Every ounce counts

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Parenting – Early Childhood Years -

AS a mother, you may have heard that breast milk is the best source of nu­tri­tion for your baby. It is nu­tri­tion­ally bal­anced, pro­vid­ing all the nu­tri­ents your in­fant needs for the first six months of life in the right pro­por­tions. What’s more, it is eas­ily di­gested by your in­fant’s body and in many ways, su­pe­rior to for­mula milk.

Ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing

World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) rec­om­mends that moth­ers ex­clu­sively breast­feed in­fants for the first six months of the child’s life. In ad­di­tion to nu­mer­ous nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits, the phys­i­cal close­ness cul­ti­vates some of the most in­ti­mate mo­ments be­tween you and your lit­tle one.

Here is a look at some of the key ben­e­fits of breast­feed­ing.

For moth­ers, breast­feed­ing en­hances post-par­tum weight loss and helps burn ex­tra calo­ries. It re­duces post-par­tum bleed­ing, help­ing the uterus re­turn to its pre­vi­ous size.

It low­ers the risk of di­a­betes, heart dis­ease, high blood pres­sure and post-par­tum de­pres­sion. It also de­creases the risk of breast cancer and ovar­ian cancer.

For ba­bies, breast milk pro­vides ideal nu­tri­ents for op­ti­mal growth and de­vel­op­ment. It pro­vides an­ti­bod­ies that can pro­tect against al­ler­gies, di­ar­rhoea, ear in­fec­tions and res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions.

Also, ba­bies are less likely to suf­fer from con­sti­pa­tion and stom­ach up­set. Breast milk may also help re­duce the risk of sud­den in­fant death syn­drome.

In­creas­ing milk sup­ply

While breast­feed­ing comes nat­u­rally to women, not all moth­ers 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 and in­fre­quent breast­feed­ing.

First-time nurs­ing moth­ers who strug­gle with low milk sup­ply must keep in mind that breast­feed­ing is a sup­ply-and-de­mand process. The more you breast­feed, the more milk you pro­duce.

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 by stim­u­lat­ing milk ducts of the mam­mary glands. It has an oxy­to­cic ef­fect, which helps with the let-down re­flex and in­crease milk flow. 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 its lac­ta­tion-boost­ing ben­e­fits, red rasp­berry leaf helps re­duce uter­ine swelling and strength­ens the uterus fol­low­ing de­liv­ery, as­sist­ing in post-par­tum re­cov­ery. Blessed this­tle seed en­hances ap­petite and re­lieves in­di­ges­tion in nurs­ing moth­ers while fen­nel aids in di­ges­tion and re­lieves symp­toms of colic in ba­bies.

Breast milk is un­de­ni­ably the best, lov­ing nu­tri­tion you can give your baby. So sit back, cud­dle your baby close and en­joy the bliss­ful mo­ment. This in­for­ma­tional ar­ti­cle is brought to you by Vi­taHealth.

■ For en­quiries, con­tact 1800 183 288.

Breast­feed­ing cul­ti­vates some of the most in­ti­mate mo­ments be­tween a mother and her lit­tle one.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.