What is breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the process of feeding human breast milk to a child, either directly from the breast or by expressing (pumping out) the milk from the breast and bottle-feeding it to the infant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby’s life and continue as often and as much as the baby wants. Mothers may pump milk so that it can be used later when breastfeeding is not possible.
How the breast milk is formed?
The formation of breast milk in pregnant ladies or Infant mothers is called by a term called Lactation and to know how it is formed in our body keep reading.
Early changes in pregnancy prepare the breast for lactation. Before pregnancy, the breast is largely composed of adipose (fat) tissue but under the influence of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and other hormones, the breasts prepare for the production of milk for the baby.
There is an increase in blood flow to the breasts. Pigmentation of the nipples and areola also increases. Size increases as well, but breast size is not related to the amount of milk that the mother will be able to produce after the baby is born.
By the second trimester of pregnancy colostrum, a thick yellowish fluid, begins to be produced in the alveoli and continues to be produced for the first few days after birth until the milk “comes in”, around 30 to 40 hours after delivery.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Research shows that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for infants and mothers, as well as potential economic and environmental benefits for communities.
Breastfeeding provides essential nutrition. Among its other known health benefits are some protection against common childhood infections and better survival during a baby’s first year, including a lower risk of infant death because of low immunity of child against the diseases and harsh external environment.
Research also shows that very early skin-to-skin contact and suckling may have physical and emotional benefits. Other studies suggest that breastfeeding may reduce the risk for certain allergic diseases, asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. It also may help improve an infant’s cognitive development.
How long does the average woman breastfeed?
The World Health Organization and UNICEF have recommended for a decade that mothers breastfeed for at least two years. But most women who nurse stop before their baby is six months old – and many never start at all.
The time it takes to breastfeed depends on a few things including your baby’s age and your breast milk supply. An average feeding can last 10 to 20 minutes, but a baby can breastfeed anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes at each session.
We will continue to talk about pumping & storing breastmilk and also the breastfeeding position of the mother while feeding the infant that will affect the growth and development of the baby in our next post which is the 3rd part of the World Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th august).