Beginning to breast-feed
The very act of cradling your little one close to your body while feeding strengthens the deep, intangible emotional bond between you and your baby because of its similarity with the foetal position, which provides maximum comfort and a sense of security. This is probably why the baby stops crying immediately as soon as you start feeding.
Once you start breast-feeding (lactating), for the first day or two, a yellowish, translucent fluid called colostrum is secreted instead of breast milk. This fluid is rich in antibodies that build and strengthen your baby's immune system. Colostrum is also rich in proteins that are vital for your baby's growth, and since it is satiating it ensures that your baby sleeps soundly for longer hours during the first few days. This is nature’s way of letting you recover from labour.
Components of mother’s milk
Within the next three or four days, this yellowish liquid transforms into mature milk, which will provide complete nourishment to your baby in the months to come. It is divided into two components - fore milk and hind milk, both of which have specific purposes to serve.
Fore milk, as the name suggests, is secreted at the beginning of the feed and the hind milk towards the end. Fore milk is thinner, rich in protein, lactose, vitamins, minerals, water and low in fats. Fore milk is extremely important as it provides all the above nutrients that are vital for babies, at the same time quenching their thirst. This eliminates the need to feed any other liquid to your little one for the first six months.
Hind milk is thicker, more opaque, abounds in fats, and will satiate the baby's hunger. Hence, mother’s milk is a complete meal in itself and takes complete care of your baby’s nourishment. It is important to allow babies to suckle on each breast till they have their fill of the hind milk, and leave the breast of their own will.
Feeding can be one of the most enjoyable aspects of early parenthood. It is a special time together, inspiring warmth and security, and builds an enduring bond between you and your bundle of joy. In a busy household, it provides you an occasion to relax and also revel in your tiny creation.
Mother’s milk is Nature’s elixir
For the initial six months, mother’s milk serves as a natural and complete food for babies. Here, let us look at why it is considered a wonder food…
• Breast milk is the purest and most complete form of nourishment for your baby, provided by Mother Nature at just the right temperature that your baby will find comforting.
• As breast milk does not demand any pre-preparations in terms of heating and cleaning, the chances of contamination of milk decreases.
• The chances of overfeeding are also less as babies are naturally tuned to stop drinking once they have had their fill.
• Mother’s milk is rich in antibodies, which increase the immunity of babies, protecting them from cold, cough, influenza, etc.
• Breast milk contains a protein called lactalbumin, and an enzyme called amylase, that aid in digestion and convert the milk into a soft curd that is easily digested by newborns.
• A breast-fed baby will also have a reduced likelihood of allergic reactions, as the proteins present in breast milk are less likely to cause allergies.
• Lactose is a form of sugar present in breast milk, which enhances the absorption of vital nutrients like calcium and magnesium.
• Breast milk is easily available for your baby at any time and any place. It is ready to drink, and thus the chances of preparing incorrect formula are less.
• Apart from this, the action of sucking milk from the breast promotes the development of jaw and facial muscles of your baby.
Breast milk contains all the essential nutrients for your baby in just the right quantities, making it the universally recommended food for infants up to the age of six months. Now, let us get into the specific details.
Other related articles on this :
Daily Food Guide for Toddlers
Guide to Weaning
Best food for feeding Mothers to get more milk
When and how much to feed your Baby
Recipes for Baby (10 to 12 Months)
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