Good Reason To Breastfeed

Five Prime Messages About Breastfeeding

  1. Breast milk alone is the best possible food and drink for a baby in the first 6 months of life.
    • From birth to about 6 months, breast milk is the best and most completely balanced nutrition for your infant.  ALL other non-human milks and cereals are INFERIOR.
    • Even in hot, dry climates, breast milk contains sufficient water for your baby’s needs, so no additional water or sugary drinks are needed.
  2. You should start breastfeeding baby as soon as possible after birth – within the first hour or two.  Virtually every mother can breast feed.
    • Breastfeeding stimulates the production of milk
    • Colostrum is sufficient for all babies needs until the mature milk comes in on about the third day after birth.
    • Many mothers need help when they first start breastfeeding.  An experienced Lactation Counselor can help you avoid common problems, so its a good idea to find out from your doctor the nearest counselor in your area.
    • If the baby is latching correctly and feeds as often as he/she needs to, almost all mothers can produce sufficient milk.
    • Its important to position the baby on the breast correctly to ensure good milk production and to prevent damage to the nipples
  3. Frequent sucking is needed to produce enough breast milk for babys needs
    • Baby-led feeding is ideal.  Provided that baby is healthy, thriving and alert, one must feed frequently and on demand.
    • Feeding frequently will prevent swollen and engorged breasts
    • “Topping up” breast milk feeds with non-human milk or other drinks will reduce the amount of milk the baby takes from the breasts and subsequently reduces the breast milk production.
    • As a different sucking action is used by the baby for teats and dummies and can cause confusion and even breast refusal, it is not recommended.  The use of a bottle to give other drinks can cause the baby to stop breastfeeding completely.
  4. Bottle-feeding can lead to serious illness unless the bottles and teats are sterilised and the water has been boiled
    • In communities without clean drinking water, a bottle-fed baby is 25 times more likely to die of diarrhea
    • Non-human milk goes off if left to stand at room temperature for a few hours whilst breast milk can be safely stored for at least up to 8 hours at room temperature.
  5. Breastfeeding should continue well into the second year of a child’s life and longer, if possible.

Adapted from “Facts for Life”, UNICEF, WHO and UNESCO

Good Reasons To Breastfeed 

  1. The first milk, Colostrum, is like a magic potion.  It is the newborn baby’s first line of protection and should be the first thing that crosses your baby’s lips.   It comes in small quantities about 5 ml of colostrum is equivalent to about 30 ml of mature milk, which comes in around the 3rd day after birth.  Colostrum is packed full of immunoglobines, vitamin a, energy and protein.  It acts as a laxative to help baby pass the sticky black first stools called meconium.  Its important that the meconium is passed as it can cause problems such as physiological jaundice.
  2. Breast milk is completely digestible and every drop can be utilised by your baby’s body
  3. Breast milk provides nutrients not found anywhere else such as Lactoferrin which aids the absorption of iron and prevents bacteria from using the iron to multiply.  Breast mil provides the correct proportion of amino acids (the building blocks to protein), one of which – Taurine – is directly used for brain growth.  Cholesterol is found in breast milk in sufficient quantities to benefit the baby’s growth and health long term.
  4. One example of an important difference between formula and breast milk is that formula has much more pheylalanine and tyrosine )amino acids) and these can depress the central nervous system of infants.  
  5. One of the great deficiencies of formula is the absence of the long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA) which is vital for the development of baby’s brain and eyes.
  6. Breast milk is always at the right temperature, clean and ready for consumption.
  7. Breast milk is the ultimate “fast food” for baby – well packaged, always available, portable, fresh and hassle-free.
  8. Breastfeeding can save you an estimated R500 to R1000 per month.
  9. Breastfeeding saves you at least 6 hours of time a week that you will spend, cleaning and sterilising bottles and teats and boiling water.
  10. Breast milk prevents allergic reactions and potentially life-long allergies.
  11. Studies show that breast milk is the perfect brain food during the first year of life and may increase your child’s IQ by as many as 5 to 10 points. (Lancet 1993, Journal of Human Lactation 1996).
  12. Breastfed babies have 10 times less chance of being hospitalised than formula fed babies. Formula-fed babies see the doctor almost twice as often as breastfed babies.
  13. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhoeal disease, respiratory tract infections, bacteraemia, bacterial meningitis, Botulism, urinary tract infections, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), Insulin dependent diabetes and ulcerative colitis. (The American Academy of Pediatrics).
  14. If you continue to breastfeed when you are back at work, you are less likely to have to stay at home with a sick baby.
  15. Expressing make it possible to give your baby breast milk even when you are not around to do it yourself.
  16. Breast milk prevents obesity in your baby.  It will make him round and even plump but the number of fat cells that he is born with will not increase. Research has shown that formula-fed babies are much more likely to become obese as children and teenagers.
  17. Breastfeeding will usually make you less plump too, provided you follow a well-balanced diet.
  18. Breastfeeding helps to stop you bleeding after the birth. Not only that, it helps your uterus shrink down to its normal size and delays the onset of your periods by about 6 months.
  19. There are other benefits for you if you breastfeed long-term, for 6 months and more – a lower incidence of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
  20. Breastfed babies are 40% less likely to have misaligned teeth. They also have less dental caries.
  21. Formula milk feeding is associated with a 6 to 10 times higher incidence of necrotising enterocolitis in very low birth weight infants compared to those receiving breast milk (Prof. G. Kirsten, Tygerberg Hospital.)
  22. east milk has many other uses –use drops of breast milk to rub into the nipples after feeding, use it to treat your baby’s mild eye infections or even his blocked nose. Breast milk has 10 times as many white blood cells as you have in your blood and these, plus other living cells, phagocytes and macrophages, are constantly at work to kill organisms that may threaten your baby.
“The risks of feeding a baby with anything other than the milk nature designed for him are real, and are a concern even in socieities where medical care and treatment for the problems caused by these formulas are readily available”Dr. Jack Newman, Guide to Breasfeeding.
Mother nursing son