeeding or getting ready for it.
Some newborns latch on immediately and breastfeed well while some don’t but here at Yashoda, we have lactation consultants on staff that is a real ways available to assist you.
For any queries on Breastfeeding and Newborn Care, please reach out to us on our official website www.yashodahealthcare.com or book an appointment with our most experienced child specialists Dr Ashish Prakash, and Dr Arun Kumar, Dr Sachin Kumar Dubey, Dr Karan Raheja and Dr Rachit Goel by calling us on 9810922042.