World Breastfeeding Week :
The world is celebrating #worldbreastfeedingweek and being a mother who exclusively breastfed her baby for more than a year, I’m loving these awareness initiatives and celebrations. Motherhood is beautiful and to me, Breastfeeding is much more than providing a nutrition to the new born.
It is a moment of bonding, a bond of pure love between a mother and baby. It is a moment of emotional support, warmth, a pacification, which a baby needs when they enter this world. Celebrating Breastfeeding week (1st -7th August), Apollo Cradle Royale Delhi, initiated an awareness campaign with experts :
- Dr. Geeta Chadha, Senior Obstetrician and Gynaecologist
- Dr. Vanada Sarkar, Lactation Consultant
This wonderful discussion touched numerous numerous aspects of Breastfeeding and Lactation.
The Golden hour of Breastfeeding :
The first 60 minutes after a baby birth is the most crucial time to give your newborn a successful start towards breastfeeding. This skin to skin contact during this golden hour is crucial for the development of a new born. Sooner the breastfeeding starts after birth, better is the bonding of a mum and baby.
Benefits of Breastfeeding and an early skin to skin contact :
1. The early contact and suckling in this golden hour, releases hormones, which lowers down the stress level and promotes emotional connect with the new born.
2. In this hour when babies attach themselves for feeding, it helps in overall establishment of Breastfeeding and a better latching, thus preventing many latching issues.
3. The release of Oxytocin hormone during breastfeeding helps in contracting the uterus which supports in reducing the blood flow after birthing. It also promotes uterus to return back to its pre-pregnancy size.
4. The initial yellow milk, called Colostrum is a super food for your newborn, helping in building a strong immune system right from the start. It has high levels of protein, fats, vitamins and is the best nutrition for your baby. Colostrum and breastfeeding are extremely important for pre-term babies.
5. It lowers the risk of allergies, since breastmilk contains antibodies which helps in fighting with various pathogens, bacterias.
6. Exclusively breastfed babies till 6 months, have less of respiratory issues (strong lungs), less ear infections, less diarrhoea and prevent many diseases in the longer run. The baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) dip by more than 50%, if they are breastfed.
7. Breastfeeding promotes healthy weight gain in children and prevents from being overweight or obese. It lowers the probability of Type 1 and 2 diabetes. There are less chances of being obese (for the mum) after birthing, as breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day.
Related Read : Tips to reduce belly fat after pregnancy
8. A higher cognitive development and a better IQ is promoted by exclusive breastfeeding.
9. Less chances of postmenopausal osteoporosis for the mother. It is also said to reduce the chances of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, which are the leading cancers in women.
10. Breastfeeding is an effective post-baby, birth control option (though not 100%), if you follow certain norms.
And lastly, Breastfeeding establishes a beautiful and an unmatchable bonding between a child and mum, which goes long way in their lives.
Breastfeeding at workplace :
Breastfeeding is often considered as a “No” for workplace, despite employers being aware of the goodness of breastmilk. Due to non-cooperative workplaces, mothers often sacrifice either their career or breastfeeding their child, both of which are of immense value for a woman. Even if a mum needs to join back her work, Breastmilk should still be fed to the baby exclusively for minimum 6 months.
I was myself a working mum and resumed my office after 3 months. Yet, I managed to this exclusivity, with a great support at workplace, understanding colleagues and flexibility to work from home.
Though, most of the organizations aren’t prepared for a woman returning from maternity leave to fulfil her needs of breastfeeding her newborn. It requires a commitment from a mum as well as a positive approach from employer. We discussed in detail about Breastfeeding at workplace at Apollo Cradle Royale Delhi, which believes in exclusive Breastfeeding.
Below mentioned practises can help Breastfeeding at workplace :
- Implementation of 6 month Maternity leave needs a strict adherence across all organizations. A new mum can easily opt for work from home to support the work during these months and continue her exclusively breastfeeding journey.
- A nursing mum should be given flexible working schedules, to feed her child and to express milk.
- A closed, private nursing room, having facilities as Natural lights, a sink, pumping facility, refrigerator (for storage), must be mandatory. This can help a mum easily express her milk and store it to feed her child. Such rooms can also be a space to breastfeed a baby (if a mum brings her child to office)
- Workshops should be conducted for employees to support their breastfeeding colleagues. Even appreciation programs should be conducted for the support from employees. A positive atmosphere can help promote the best output and the required diversity at workplaces.
- Job sharing in the initial months can be done to support a breastfeeding mother.
- Government should introduce Tax – credits to organizations having such friendly policies.
- Presence of a quality creche can be of a great support to a mom during her tenure. It relieves her of the shuttling stress between her job and caring a baby. Having slots to feed and see her child will not only make her fulfil her responsibilities but also make her emotionally happy. This will reflect in her dedication towards work with high outputs.
Organizations need to understand that breastfeeding a child will keep the baby healthy, thus reducing the medical expenses and absenteeism at workplace for a mum as well. Promoting it is the noblest cause an organization can do for future generations!
This initiative also laid focus on the Myths about breastfeeding as :
1. You shouldn’t nurse if you have breast infection, Mastitis : Fact : One should feed and even put the breastmilk around the areola, after every feeding session.
2. You need to wean, if you join back work : Fact : No, you ca continue pumping and feed your child with breastmilk for more than a year.
3. Formula Milk is same as Mother’s milk : Fact : Remember, the antibodies, anti-allergens present in breastmilk cannot be there in Formula. Not even Bovine colostrum can compete with Breastmilk.
4. The first yellow milk should not be given : Fact : Colostrum, the first milk is the richest milk and the best gift a mum can give her baby. It is this milk which raises a child’s immunity, decreases chances of jaundice, and fights various infections.
5. If your mother had trouble breastfeeding, you will also have same issues : Fact : Breastfeeding problems are not genetic and historic. If you get the right way, support and help, you can easily breastfeed your child.
6. You might not produce enough Breastmilk so support with Formula : Fact : No! The production of milk is simply a mathematics of demand and supply. If you exclusively breastfeed for initial few weeks, you will never run out of milk. The more you breastfeed, the more will be the production. Don’t resort to formula in between.
7. Many foods can result in lactation problems : Fact : A new mum can have everything which is healthy and nutritious. We just need to be cautious while having those non-healthy foods, as 10% of what we eat, passes to the baby via breastmilk. So eat everything healthy you love.
Being a mom is a hardwork, let this beautiful journey bond you with your child forever. This breastfeeding week initiative has helped many moms in their journey of nurturing a healthy baby. Their support to help mums exclusively breastfeed is incredible.
So lets all “Sustain Breastfeeding together”!
Much love and hugs,