Breast milk the best nu­tri­tion for baby

Bray People - - LIFESTYLE - DR MICHELLE COOPER’S

THE best form of nu­tri­tion for ba­bies, breast milk is the ideal food with the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of pro­teins, fats, car­bo­hy­drate and flu­ids.

BEN­E­FITS FOR BABY

- Re­duces the risk of de­vel­op­ing in­fec­tions such as gas­troen­teri­tis, chest and ear in­fec­tions.

- Re­duces the risk of cot death. Re­search sug­gests that sud­den in­fant death syn­drome is less com­mon in breast fed ba­bies as they are less prone to in­fec­tion.

- De­vel­op­men­tal fac­tors. One study re­ported that per­for­mance in child­hood in­tel­li­gence tests was bet­ter in chil­dren who had been breast­fed.

- Long term-health ad­van­tages. Obe­sity, high blood pres­sure, high choles­terol, eczema, di­a­betes, leukaemia and asthma are less com­mon.

BEN­E­FITS FOR MOTHER

- Health ad­van­tages. Breast­feed­ing moth­ers are less likely to suf­fer from breast can­cer, ovar­ian can­cer, type 2 di­a­betes and post­na­tal de­pres­sion. Weight loss oc­curs more eas­ily af­ter giv­ing birth which is an­other added ad­van­tage.

- Con­ve­nience. Zero prepa­ra­tion time and al­ways avail­able.

- Fi­nan­cial. Breast­feed­ing is free!

COM­MON PROB­LEMS

- Breast dis­com­fort and pain. Breast en­gorge­ment can oc­cur from days 2-7 af­ter giv­ing birth when milk ‘comes in’. Reg­u­lar feed­ing and hand ex­press­ing can help pro­vide re­lief.

- Sore nip­ples are com­monly caused by ex­cess suc­tion when the po­si­tion for breast feed­ing is in­cor­rect. Some­times a thrush in­fec­tion, where the nip­ple be­comes sore, red and cracked, is the cause and ac­cord­ingly your GP can pre­scribe med­i­ca­tion.

- A blocked milk duct can cause a painful and swollen area in the breast. Pain in­creases dur­ing feed­ing as pres­sure builds up be­hind the blocked duct. It usu­ally clears in 1-2 days. Fre­quent feed­ing and gen­tle mas­sage whilst feed­ing may en­cour­age heal­ing. In some cases a blocked duct can progress to mas­ti­tis.

- Mas­ti­tis is an in­fec­tion of the breast where an area of hard­ness, pain, red­ness and swelling de­vel­ops. Moth­ers may also feel un­well and have a tem­per­a­ture. An an­tibi­otic erad­i­cates the in­fec­tion and parac­eta­mol can be taken to help re­lieve pain and tem­per­a­ture.

DIET AND BREAST­FEED­ING

A nor­mal, healthy diet is ad­vised for breast­feed­ing moth­ers. Vi­ta­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion is rec­om­mended for all breast­feed­ing women, as well as breast­fed ba­bies.

INI­TI­AT­ING BREAST­FEED­ING

A trained pro­fes­sional can best in­struct moth­ers on how to latch their ba­bies on cor­rectly. Moth­ers who in­tend on breast­feed­ing should ideally make an ap­point­ment with their GP or prac­tice nurse prior to de­liv­ery in or­der to specif­i­cally dis­cuss breast feed­ing tech­nique.

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