Breastmilk is one of the best ways that a mother can give her baby all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions which keeps the baby healthy and protects against diseases.
Every mother who chooses to exclusively breastfeed her baby in the first six months is doing the best she can to help her baby grow and stay healthy.
Breastfeeding and adding formula, water, teas, cereals and other foods, in the first six months of the baby’s life increases the baby's risk of getting diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition and allergies.
With the world celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from 1-7 August the Western Cape Department of Health gave a few tips from mothers on how best to care for their little one.
Why must I breastfeed exclusively?
Breastfeeding will assist with your baby’s brain, teeth and jaw development. It also helps you to get to know your baby. Breastfeeding is good for the mom because it helps to decrease bleeding after birth, as well as the chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer and helps with weight control after pregnancy.
Why does my baby need breast milk?
The first milk produced by the breast is sticky, yellow-white early milk called colostrum and should be your baby’s first food. It is normal for mothers to produce only a small amount of colostrum. This milk is rich in protective factors and vitamins and acts as your baby’s first immunisation.
When do I start breastfeeding?
The best time to start breastfeeding is in the first hour after birth while your baby is lying skin-to-skin with you. This is the time when your baby’s sucking reflex action is at its strongest. Most new-borns are ready to find the nipple and start breastfeeding within the first hour after birth.
How do I know that my baby is getting enough breast milk?
- The baby should be gaining weight according to the growth chart in line with the weight and age of the baby.
- The baby has about 6-8 wet nappies in 24 hours.
- The baby is happy and satisfied.
Information supplied by the Western Cape Department of Health