Dr. Nkiruka Asumah, a Pediatrician for over three decades was Head, Pediatrics Department at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Lagos; and presently Consultant Pediatrician and Partner at Paelon Memorial Hospital, Victoria Island, Lagos.
As the world annually dedicates the first week of August to increasing public awareness on breastfeeding, WO speaks with Dr. Asumah as she reveals why newborn mothers maybe worried about breastfeeding their babies especially in the first week of life; benefits of breastfeeding and reasons nutrition and health status of mothers have an eﬀect on the quality of breastfeeding. Excerpts: Why the consistent advocacy for breastfeeding despite the alternatives that can help mother and child in this age? Breastmilk is specifically made for the human newborn. Mothers should take advantage of the colostrum, which is the initial sticky yellow milk that is produced from the breast the first few days after birth.
Breast milk is specifically made for the human newborn. Mothers should take advantage of the colostrum, which is the initial sticky yellow milk that is produced from the breast the first few days after birth.
It contains anti-infective properties and helps to build up the immune system. It creates a tough coating for the baby’s stomach and intestines and encourages the passage of the dark sticky stools (meconium) that baby passes out in the first few days of life. It also contains protein, salts, fats, and vitamins. It is easily digestible and it is even recommended for premature babies as soon as possible after birth, a drop can be placed in the baby’s mouth.
Breast milk contains antibodies and reduces the risk of respiratory illnesses in the newborn . Research also shows that children who are breastfed later grow up to be more intelligent than others who are not.
Everything requires hard work. If you are determined and you know the bene its especially in this time of technology where you can access information, breastfeeding will be easy and enjoyable. Once you are aware, you will know that breastfeeding is enough to sustain your baby at least for the first 6 months. You can’t rule out that some new mothers are worried and so our duty is to explain to them. That is why it is important to attend antenatal clinics. The greatest thing is that breastfeeding reduces the risk of allergies and reduces respiratory illness. What about mothers who don’t give their babies breast milk because their babies refuse to take it?
A lot of these mothers are new mothers, especially the first week when they find out that breast milk is not really lowing that well. In this first week, mothers should realize that baby sleeps most of the time and the little milk they take for the size of their stomach at that time is enough. As the milk flows more, the stomach expands and it’s able to absorb more. The sooner the baby is breastfed, (were commenced that within the first 30 minutes after birth), the more successful the outcome. Babies are born knowing how to suck. It is not an acquired reflex. It is a survival reflex. When a mother does not get enough rest too, it may aﬀect breastfeeding . Mothers need to get enough rest. When a baby is born, as a mother you have to adjust your lifestyle to suit the baby because babies will not sleep through the night as parents do.
Babies need to wake up to feed but you find out that during the day, they can sleep for 3 hours and that’s when mothers should rest and relax. It is the colostrum that lows out first and because it is of small volume mothers assume it is inadequate. There are also some mothers who have flat nipples and for the baby to grasp it, the baby gets frustrated. This problem can be addressed during antenatal visits to the hospital and mother advised appropriately by the doctor who will check and show them what they will do to be able to tease out the nipple. Once a mother starts the baby with a bottle, the baby may become used to the plastic teat and when they are put to the breast, they may not take it.
Is expressing breast milk for babies good?