Breastfeeding and breast milk -

Breastfeeding and breast milk

Breastfeeding and breast milk

Towards the end of pregnancy one of the most frequent thoughts of all expectant mothers is the question of whether or not you will be able to breastfeed your baby.

A legitimate doubt that sometimes also hides a certain performance anxiety that erroneously leads you to think that you will be a good mother only if you are able to do it. The reassuring news is that generally all mothers are able to breastfeed without problems and that there are very few circumstances in which insurmountable obstacles can be encountered or even more rarely there are contraindications which in any case will be evaluated by a specialist doctor.

Nature is a great teacher and never before have experts tend to support, rather than impose, ways and methods that are more effective in assisting breastfeeding than in the past. An example is to promote "bonding", that is, that special bond between mother and child that begins immediately after birth by placing the newborn immediately in the mother's arms with skin-to-skin contact without any type of separation. Indeed, it has been proven that in the first two hours after birth, the baby is in a state of attention receptive to all the sensory stimuli that come from the mother: the smell, the tone of the voice, the caresses. It is a magical and very important time frame in which the baby seeks the mother's breast and the mother already has what she needs: colostrum, a very dense yellowish liquid, sticky but full of energy because it is full of antibodies necessary to strengthen the defense capabilities. The first small meals of colostrum coat the baby's intestines and will protect it for the future by reducing the risk of developing allergies in the future. Every baby knows how much colostrum he has to eat and he will make numerous small feedings even up to 8-10 a day and the mother's body knows how much milk it has to produce.

The first 14 days of breastfeeding are important for the newborn because he will take everything he needs to defend himself against diseases and create the best foundations in his body for healthy growth. In fact, during this period the composition of the milk changes: colostrum is the first milk that is produced up to the 5th day of life of the newborn; it contains many proteins, immunoglobins, vitamin A and growth factors. Subsequently it transforms into transitional milk up to the 14th day and then becomes mature milk rich in proteins, sugars, fats, minerals and other constituents that make it irreplaceable as a single food up to 6 months of age since it provides in a complete and balanced way all the necessary and basic nutrients for the good growth and physical and mental development of the child

The experts of APA -American Pediatric Association, WHO-World Health Organization- and ISI -Istituto Superiore di Sanità recommend to continue breastfeeding even beyond 6 months obviously as a supplement to normal weaning and if the mother feels like it even until the baby is two years old.

The longer the child can take breast milk, the higher his resistance to disease will be; it is scientifically proven and certain that mother's milk helps to prevent respiratory infections of the lower airways and those of the gastro-intestinal system as well as urinary infections, otitis and meningitis would also be less frequent. Another good news concerns the protection against the onset of allergies, a phenomenon unfortunately growing in recent years and caused by various factors; in this case, breastfed babies are favored by a faster maturation of the intestine which acts as a barrier to foreign substances to which, if predisposed, they could develop allergic reactions.

There are also studies that assert that SIDS, the syndrome of cot death, also occurs more rarely in breastfed babies and breastfeeding represents a prevention for this risk

Even the mother gets great benefits from breastfeeding: the first is certainly less bleeding after childbirth thanks to the action of oxytocin, the hormone that is released during the feed that makes the uterus contract and the second is a faster loss of the extra weight gained during pregnancy.

The long-term benefits are instead represented by the reduction of the risks of breast and ovarian cancer before menopause and subsequently stronger bones and less at risk of osteoporosis.

The first weeks after childbirth are important for laying the foundations for serene breastfeeding, including from a psychological point of view for both mother and baby. In this case, the father is essential to support the mother in a moment in which she has to recover from the fatigue of childbirth and recover her physical form and she can offer many material aids, the first of which is to take care of the baby when the mother rests. Here she will be able to change the diaper, wash it, put it to sleep or take care of the household chores and prepare meals at a time when the family changes many habits and the partner needs to feel protected, supported and encouraged.

Often some problems related to breastfeeding depend only on the mother's stressful situations that do not leave the tranquility necessary for her body and her mind to devote herself to one of the most magical experiences of a woman's life.

Breastfeeding is every mother's right and one should not be afraid to ask for support and information that can be of help to a mother who is already breastfeeding or to a consultant or midwife or pediatrician who are experts in breastfeeding. There are also many social groups of breastfeeding mothers who in this period of pandemic can be of great support and help "distant but close" and why not, they are also an excellent opportunity to broaden one's friendships by sharing the same interests and rhythms of life.


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