Nursing the infant with your breasts is commonly known as breastfeeding. Breastfeeding your baby is considered the most beneficial and safest way of feeding. It is highly recommended by WHO to breastfeed your baby exclusively for six months at least as It’s beneficial for both the mother and baby. Researches have shown that women who feed their newborn, have lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Also the children are likely to be more intelligent, the rate of obesity is lower and they’re less prone to diabetes.
Breast Milk contains so many naturally gifted magical properties, that humans can hardly make something close to it. Breast Milk contains antibodies which develop the newborn’s immune system and act as a defensive shield against the common infections and viral loads. Studies have shown that our diet and the food we eat have a direct relationship with what we produce in our milk. Sometimes women suffer from poor milk production. They are mostly advised to use herbal lactation supplements, lactation cookies, bars to have a steady supply of milk which is of supreme quality as well.
The confinement food is the food that is prepared during this confinement period.
Breast milk stages
The breast size, shape, and color of the nipple all starts to change gradually when the woman gets pregnant. As the time comes near to deliver the baby, bust size increases to almost double. Nipples turn dark, stiff and sore. Yes! They are on work now to produce milk. So, therefore breast milk is divided into three different phases which are connected with each other. They transit naturally according to the baby’s needs. These stages vary from one person to another. This is a natural process and it takes place by itself. These stages are known as colostrum, transitional milk and mature milk. I will highlight all the three phases further through this article.
It is referred to as the first type of breast milk. It starts secreting during the last trimester of pregnancy and the first few days after delivering the baby. It surely makes your breast heavy, large and sometimes wet when pressed hard or sucked. Thus, it is just present for 2-3 days only. Although, it is very small in amount, yet it is sufficient for your newborn. If you have a low supply of milk, you can include herbal lactation supplements to boost the volume of milk. You can also use a breast pump to increase milk supply.
Colostrum is thick, sticky and yellow in appearance. Doctors name it as ‘liquid gold’ just because it is characterized with so many powerful nutrients and advantageous components. It is fully loaded with antibodies (IgG, IgM, IgA),fats, proteins (lactoferrin),immune, growth, tissue repair factors and the list is long. Lactoferrin is a protein present in milk that has immune properties which helps in iron absorption. Also, it has a natural mild laxative which helps in clearing excessive bile from the blood which minimizes the signs of jaundice. The first thick black stool is due to this reason.
It usually occurs between 5-7 days after the baby is born. It lasts to an extent of 10 to 14 days only. Basically it acts as a passage(link) between the colostrum and the last stage that’s mature milk. Transitional milk is less dense, the color is also gradually changing and getting lighter. It has lower levels of immunoglobulin and protein levels than colostrum. Though few elements of milk have certainly decreased but few have improved as per baby needs. This form of milk has more lactose, sugar, fat and water soluble vitamins following an increase in calories, also this milk is more in amount than colostrum and so sometimes the breasts are pretty full and feel stiff and hard.
You can always express milk to relax them and increase milk supply. Feeding duration and frequency is surely growing. The baby is fed at least for like 10 to 14 times a day. In early weeks of the feeding period, you may observe cramps or lower abdomen pains in your uterus while you are breastfeeding your child. This is the outcome of the hormone ‘oxytocin’. Hence, it is very important to release your stress, fatigue and any such symptoms. You might experience a decrease in milk supply. You can include herbal lactation supplements, cookies and bars to resolve such issues.
Last and final stage of the breastfeeding regime. Even if you have marked the last stage of breast feeding still the milk will alter according to your baby ‘s requirements. It usually appears at the end of the second week or sometimes at the beginning of the third week. The texture and appearance of the milk is more thin, watery and bluish in color. Studies suggest that mature milk contains about 90% water to assure your baby’s fluid requirements. It has a more balanced amount of nutrition and is usually known as skim milk.
Similarly, as the baby grows the demand of milk increases and accordingly the milk supply also boosts naturally. Now the breasts are not that heavier like in the transitional period but still it is not the same as before pregnancy. Sometimes few women experience lower supply as the baby grows. Mothers are advised to use any herbal lactation supplements or emergency brownies to boost their milk volume. Now this is your baby’s last type of milk till you decide to wean them.
One can never be thankful to nature for giving their baby the best possible start of their life. Truly a blessing it is! Human milk is easily digestible and has a very balanced form of every nutrient which is needed by the baby. There could be no replication of this milk. You can never count or compare it with the formula milks available in markets. This milk changes and adapts as per the needs of the baby.
Each mother is producing the milk just as their baby wants. Therefore, it is unique, designed in accordance with what the baby is going through. It is more powerful against bacterial and viral loads. By the time your toddler is growing and switching to other semi solid foods, your baby if on feed can still have half of their calorie intake from mother’s milk. Although mothers should be more vigilant in respect of their diets and lifestyles too. A healthy mother can bring up a healthy child.