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.
Advantages of breast-feeding.
- 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
- Breast milk contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which aid
the babys digestion.
- Breast and formula feeding can be used together.
- It is the simplest way to feed the baby.
- It increases the period of lactation amenonhoes after childbirth.
- Breast milk also contains infection-fighting anti-bodies from the
- Breast feeding in the initial 4- months of the babys life
reduces the chances of infection and increases the immunity of the
- The amino acids in breast milk, the building blocks of proteins,
are well balanced for the baby. These proteins best aid the babys
- 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 feeding.
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 milk production.
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
- 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 develop fissures.
- 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 letter.
- 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
- 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 (engoryememt of breast) is uncommon.
- 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 can also be can applied.