A new baby changes life forever. Throughout your baby's upbringing, you will make many decisions that affect your baby's life. Unlike many other possible complicated decisions, breastfeeding is the natural and undoubtedly one of the best decisions you can make for the baby. Breastfeeding has been endorsed by World Health Organization as well as scientific organizations as the best way to feed your infant. It is recommended that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of their life; they should receive complementary foods thereafter with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
So what makes breast milk so unique? Breast milk is an amazing substance that cannot be duplicated by any artificial technology. It is a natural first food for babies. However, it has been seen that adolescent mothers could be more vulnerable to discontinuing exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) before 6 months and that their mothers may exert a negative influence on this practice.
AdvertisementHence, a randomized clinical trial was conducted in adolescent mothers and grandmothers to see the effect of counseling on the duration of exclusive breastfeeding. This study was published in the Nutrition Journal.
In the study, 323 adolescent new mothers and their mothers were included in the study. There were five counselling sessions for some of the mother and grandmother pairs, in the maternity hospital and on follow-up.
At the end of the study, it was concluded that counselling sessions in the first four months of children's lives proved to be effective in increasing EBF duration among adolescent mothers.
Benefits of breastfeeding for babies:
Contains an ideal balance of nutrients that is easily digested by an infant.
Contains substances essential for optimal development of the infant's brain, with effects on cognitive as well as sensory functions.
Changes over the course of time, to meet the changing requirements of the growing child.
Reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea or pneumonia.
Provides the infant with immune factors which aids in fighting allergens, illnesses and chronic diseases.
Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers:
Helps to space children.
Reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
Controls postpartum bleeding.
Helps you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy more quickly.
Slows down the return of your period.
Initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life.
Do not give any supplemental feeds which includes even water unless it is medically indicated.
Breastfeed on demand i.e., as often as the child wants, day and night.
Do not use bottles or pacifiers.
Here are some dietary tips that a mother should adopt while breastfeeding:
Follow a healthy balanced diet.
Eat a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables.
Include proteins such as meat, fishes, pulses in your diet.
Eat a variety of different foods.
Keep yourself well hydrated with water and fruit or vegetable juices.
Avoid consumption of caffeinated drinks or alcohol during breastfeeding.
Breastfeed your baby for that wonderful bonding experience, one that you are bound to cherish forever!
1. Counselling sessions increased duration of exclusive breastfeeding: a randomized clinical trial with adolescent mothers and grandmothers, Nutrition Journal - http://www.nutritionj.com/content/13/1/73/abstract
2. Breastfeeding tips, information and advice - http://www.babycenter.com/breastfeeding-basics