The Importance of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding – Best for baby
Breast milk is a complete and balanced food and provides all the nutrients needed by the baby for the first six months of life; thus minimizing the likelihood of excesses and deficiencies. Breast milk has anti-infective properties that protect the baby from infections in the early months.
The first food – Colostrum
This milk is called colostrum, which is secreted immediately after delivery and for the first week after delivery. It is yellowish and sticky. Colostrum is more nutritious than mature milk because it contains more protein, more anti-infective properties which are of great importance for the infant’s defense against dangerous neonatal infections. It also contains higher levels of Vitamin A and helps the baby have her first bowel movements.
Breastfeeding – Best for mother
Breastfeeding immediately after delivery enables the contraction of the womb and helps the mother to regain her figure quickly. Mothers who breastfeed usually have longer period of infertility after childbirth. Breastfeeding gives mothers a special sense of closeness to her baby and can provide emotional satisfaction. Breastfeeding is convenient. Breast milk needs nothing for its preparation.
Encourage Mother To Breast Feed
Nursing is a skill that takes some practice. To promote and support breast-feeding, the mother’s natural desire to breast feed should always be encouraged by giving, where needed, practical advice and making sure that she has the support from her relatives. Breastfeeding is not something mother should “know” how to do just because she had a baby.
- Adequate care of the breast and nipples should be taken during pregnancy
- It is necessary to put the baby to the breast as soon as possible after the delivery
- Let the mother and her baby stay together after the delivery (in hospital, this is called “rooming-in”)
- The practice of discarding colostrum and giving sugar water, honey water, butter or other concoctions instead of colostrum should be very strongly discouraged
- Let the baby suckle on demand
- Every effort should be made to breastfeed the baby whenever he/she cries
- The mother should always be neat and clean her body and clothes
Breast Feeding and Work
Multi-dimensional support to enable women to work and breastfeed safely and adequately.
- Options to continue feeding at work, promote actions by employers to become Family/Parent/Baby and Mother-Friendly, and to actively facilitate and support employed women to continue breastfeeding their children.
Provide privacy and time off for feeding
- Raise awareness of the need to strengthen related national legislation and implementation in global Maternity Protection entitlements .
- To ensure women’s rights, support women to combine breastfeeding and work, whether in the formal sector, non-formal sector, or at home.