Breastfeeding is the best way to feed the newborn from the earliest hours.
Breast milk is of exceptional nutritional value, proven to be rich in vitamins and antibodies that shape and enhance the immune system of the newborn. Nature has ensured the production of each woman’s breast milk proportionate to the needs of the infant regardless of the size of her breasts, which does not affect the ability to produce breast milk at all. Breastfeeding and breast milk contribute to the good health of both mother and baby while being a reliable way of feeding and absolutely safe for the environment.
The breast is a mammary gland that is affected by the elevated levels of estrogen during pregnancy with an increase in weight by about 400 grams. The breast includes: the nipple, the areola, i.e. the dark area around the nipple and the surrounding skin. Starting from as early as the first months of pregnancy, the areola becomes larger and darker so that the newborn can recognize it better.
During breastfeeding, the pituitary gland releases two hormones: prolactin and oxytocin, which are transported to the breast via the bloodstream. Prolactin helps produce milk in the lobules, while oxytocin stimulates the let-down of breastmilk to the milk ducts and the nipple. The newborn pulls the nipple in its mouth and then holds it with its tongue and pushes it upwards to squirt the milk into the back of its oral cavity and swallow it.
In each breastfeeding, especially in the first couple of months, both breasts should be offered to the infant. At about 10 minutes of breastfeeding, the infant consumes about 2/3 of the milk. A breastfeeding session lasts on average about 20-30 minutes, but it should be noted that in several cases, in the first postpartum period some mothers may need to breastfeed for a little longer if the baby has not yet familiarized with the nipples which could delay the swallowing process.
The sooner the newborn is placed on the breast after delivery and the more often it breastfeeds, the faster the colostrum (the first milk that the newborn receives, extremely rich in antibodies) and then the normal milk (usually three days after the birth) are produced.
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of the infant’s life.
Apart from the emotional benefits of breastfeeding, both for the newborn and for the mother, there is a number of additional benefits of breastfeeding for both.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby:
- It boosts the immune system.
- It delays the development of celiac disease.
- It protects from developing Crohn’s disease.
- It reduces the probability of insulin-dependent diabetes.
- It prevents allergies.
- It reduces the likelihood of lymphoma.
- It raises the baby’s IQ.
Breast milk is the best baby food:
- It contains the ideal ratio of all the essential nutrients required by the infant for its proper development.
- It does not need any special preparation, it is available immediately, upon demand and at the right temperature.
- It promotes the child’s natural development.
- It protects the infant from infections and allergies.
Benefits for the mother:
- It reduces the likelihood of breast cancer.
- It protects against endometrial cancer and urinary tract infections.
- It enables faster recovery of the uterus to the condition it was before pregnancy.
- Easier loss of weight gained during pregnancy.
It is economical.