You must be wondering as to the repetitions in the title? It is to emphasize the importance of breast feeding for our precious babies! There are a lot of misconceptions and myths about this common topic, and each day a good part of the consulting time is spent in trying to convince mothers of newborns to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months! Exclusively it means no water, no janam ghutti, no cerelac/farex other baby foods, nothing but mother's milk by mouth. Sounds difficult, impossible, and theoretical?
Let me give you a small personal example. I have recently been blessed with the cutest nephew possible. My Sister-In-Law complained to me initially that he had dry skin. Use of non-drying soap, lacto calamine and even mild steroid creams had temporary benefit. He also was quite irritable and kept on rubbing his face and eyes repeatedly. They have a strong family history of asthma, and other allergies. However on asking I found that she was feeding the child Lactogen 1, because the child was born 'weak'. After some initial reluctance she accepted my suggestion to try and stop the formula completely. Voila! The dryness disappeared completely, and has not returned since. As a pleasant side-effect my Sister-In-Law is now much more impressed with the skills of the 'doctor at home.
This is only a small part of what exclusive breastfeeding can do your for your baby! Among the many benefits of breastfeeding, research has shown that the practice improves infants' immune responses, prevents chronic disease, contributes to better cognitive skills (higher IQ), stimulates bonding between mother and child and promotes healthiness in premature infants. Mothers who breastfeed also have a lower risk of breast cancer. Constipation, Diarrhea, Ear infections, Pneumonia, Colic and chances of later allergy and asthma are reduced. Nowadays it is felt that breastfed infants are less likely to be obese, have lower cholesterol and thus less chance of heart problems. Add to this the fact that Breast milk is free of infections, at the right temperature and easily and plentifully available, and you have a winner.
No formula in the world can come close to breast milk! As long as a mother is physically able, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed for at least a year, while the World Health Organization recommends the practice for two years. So what do you need to start breastfeeding?
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