“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.
Stages Of Breastmilk:
The mother’s body will produce breastmilk when the time comes and the body is ready. Breastmilk has 3 stages. The first milk that is released from the breast is called the ‘colostrum’. Colostrum is the yellow/golden liquid when is the perfect first food for your baby. It is considered to be the child’s first dose of immunization containing the essential proteins, vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobins. The next milk is called ‘transitional milk’ which is some amount of colostrum combined with breast milk. The last stage of breast milk is known as mature milk which is made up of water, carbs, proteins, leukocytes, uric acid, urea, and fat.
Signs That Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breastmilk:
New moms are always concerned if their child is getting sufficient breast milk. A new mom should know of a few signs to be noted that will help understand if her child is feeding enough. A newborn baby should be fed 8-12 times per day and the baby must have an approximate of 6-8 wet diapers in a day once the breastfeeding schedule is established. Also if you are able to hear the baby sucking and swallowing milk you can understand that the baby is feeding appropriately.
Storage Of Breastmilk:
In today’s time and age, most mothers have to resume work a month after their delivery and find the need to collect and store their breast milk as they will be separated from their infants. A breast pump will help a mother to store extract and store her milk for future use, allowing the baby to feed even when the mother is not around. Storage of breast milk is always a query in the minds of mothers, how to store breastmilk, for how long can breast milk be stored etc. are frequently asked questions.
Expressed breastmilk can be stored in an insulated cooler bag with ice cubes/ice packs for 1 day (not refrigerated). Unless being used immediately, refrigerate the milk immediately after expressing. Breastmilk can be refrigerated/frozen, the milk can be refrigerated for 5 days at about 40degrees Fahrenheit, if being frozen it can last up to two weeks at 0-5 degree Fahrenheit. When using breastmilk should be warmed in a container with lukewarm water and if unused the milk has to be discarded.
Breastfeeding is the first step towards mother and child bonding, however, in some cases, mothers will be unable to breastfeed their baby or may voluntarily choose not to continue breastfeeding even until 6 months of age. In such cases the mother can still use her breastmilk by expressing her milk, spoon feeds the baby or use a feeding dropper.
Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Aster Clinic, International City