Breastfeeding and It’s Importance

breastfeeding and its importance
breastfeeding and its importance

Breastfeeding is defined as the nursing of a newborn child by the mother feed for two years or more. Exclusive breastfeeding termed breastfeeding for 6 months to an infant. No prelacteal feed (any feed before mother milk) should be given to the infant. Only breastfeed is enough for an infant for 6 months, not even plain water is needed. Breast milk is the ideal food a baby gets on birth and is only the way of the baby’s survival. Globally, after the marketing of formula milk, it has been noticed that the ratio to practice breastfeeding is decreasing rapidly, mainly in urban areas where mothers are attracted to the ads of different brands with fascinating commercials, claiming their product is way better than Human milk which is absolutely false.

What is Colostrum?

Colostrum is the mother’s first milk produced by the mammary glands of mammal, usually of yellow color and a bit oily, containing immunity-boosting properties and antibodies to give protection against infectious and bacterial diseases to infant.

It is composed of less lactose and high fat, proteins, antibodies, vitamins, minerals, hormones, and growth factors than mature milk. It secretes for almost the first 3 days of lactation and its production decreases gradually changing into mature milk.

The majorly present antibody in colostrum is Immunoglobin A (IgA), which is considering as a first-line defense of the human body. This nutrient-rich fluid is way too important for newborns as it helps in: good immunity, growth promotion, well-established body’s defense mechanism, to reduce the risk of deficiencies, and a lot more.

Importance of Breastfeeding:

  • For Infants:

Breast milk keeps your baby safe from allergies, indigestion, illness, and obesity. It also helps to protect from diseases like diabetes mellitus, hypertension, jaundice, stomachache, and other infections. It helps in brain development and healthy growth not only mentally but also physically. It also reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and childhood cancer (lymphoma).

  • For Mothers:

It protects from breast cancer, ulceration, uterine cancer, postpartum depression, and diabetes. It also helps to maintain a strong psychological warm bond between mother and child.  Promote weight loss and shrinkage of the uterus. Also, promote birth spacing.

Why we shouldn’t give Babies Water to Drink?

Breast milk is already composed of 80% water which is enough to fulfill the baby’s hydration requirement. As baby’s organs are not functional enough so that the kidneys and other organs too cannot process other liquids or feedings other than breast milk for 6 months.

Excess water consumption can also lead to hyponatremia or water intoxification.


Types and Composition of Human Breast Milk:

  1. Colostrum
  2. Transitional milk
  3. Mature milk
  • Colostrum/ Early Milk: rich in antibodies, yellowish in colour, produced till 4th day of lactation.
  • Transitional milk: produced from day 4th to 10th and lower in protein content as compared to colostrum.
  • Mature milk: produced almost after 10 days of lactation up until the termination of breastfeeding.
Type (in 100ml)Protein (g)Carbohydrates (g)Fats (g)Calories (kcals)
Transitional milk2.55.5-6.63.260-80
Mature milk1.1-1.573.5-4.565-70

Outpoured milk in one feeding classified as:

  • Foremilk: Early milk that is secreted at the beginning of the feeding containing high lactose, proteins, and water (for baby’s thirst satisfaction).
  • Hind milk: Late milk comes later about 5 min after foremilk and is rich in fat content and provides more energy and satisfies the baby’s hunger.
Breastfeeding Foremilk and Hindmilk
breastfeeding foremilk and hindmilk

Difference between milks:

Human milkAnimal milkFormula milk
Bacterial contaminationn/alikelyLikely when prepared
Anti infective particlespresentNot presentNot present
Growth factorspresentNot presentNot present
ProteinsEasy to digest correct amountToo much amount Hard to digestPartially corrected
FatsEssential fatty acids pressed with lipase to digest easilyLack essential fatty acid and lipase tooLack essential fatty acid and lipase too
IronWell absorbed Enough amount that is neededNot well absorbed Small amountExtra added Not well absorbed
VitaminsEnoughNot enough A and CArtificial added
WaterEnoughExtra neededMay need extra

Rules of Breastfeeding:

  • Secure skin to skin contact of mother and child.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months.
  • Introduce complementary feed after 6 months with breastfeeding for 2 years.
  • Notice the actions when the baby feels hungry.
  • Feed baby after every 1-2 hour or when the baby demands.
  • Other than medical reasons do not feed your baby with anything other than your breast milk.
  • Don’t use bottles, cups or pacifiers.
  • At least one daily nap feeding for mother and baby.

Risks of Artificial Feeding:

  • Interferes with mother and child bonding
  • More allergy issues
  • Obesity
  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin/ mineral deficiency
  • More likely to die
  • More diarrhea or respiratory infection
  • Lower brain development
  • Compromised metabolism
  • Hinder organ growth and functionality

Dietary Advice for a Lactating Mother:

  • 8 glasses of water a day
  • Complex carbohydrate consumption
  • Restriction to junk food, colas, and other beverages
  • 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetable daily
  • Take your dairy on time, most importantly yogurt as it contains good digestive bacteria.
  • Oatmeal, quinoa, legumes, and beans are a superfood that gives you full energy to stay active.
  • Avoid excess sugar consumption.
  • Exercise regularly, more likely to do yoga.
  • Maintain hygiene.
  • Take good fats like omega 3 and 6 daily.

Breastfeeding Positions:

Breastfeeding positions are introduced for the ease of mother and child to stay in the comfort zone. There are some positions that you can practice:

  • Cradle hold
  • Cross-cradle hold/ transition hold
  • Clutch/ Football hold
  • Laidback position
  • Nursing in a sling
  • Side-lying position
  • Upright hold/koala hold

While choosing any of the breastfeeding position, make sure that:

  • Baby is comfy so you’re.
  • There is a proper latching while feeding
  • Watch if it is hard for the baby to suck, it won’t you nipple sore.
  • Your body is clean
  • The baby shouldn’t be disturbed while feeding.
Breastfeeding Positions
Breastfeeding Positions


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