Breast Feeding; Benefit,Effect and How to Stop it

Breast Feeding; Benefit,Effect and How to Stop it

Breast Feeding; Breast feeding also known as nursing, is the feeding of babies and young children with milk from a woman’s breast. Health professionals recommend that breastfeeding begin within the first hour of a baby is put to birth and continue as often till up to period of 2years.

Breast Feeding

During the first few weeks a baby is put to birth, babies may nurse roughly every two to three hours. The duration of a feeding is usually ten to fifteen minutes on each breast. Older children feed less often. Mothers may pump milk so that it can be used later when breastfeeding is not possible. Breastfeeding has a number of benefits to both mother and baby, which infant formula lacks. Deaths of an estimated 820,000 children under the age of five could be prevented globally every year with increased breastfeeding. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of respiratory tract infections and diarrhea, both in developing and developed countries. Other benefits include the risks of asthma, food allergies, celiac disease, and leukemia.

Breastfeeding may also improve cognitive development and decrease the risk of obesity in adulthood. Mothers may feel pressure to breastfeed, but in the developed world children generally grow up normally when bottle fed. Benefits for the mother include less blood loss following delivery, better uterus shrinkage, weight loss, and less postpartum depression. Breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation and fertility, a phenomenon known as lactation amenorrhea. Long term benefits for the mother include decreased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Breastfeeding is less expensive than infant formula.

Health organizations, including World Health Organization (WHO), recommend breastfeeding exclusively for six months. This means that no other foods or drinks other than possibly vitamin D are typically given. After the introduction of foods at six months of age, recommendations include continued breastfeeding until at least one to two years of age. Globally about 38% of infants are only breastfeed during their first six months of life. In the United States, about 75% of women begin breastfeeding and about 13% only breastfeed until the age of six months. Medical conditions that do not allow breastfeeding are rare. Mothers who take certain recreational drugs and medications should not breastfeed. Changes early in pregnancy prepare the breast for lactation. Pre-birth hormone levels become altered after the birth and stimulate the production of milk. About 2 to 3 days before the birth the breasts begin to produce the fore milk or colostrum. This sometimes described as “the milk coming in”. In about three to five days, the normal and expected milk forms. Sucking causes the pituitary to release oxytocin that causes to the contraction of the uterus. Progesterone is the hormone that influences the growth of breast tissue before the birth. The postpartum changes that occur in the endocrine system after the birth shift from hormones that prevent lactation to hormones that trigger milk production. This can be felt by the mother in the breasts.

The crying of the infant can induce the release of oxytocin from the pituitary gland. Breast milk is made from nutrients in the mother’s bloodstream and bodily stores. Breast milk has an optimal balance of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby’s growth and development. Breastfeeding triggers biochemical reactions which allows for the enzymes, hormones, growth factors and immunologic substances to effectively defend against infectious diseases for the infant. The breast milk also has long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which help with normal retinal and neural development. Because breastfeeding requires an average of 500 calories a day, it helps the mother lose weight after giving birth. According to studies cited by UNICEF, babies naturally follow a process which leads to a first breastfeed. Initially after birth the baby cries with its first breaths. Shortly after, it relaxes and makes small movements of the arms, shoulders and head. The baby crawls towards the breast and begins to feed. After feeding, it is normal for a baby to remain latched to the breast while resting. This is sometimes mistaken for lack of appetite. Absent interruptions, all babies follow this process. Rushing or interrupting the process, such as removing the baby to weigh him/her, may complicate subsequent feeding. Activities such as weighing, measuring, bathing, needle-sticks, and eye prophylaxis wait until after the first feeding.”

Children who are born preterm have difficulty in initiating breast feeds immediately after birth. By convention, such children are often feed on expressed breast milk or other supplementary feeds through tubes or bottles until they develop satisfactory ability to suck breast milk. Tube feeding, though commonly used, is not supported by scientific evidence as of October 2016. It has also been reported in the same systematic review that by avoiding bottles and using cups instead to provide supplementary feeds to preterm children, a greater extent of breast feeding for a longer duration can subsequently be achieved.

Breast Feeding

You can breastfeed your baby for as long as you wish but there may come a time when you want to stop. This article will enlighten you on how to stop breast feed your child;

Breastfeeding always provides a nutritious drink and a time for closeness and connection, no matter how old your baby or child is. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond. The longer you breastfeed, the more the good health effects will be for you and your child. However, the important thing is to do what feels right for you and your baby.

If you decide to leave it up to your child to stop, without taking the initiative yourself, you can expect this to happen gradually, stopping breastfeeding over a long time lasting months or more. Your child’s feeding sessions get shorter and more infrequent, until they finally stop completely.  If the time comes when you decide to stop breastfeeding instead, then there are ways to make it easier for both of you.

There is only one way to stop breast feeding a child and that could be done through weaning.

WEANING: is the process of gradually introducing a mammal infant to what will be its adult diet and withdrawing the supply of its mother’s milk. You might decide to stop breastfeeding when or before your baby reaches 6 or 12 months. For example, you might find that you start thinking about weaning when you’re getting ready to return to work. Your baby might even start weaning before you’re ready, but this is less common. When you’re stopping breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to take it slowly. This way your baby can get used to the change in routine and diet, and your body can get used to no longer making milk. If the decision to wean is yours rather than your baby’s, you might need to offer some extra comfort as you make the transition to bottle-feeding or drinking from a cup. This decision depends on your baby’s age if your baby is around 7-8 months, he could learn to drink straight from a cup. The age of your baby also determines whether to replace the breastfeeds with infant formula or cow’s milk, babies younger than 12 months shouldn’t be offered cow’s milk, so they need to be weaned onto formula.

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