Things you may not know about breastfeedingAlthough you don’t seem to see many mums breastfeeding in public, there are many of us out there breastfeeding for many reasons. Though there is no right or wrong you have to do what you think is best for your baby, to give them the best start in life. No one has the right to say you are wrong whatever you decide.
Since I have begun my training as a breastfeeding support worker, I have learnt many new things that I never knew with reference to the benefits of breastfeeding and why it can play such a vital part of the start of a baby’s life, but also how it can make a difference to mum as well.
The fluid produced in the first few days is colostrum, this is full of all the required nutrients in a very concentrated and low volume form, as a new-borns digestive system is very small, and can’t cope with large volumes of liquid. It also has a mild laxative effect which helps baby to pass its first stool (meconium) in turn helping to prevent jaundice. The colostrum contains antibodies known as immunoglobulin’s (IgA. IgG. And IgM) also contains lactoferrin, lysozyme, lacto peroxidase and prolin-rich polypeptides (PRP). Colostrum also contains many growth factors, which stimulate the development of the gut. It is rich in proteins, vitamin A and sodium chloride, however contains lower amounts of carbohydrates, lipids and potassium than normal milk. The colostrum is very important in developing the infants gut and immune system.
DID YOU KNOW?!
Skin to skin contact afterbirth, (and throughout your time as a mum) helps in the first instances of breastfeeding, as well as forming a good secure bond with your baby. Much research is now being done into Kangaroo care- http://www.kangaroomothercare.com/whatis03.htm which has many benefits for the infant. It is amazing how as a mum your body will naturally respond to your newborn. Whilst being skin to skin if you lay your baby between your breast they will after some time naturally find their way to your breast in order to feed, (it does take some time)
Skin to skin contact encourages the release of oxytocin helping to keep mum calm and helps the production of breastmilk. Breastfeeding in turn releases hormones which help the uterus to contract leading to less blood loss after delivery.
You may have noticed some pimples around the nipple, and probably wondered as I did what they were!! These secrete the same smell as the amniotic fluid which encourages the baby to feed.
Breastmilk is designed to meet your baby’s requirements, so as your baby develops and grows naturally what they need from the milk will also change, and so your body will produce the milk that the baby needs.
Breastmilk is much easier for babies to digest, which means that they are less likely to suffer from colic and constipation, as well as gastroenteritis , vomiting and other stomach complaints.
Breast milk is best or the babies immune system, and helps to protect against allergies asthma, eczema and infections.
Breast milk contains HAMLET cells. In studies it has been found that these HAMLET cells (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumour cell) kill cancer cells in the bodyExperiments have shown that this cell can kill 40 different types of cancer! Leading to a reduced risk of childhood cancers. http://www.healthcanal.com/cancers/7156.html
Recent reseach is showing that breastfeeding for at last six months has an effect on the mental wellbeing of the child on a longer term basis. The breastfed children tend to be calmer and more relaxed than bottle fed children.
Breast milk is lower in fat that formula milk, and thus leads to a lower risk of childhood obesity
DHA - docosahexaenoic acid and ARA arachidonic acid are contained in breastmilk. DHA is a type of fat, this fatty acid is found in abundance in the brain and in the retinal photoreceptors in the eyes. Research shows that this in the mothers milk benefits the baby’s cognative and visual growth. ARA another type of fatty acid is important in the development of the nervous system. http://www.cornucopia.org/DHA/DHA_QuestionsAnswers.pdf