By Imelda Castro-Rivero, PIA 1, Ilocos Sur
Mother’s milk is the best for your baby. This is the advice of every health care provider for women who are pregnant and about to give birth. And it is best if these women follow this advice.
Mothers must also follow the health personnel’s advice to exclusively breast feed their babies in the first six months after birth. This was shared by the new Provincial Nutrition Action Officer Estella Shane Quinto.
Quinto said that a mother’s breast has colostrum – the yellowish first milk that comes after birth. This protects the baby against illnesses. Just a little of this is adequate to fill the stomach of the baby to help him remove his first waste.
Mother’s milk is the best for the baby. This is safe, clean, easily digested and is always ready for the baby anytime anywhere. This milk helps in the growth of the baby in both physical and mental aspects.
Exclusive feeding of breast milk in the first six months of a baby’s life is its protection against any illness such as diarrhea, infection of the respiratory system like cough, cold and pneumonia.
Babies fed only with mother’s milk in its first six months of life are healthier and stronger in fighting illnesses, compared to those babies fed with formula milk or other drinks.
Mothers are advised also not to feed their babies with ampalaya, water with sugar or pork fat as these may not be good for their health.
In the first hour after birth, the mother should give her milk to her baby. The earliest time helps the baby to learn sucking while the breast is still soft. This will also help lessen the bleeding of the mother.
After birth, the baby must be laid on the mother’s breast with skin-to-skin contact. This helps maintain the right temperature of the baby and his normal breathing.
This also helps make the mother and baby close to each other. It is easy for the baby to reach the mother’s breast and start to suck if it is ready.
In the first six months, the baby only needs the milk of the mother. The milk has enough food and water that the baby needs for this period.
Mothers must not give any food, or water or any other drink. The mother’s milk is enough to satiate the hunger and thirst of the baby in its first six months.
Giving other food or drink to the baby may be the cause of weakening of its sucking, and lessen the amount of milk that comes from the mother’s breast.
Mothers must consult health and nutrition workers or peer counselor if they worry of the huge amount of breast milk, or any other worries on breast feeding.
Government hospitals and maternity clinics of the 32 towns and two cities of the province are always advising mothers of newborn babies to feed their babies with their breast milk at once after birth. And to continue doing so in the first six months, until the baby reaches two years of age.#