In spite of all the difficulties mother faces, she should feed her child for as long as possible. Do not be in a hurry, to start top milk. It is the practice that most offices to grant 3 months maternity leave. A minimum of 40 days is always granted. This period allows the mother to breast feed her child. Even after resuming work the mother should feed her child whenever she is at home (early morning, late evening and at night. Instead of weaning the child from the breast, experimenting with spoon honeyed water or water boiled with sugar and capparis trifolia or even breast milk extracted should be given with a spoon. Following this, if the mother is going to be away at work for long periods of time, it becomes necessary to start on top milk (cow, buffalo or powdered milk). Even so, breast feeds should be continued every morning and every night.
It is not right to deny the child mother’s milk merely on the basis of imagined difficulties. The importance of mother’s milk lies not only in its nutritive goodness but also in its immunizing potential. It is well armed with white blood cells to keep away allergy and disease and consequently, dreaded diseases like diarrhea, fever, cold, polio. Even a few drops of breast milk are beneficial to the baby.
Nursing or lactation is the period after childbirth, being a time of bonding between mother and baby, nursing serves certain biological and physiological needs of both of them. While the mother’s eating pattern need not necessarily changer, her nutritional requirements will increase – both in quantity and in some cases, in frequency.
A nursing mother needs good nutrition: The diet during the nursing stage is very important both for the mother and the infant. Good nutrition improves the quality and quantity of breast milk and should ensure that the nursing mother has her full nutritional intake, to avoid depleting natural body stores leading to deficiencies like osteoporosis, which can occur due to an insufficient intake of calcium. Certain aspects of the mother’s diet have a direct impact on the infant. For example, iodine intake in the mother’s diet ensures proper mental development in the infant and vitamin A is required to improve the infant’s immunity system, thereby protecting the baby against infections.
Guard against An Inadequate Diet: The inadequate diet of a nursing mother can cause a deterioration in her health and could also lead to malnourishment in the infant. The quantity of the breast milk produced will be reduced and will have fewer nutrients. The amount of protective nutrients such as anti-microbial proteins in the breast milk will also be reduced, thereby exposing the infant to infections. Due to insufficient intake of calories and nutrients, the baby’s growth and development will be affected.
A baby’s only way to let you know that he wants or needs something done for him is by crying. He may be hungry, cold or too warm; he may be wet or just plain bored. You will soon learn to recognize the cry of hunger from other kinds of cries. His napkin may need changing, a pin may be poking him or the clothes may be uncomfortable and tight. If he has been fed a little while ago, he may need burping. An air bubble may be bothering him. Many babies fuss and whimper when they are tired and go off to sleep when held in the lap or put in the cot.
If the weather is hot, he might be thirsty and will quieten down if you give him some water, but if nothing seems to soothe him, give him a feed. He may just be hungry, even though he may have had a feed a short while ago. A hungry baby will suck vigorously from breast or bottle and go off to sleep, or start playing after the feed. If he cries incessantly and nothing seems to soothe him, he may be having pain in his stomach or ear and you should consult your doctor.
Don’t be afraid of spoiling your baby: Some mothers let the baby go on crying and do not pick him up for fear that he may get spoilt. All babies need attention and need to be comforted when they are uncomfortable. They stop crying when picked up or talked to. This is not spooling but just giving the baby the attention he needs.
Human milk is ideally suited to the development needs of the human baby. The needs of the offspring of different types of animals are similarly met by their own mother’s milk. The formula of human milk is different from that of animal milk. All our village mothers’ breast feed for their babies and do not even consider an alternative, but somehow one finds that the educated urban mother often complains that she does not have enough milk and even though she says she wants to breast feed her baby, she soon resorts to a bottle because she believes her milk is not enough.
Why is this so? Why is it that the simple village woman who is probably less well nourished than the urban mother, is able to successfully breast feed her baby while the other thinks she cannot? The first one knows no alternative; breast feeding comes naturally to her. She feeds the baby wherever she is, whether at home or visiting friends, alone or in company. Even though breast milk secretion is governed by hormones, the hormones in turn are governed by the mother’s emotion, desire and the joy of being able to feed the baby. Her own desire and motivation seem to be the key.
Unfortunately, the casual attitude of doctors and nurses to breast feeding does not encourage the mother to breast feed her baby or give her sufficient confidence in her ability to breast feed. The minute the mother poses a problem, the alternative of bottle feeding is suggested. As soon as the baby cries, it is assumed that the mother’s milk is not enough and the bottle is offered immediately.