As a mother, you may have heard that breast milk is the best source of nutrition you can give your baby. It offers your newborn a healthy start that will last right into adulthood. Nutritionally, breast milk has a perfect combination of prime nutrients uniquely tailored to meet infants’ needs for the first six months of life. This living fluid also contains enzymes, hormones and growth factors which cannot be replicated in commercially-prepared formulas.
What makes breast milk superior?
- Provides the right balance of nutrition for healthy growth and development
- Nutritional profile changes with the baby’s growing needs
- More easily digested and absorbed
- Always the right temperature
- Readily available any time
Why is breastfeeding best for you and your baby?
Breastfeeding does much more than just providing milk – it is a nurturing way to nurse for comfort, closeness and security. Here is a look at some of the key health benefits breastfeeding offers both mother and baby.
Here is a look at some of the key benefits breastfeeding offers both mother and baby.
- Enhances postpartum weight loss and helps burn extra calories
- Reduces postpartum bleeding, helping the uterus return to its previous size
- Lowers the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure and postpartum depression
- Decreases the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer
- Provides ideal nutrients for optimal growth and development
- Less likely to suffer from constipation and stomach upset
- Contains antibodies that can protect against allergies, diarrhea, ear infections and respiratory tract infections
- Helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome
In addition to its numerous nutritional benefits, the physical closeness provides a magical bonding between you and your little one.
World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations
- Exclusive breastfeeding (no other food or water) for the first six months
- Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
- Breastfeeding on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night
- No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers
Are you producing sufficient milk?
While breastfeeding comes naturally to women, not all mothers have the capacity to produce sufficient milk for their babies. Low milk production may be due to:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Consumption of birth control pills
- Hormonal changes
- Improper latching position of the baby
- Infrequent breastfeeding
How to increase your milk supply?
For first-time nursing mothers who struggle with low milk supply, do not give up just yet! Remember, breastfeeding is a supply-and-demand process. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you produce.
While you are breastfeeding, be sure to get the right nutrients to support your milk supply so you can give the best start to your baby. A large number of herbal preparations has a long history of use as galactagogues to significantly increase milk production and let down in nursing mothers.
You can consider taking herbal remedies to naturally boost your milk supply. Fenugreek seed is one of the most potent galactagogues for increasing milk production. It works by stimulating milk ducts of the mammary glands. It also facilitates the regaining of infant birth weight in early postnatal days.
Other noteworthy herbs include red raspberry leaf, blessed thistle seed and fennel. In addition to their lactation-boosting benefits, red raspberry leaf helps reduce uterine swelling and strengthen the uterus following delivery, assisting in postpartum recovery. Blessed thistle seed enhances appetite and relieves indigestion in nursing mothers while fennel aids in digestion and relieves symptoms of colic in babies.
Your breast milk gives your little one the best start in life and provides an intimate bonding that no other experience can replace. So sit back, cuddle your baby close, and enjoy the blissful moment.