The basics of breastfeeding

“A newborn baby has only three demands. They are; warmth in the arms of (his) mother, food from her breasts and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastmilk satisfies all three.”

  • Grantly Dick-Read

The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding until a baby is at least 6 months of age as it is optimal for babies and mothers. Breastmilk is your baby’s first feed and the first means of immunizing your baby against infections and allergies. Breastmilk keeps your baby healthy by supplying them with all the essential nutrients in its required quantities. It has the perfect combination of proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, and fats.

The importance of breastfeeding and its benefits for the mother and child are commonly known and often spoken about. However, there are certainly other aspects of breastfeeding that mother’s or expectant mothers need to know about in order to be able to breastfeed their baby efficiently.

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Body Mechanics and Posture

Body mechanics is a term used to describe the ways we move as we go about our daily lives. It includes how we hold our bodies when we sit, stand, lift, carry, bend, and sleep. Poor body mechanics are often the cause of back problems. When we don’t move correctly and safely, the spine is subjected to abnormal stresses that over time can lead to degeneration of spinal structures like discs and joints, injury, and unnecessary wear and tear.

Standing
Millions of people spend a good deal of their time on their feet. Standing work, including bending, lifting, carrying and reaching can be tough on the back – especially if proper body mechanics are not being used. Use the following guidelines to minimize the risk of injury to your back when working while standing.

  • Avoid standing in one position for prolonged periods of time. Change your position as often as you can. This will not only help relieve stress on your spine, it also helps increase circulation and decrease muscle fatigue. When you can, stretch. Gentle stretching exercises during a break can help ease muscle tightness.
  • Make sure the surface you are standing on is firm and level.
  • If possible, lean on a solid support. This can help reduce fatigue during long periods of standing.

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Bust Breast Myths

Reports from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) shows that 1 per 1000(or 124/ 1 lakh) women develop breast cancer in a year.[1]

A woman’s breasts undergo various changes during the growing years. The breasts, influenced by hormonal changes occurring during the menstrual cycle, degenerate and lead to the formation of debris and fluid collection which feel like lumps. This sensation is common among women and is rather normal, as these lumps are usually benign and disappear on their own with time. Breast cancer develops when one malignant cell in the breast starts multiplying in an uncontrolled manner. Upon division, these cells cause lumps which are felt by the woman if it is on the exterior surface of the breast. If the lump is small and deep within, it is difficult to be felt with bare hands.

Breast cancer is said to be caused by a combination of factors including, stress, smoking, drinking, age, genetic factors, unhealthy lifestyle etc. However, all these factors in combination need not necessarily be causative of breast cancer, even one of them can cause the condition. Women these days are aware of the condition, and even its causes. Yet they tend to disregard the importance of early detection and screening. October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in order to create awareness about the condition and early detection.

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Your questions on Breast Cancer answered

Since what age should women start a breast examination?

Breast cancer is one such cancer that can be cured if detected and treated during initial stages. It is extremely important for women to know what their breasts look and feel like normally so that they are able to differentiate in case of any changes. Breast cancer can happen to women across all age groups, although a majority of the cases of breast cancer occur in women over 40 years of age. However irrespective of the age, women should be aware of their body and its changes. Diagnosing breast cancer in women under 40 years of age is difficult because the breast tissue during that age is much denser than in older women. However self-breast examinations must be done once a month and can be done by women in their 20’s as well. During the teens, women tend to feel lumps in the breast which is quite normal as the breasts are developing and the lumps normally disappear on their own gradually. However, if the lump gets bigger in size or causes pain/discomfort it is better to consult a specialist in order to understand the cause.

A self-breast examination should be done by women whose breasts are fully developed (post-adolescence). Beginning the practice early will help women create a habit out of it and they will become much more familiar with their breasts and can address any changes that the breast undergoes. The self-examination should be done after the days of mensuration as during those days the breasts tend to be swollen. At a younger age, regular examination at frequent intervals is recommended in order to rule out any health condition. Mammograms are not recommended for women below 40 years of age because of the dense breast tissue women have at a younger age, hence mammograms may not be extremely efficient. Women over 40 years of age should screen themselves annually. In case of women who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer; i.e. women who have a family history of breast cancer, women who started menstruating before 12 years of age, women with poor lifestyle habits, women diagnosed with benign breast conditions previously etc. it is recommended to consult a specialist who would be able to advise on the right time to begin mammogram screening.

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Everything you wanted to know about Breast Cancer

On an average 1 in 8 women suffer from the risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. The World Health Organization states that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.[1] In the UAE alone, breast cancer is one the top 5 cancers, and the leading cause of deaths caused by cancer.

Breast cancer is most commonly found in women over 40 years of age. However, the condition may also be caused in younger girls/teens, although the incidence is rather low. Women at different ages suffer from the risk of developing the condition and are differentiated based on various risk factors.

For a long time, the topic of breast cancer has been considered taboo and women often shy away from talking about it. In order to create awareness about breast cancer and bust common myths surrounding the condition, listed below are a few frequently asked questions and commonly misunderstood facts about breast cancer.

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