Breastfeeding in Nigeria – its health advantages to the baby and mother
Breastfeeding – The Breast is one of the adornments of a woman that serves basically two purposes:
- The Breast serves as a sex symbol which makes it to be attractive and appealing for sexual desires. This then becomes a sexual appeal for both the Bisexual and same sex persons.
- The breast also serves as a feeding too for the newly born babies due to the milk it produces.
Sometimes, women attach more importance to the sex symbol purpose than the breasting purpose.
These attachments often present a strong challenge to the feeding purpose of breast.
For us to properly understand this topic – Breastfeeding in this modern world, the question what is breast must be answered.
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WHAT IS BREAST?
A Breast is the cone like protrusion that which projects from an area of the woman’s body called Areola – a pinky area of the chest region from which the nipples first emerges.
This is usually observed from ones 10th to 12th year of a girl’s life. The breast becomes bigger and a bit massive afterward thanks to the help of sex hormones.
The two sex hormones particularly responsible for this are:
- The Estrogen and
- The Progesterone.
The Breasts can be either Big (Big Breasts) or Small (Small Breasts).
The different sizes of the Breasts determine the rate at which the breast dangles when a woman with fully developed breasts works and walks too.
This dangling when a woman is in motion makes the breast to move in a way that could be interpreted in many different ways by different persons.
Most people see the dangling as being seductive. They that it can arouse both the opposite and same sex persons besides this are a virgin breast that we are talking about here.
This is where Braziers also known as Bras comes into play (to be discussed in our next topic).
Our major point of concern here is the Breastfeeding aspect of the breast.
What is Breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is simply the feeding of a baby with the breast milk of the mother either directly from he breast (when the mother is around) or from a bottle pumped with breast milk and refrigerated to avoid contamination.
The Biology of Breast Milk Production:
After a baby is born, the breast begins to produce thank to the hormone – Prolactin secreted by the Pituitary gland.
This is so because during pregnancy, the Prolactin is prevented from producing the milk simply because of high level of Progesterone and Estrogen produced by the placenta.
This is why the Prolactin has to wait for the sharp drop in the above two hormones.
Recall that after Childbirth, the placenta which is the major source of these hormones is removed.
This removal aids in the reduction of the above hormones which causes the Prolactin to become active.
Once the Prolactin becomes active, it prepares the breast for lactation through its action on the ducts and the Alveoli.
The Colostrum which is the thick yellowish milk is first secreted. The secretion of the Colostrum lasts between 20 to 23 mins after child birth.
The Colostrum is very medicinal too.
After the colostrums comes the main milk which lasts as long as the baby’s demand is still on.
The secretion of milk continues because Prolactin continues to be released when the woman’s nipple is nuzzled by the baby.
This can still happen if the woman keep cuddling the nipples by herself.
The Nowadays Breastfeeding
Over the time, the number of women who accent to breastfeeding their babies after birth started to decline.
The reason for this is simple. Most ladies believe that breastfeeding collapses the breast and makes it to loss its vigor and protuberance.
This is to say that these set of women prefers the sex purpose of the Breasts to the Feeding purpose of the Breasts.
Because of this, many women now resort to the purchase of cow based milk for their babies despite its limitations.
The above answers the question of what breastfeeding do to your body.
The disadvantages of Bottle-feeding with Cow Milk.
There are DISADVANTAGES that go with giving your child cow milk or other milks as the case maybe.
The major ones are listed below:
- Human Milk contains slightly less protein and Casein than the Cow’s milk.
- The Casein is responsible for Curd formation.
- The curd of cow milk is difficult to digest in the baby’s body
- The Human Milk contains more milk sugar (Lactose) that the cow milk.
- The Human Milk contains more vitamins than the cow milk.
- The Human Milk contains more balanced minerals than the cow milk.
- The formula milk made for bottle feeding is modified in many ways by the manufacturers to make it look like the human milk.
- Bottle-feeding milks require care in mixing and in storage to keep it sterile and safe for the baby which is not so in human milk.
Bottle – Feeding
What are 5 advantages of Breastfeeding.
There are several advantages attached to Breast feeding a baby. The major ones are listed below:
- The Breast milk is sterile, balanced and appropriate for the human baby
- Breastfeeding nurtures the mother – baby relationship. It makes them interact more than bottle-feeding.
- Breastfeeding supplies substances which protects the baby against infections.
- These infections include gastro – intestinal infections, respiratory infections and viral infections.
- Breastfeeding is more convenient and simple. It requires less preparation and sterilization process.
- Breastfeeding to a large extent protects babies against allergic disorders especially Eczema and Asthma.
- Breastfeeding a baby adequately makes the child to be less likely to become obese. This is often a factor in adult life in coronary heart disease.
- In addition to the above fact, high blood pressure, diabetes and gall bladder diseases are preventable in adult life when there is adequate breastfeeding in the infant age.
- Finally, breastfeeding costs little than bottle-feeding. All it costs is eating good food.
What Breastfeeding does to your body?
The answers to the question what breastfeeding does to your body? are:
- Breastfeeding is often associated with pains
- Wounds on the nipple do to the sucking force of the child.
- Breastfeeding causes breast to sag and looks though it has fallen.
- During breastfeeding, women gain massive body weight. This is because they need to eat well to breastfeed.
- The above can also be considered as what are the disadvantages of breastfeeding?
How do I breastfeed my baby?
The answer to the question how do I breastfeed my Baby? is contained in the World Health Organization (WHO) published document of 1991 on steps to encourage Breastfeeding.
Read the steps and personalize it then you will get the desired answer.
The steps are listed below:
- Have a written Breastfeeding policy.
- Train all health oneself in skills to implement this breastfeeding policy.
- Inform all oneself about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
- Initiate breastfeeding within half an hour of birth.
- Learn how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants.
- Give new born babies no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated.
- Rooming must be practiced which means allowing mothers and infants to be together 24 hours a day. The Rooming practice answers the question how long does the average woman breastfeed for?
- The 24 hrs WHO provision means that it is round the clock thing.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand. This implies that a baby must be breastfed on anywhere and anytime the baby wants it.
- Give no artificial teats or pacifiers (also known as dummies or soothers) to infants after breastfeeding them.
- Foster the establishment of a breastfeeding support group.
- Refer mothers to such support groups on discharge from the hospital clinic.
what foods to avoid while breastfeeding?
The followings fit well into the answer what food to avoid while breastfeeding?:
- Alcohol: This goes into the child’s system during breastfeeding. It can lead to mental retardation and poor brain development
- Foods that contain addictive substances like caffeine since such substance pass from the mother to the child through breastfeeding.
- Dirty Foods: This must be avoided seriously because it can transmit bacteria from mother to child during Breastfeeding.
- Lastly foods the mother eat that reacts negatively on the baby especially after breast feeding. This means that the mother must be watchful for possible allergies after breastfeeding.
This we believe will make breastfeeding a less contentious issue in our society today.
Breastfeed a child well today and save the child from a lot of troubles tomorrow.
Proudly from RTWI.