Breastfeeding is one very important aspect of a child’s nurturing, but not all mothers meet up with the recommended exclusive period.
Many of them know that the breast milk is an ideal food for the healthy growth and development of a newborn, but their job is very demanding and the the maternity leave period is not enough. .
The World Health Organization (WHO) described breastfeeding as “an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers”.
It also emphasised that exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants.
Beyond that, breastfeeding a child also helps to protect the baby against infections.
Breastfeeding is the only simple intervention that can prevent a large proportion of neonatal mortality and morbidity, a 2017 study highlighted.
But not all mothers, especially the working class in populated cities like Lagos, could meet up with the 6-month exclusive breastfeeding demand.
However, there are strategies that have worked for most mothers who do the 6 months each time they give birth.
Breastfeeding Strategies That Work
1 Initiate Breastfeeding Within The First Hour Of Life
There is something that starting early with breastfeeding for an infant does and one of such is bonding with the child.
Also, starting early helps the mammary gland in breast milk production.
2. Study The child’s Demand Timing
One thing mothers have found helpful is studying the demand timing for their child.
Every infant has a timing for demand of breast milk and when a mother understands it, it helps in reducing the stress of always wanting to feed the child.
The child makes demands following the digestive process of the milk. Understanding this timing is key in feeding the child enough milk each time.
However, bear in mind that as the child grows, this timing changes, but it is usually sustained for some time each time it changes.
3. Express Breast Milk And Store
Most mothers avoid expressing breast milk for their babies especially because of issues of bacteria and infection.
But this has helped working class mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies.
It is also okay to express the milk even when the child does not need it so that fresh supplies could come for the child.
This also helps relief the pain that could result in breastfeeding the child more from one breast.
It is advisable to express often to reduce the chances of having a swollen breast. However, when breast is swollen, the best thing to do is to express the accumulated milk.
4. Eat Foods That Increase Breast Milk Production
There are foods that could help every mother increase production of breast milk and most of them are available in Nigeria.
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One very common one is pap or ‘Ogi’, but there are other grains that also provide the necessary nutrients that help increase breast milk production. Find them in this article.
5. Take Nursing Vacation
This is one strategy that has worked for nursing mothers. It also promotes bonding. When you are nursing, it is not the best time for you to “carry the entire work in the office on your head”.
Some mothers who get only three months maternity leave end their exclusive breastfeeding there. Taking few days vacation will help a lot to sustain the practice for 6 months.
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Find time for few days vacation and spend time breastfeeding the baby and resting too. Find time to relax during this period so that the gland will produce milk better.
Breastfeeding an infant adequately helps ward-off colds, the flu, and other infections.
It can also reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Research suggests that babies that are breastfed tend to have fewer problems with asthma, diarrhea, ear infections, childhood obesity.
Breastfeeding contributes to the health and well-being of mothers. It helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
It also increases family and national resources, and this is because it is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment.
WHO and UNICEF had in 1992 launched the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative and the purpose was to strengthen maternity practices to support breastfeeding.
Not exclusively breastfeeding a child sometimes results in child obesity.
Because the child will be introduced to other meals, an unhealthy eating pattern may set in, resulting in accumulation of fat and rise in blood sugar level.