Breastfeeding Awareness Month
August is the National Breastfeeding Awareness Month in the Department of Health (DOH) Annual Calendar. The World Health Organization (WHO) also celebrates World Breastfeeding Week every first week of August. Breastfeeding is being promoted all over the world because of the many benefits it gives to both the baby and the mother. Many studies have been done through the years that proves breastmilk as the best milk a mother can give to her child because it contains the exact nutrients a baby needs to grow.
“A mother who breastfeeds helps in her baby’s development and enriches the relationship between them.” This is the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology and Nutrition’s (PSPGN) stand in promoting breastfeeding in our country. The society enumerated the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding for mothers and infants as follows:
Benefits of Breastmilk
- Safe, sterile, and always available
- With perfect nutrients to fully sustain the growth and development of the baby from birth up to six months; after 6 months, still a good source of nutrients when given with adequate complementary foods
- Easily digested and absorbed; efficiently used by the baby’s immature system
- Contains antibodies and substances which protect the babies against infection
- Contains fats (DHA) which enhance brain development and intelligence of the baby
Advantages of Breastfeeding
- Promotes emotional bonding between the baby and mother
- Protects the mother’s health against cancer (breast, uterus, ovaries), obesity, and post-partum hemorrhage
- Promotes early return to pre-pregnancy weight
- Gives the family big financial savings
- Furthermore, here are some helpful tips for the breastfeeding mothers regarding correct positioning and attachment for breasfeeding, breastmilk expression and storage and proper diet for lactating mothers.
Correct Breastfeeding Techniques
- Support the baby’s head and entire body throughout the feeding; the head, back and hips should be facing the breast and aligned in a straight manner.
- Maintain the position of the baby in such a way he is “face to face”, “chest to chest”, “tummy to tummy” with the mother.
- Support the breast with the hand of the opposite arm in a C-hold position: thumb above, 4 fingers under the breast.
- Stimulate the infant to open the mouth wide by stroking the corner of the baby’s lips; check that the chin touches the breast and the lower lip is turned outward.
- Ensure that the baby grasps the entire nipple plus one inch of the surrounding areola.
- Allow the baby to suck 15 to 30 minutes per breast to extract both foremilk and hindmilk.
- Empty the breast around 8-10 times or more a day to ensure adequate milk supply.
Breast Milk Expression and Storage
A small amount of breast milk may be expressed before starting breastfeeding to soften the nipple area. This can be done to relieve painful, engorged breasts. It is importantant for mothers to wash their hands thoroughly before expressing breast milk.
- Express breastmilk by hand or by using a breast pump when breastmilk supply is abundant and when the mother is planning to go back to work.
- Store in sterile polypropylene (cloudy hard plastic) containers, properly labeled with the date and time of breastmilk collection.
Recommended Breast Milk Storage Period
- Room temperature (25 degree Celsius): 1 hour
- Refrigerator (4 degree Celsius): 5 days
- Freezer compartment of a 1-door refrigerator: 2 weeks
- Freezer compartment of a 2-door refrigerator: 3 months
- Deep freezer with constant temperature (-20 degree Celsius)
Diet of a Lactating Mother
- Rice – 6 cups
- Fruits (vitamin C rich; different varieties) – 4 pieces
- Vegetables (green leafy and yellow) – 1 1/2 cups
- Meat, fish, poultry, seafoods – 5 pieces (matchbox size for meat), or 2 cups cut into small pieces
- Egg – 4 pieces a week
- Mongo, beans, taho – 1 1/2 cups 3x a week *
- Milk – 2 glasses
- Fats (olive oil, corn oil, butter) – 7 teaspoons
- Fluids – 7 glasses water, 1 glass fresh fruit juice
* except in babies with G6PD (glucose-6-phosphate enzyme deficiency) detected by newborn screening
Frequency of Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding should be done on demand, i.e., day and night, as long as your baby want. Babies need to feed eight or more times within 24 hours from birth.
- If your baby is getting enough milk, she should look satisfied after the feed.
- Her/His weight loss should be less than 10% in the first week of life. The gain in weight should be at least 160 grams in the following weeks or a minimum of 300 grams in the first month.
- Your baby should wet as frequently as she feeds.
- Her/His stool should change from dark to light brown or yellow by her third day.
- Babies should be breast-fed exclusively during the first six months of life. This should be continued until she is at least two years old, even when solid food is started up.
Entry filed under: Feature Article, Food & Nutrition. Tags: benefits of breastfeeding, breast milk, breast milk expression, breast milk storage, Breastfeeding, breastfeeding awareness, breastfeeding campaign in Philippines, breastfeeding frequency, diet of lactating mothers.