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THE IMPORTANCE OF BREASTFEEDING AND COLOSTRUM


Breast milk is the best and most perfect food a baby can have for the beginning of its life.[1],[2],[3] There are enormous advantages to breastfeeding. To name a few: the milk is always available, at the right temperature, the quantity of milk and its constitution adapt to the needs of the baby, it is anti-microbial, full of all the health-giving nutrients a baby needs in the right amounts and in a form most easily absorbed, and the activity fortifies the bond between mother and child.


It is of great benefit to both mother and baby for breastfeeding to begin at birth. It takes a few days after the birth for the actual milk to come in. Before this, the baby receives the yellow, very rich, colostrum, which is incredibly beneficial, full of important nutrients and microorganisms that line the digestive tract and protect the baby's health. It also has antibodies and protective white cells that help fight off infections and viruses, and it is a mild laxative, which helps the baby pass the meconium, the tar-like stools of the first days or weeks, and helps prevent jaundice. It is the best food for a newborn, and premature babies can benefit especially from colostrum. The baby's stomach is the size of a marble at birth and any extra milk is spit up, so the small amounts of rich colostrum are the perfect amount for the newborn. 


There are also numerous short and long-term health benefits for the mother in breastfeeding her baby, including promoting emotional health and weight loss, reducing the risk of various cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes II, lessening the risk of post-partum hemmorage, and aiding birth control for the first six months. [4],[5] 


For many women it can be very difficult to start breastfeeding. Many give up because of pain, fatigue, fear of not having enough milk, lack of support at the beginning, lack of information or misinformation about breastfeeding and not enough information about the enormous benefits of human milk. Studies have found that it is truly worth the effort of breastfeeding for the health of the baby, and for the baby's future health, social skills and intelligence.[7]


It seems that an important factor for a good start is that the mother be comfortable and warm during nursing times. At the beginning it can be stressful to nurse because the baby is crying, the mother is sore, and the mother and baby are learning how to make it work. It's worth taking the time it needs to get comfortable and to be ready to start over, even if the baby is crying. The first months, it can be helpful to have a quiet place with a comfortable chair with a little table for a glass of water close by.  Because you may find you get very thirsty when you nurse, it's a good idea to have some nearby each time.  


There is a wide spread information and support network for breastfeeding mothers that can help with difficulties at the La Leche League, and they also have support groups that meet regularly.



See 

How to make decisions


Recipe for Nursing Tea in Crying, colic and teething


La Leche League in Links



ARTICLES 


The Nutritional Value of Breastmilk - Sheila Kitzinger


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[1] Gartner, LM, et al. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. National Guideline Clearinghouse www.guideline.gov Pediatrics 2005 Feb;115(2):496-506. 8 March, 2009, researched August 2009 <http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=6499&nbr=4072&ss=6&xl=999>


 


[2] La Leche League International. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Plume, The Penguin Group (USA) Inc. New York 2004


[3] Wagner, Carol L.. MD Human Milk and Lactation. WebMD, 9 June 2009, researched August 2009 <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/976504-overview>


[4] Didierjean-Jouveau, Claude. L'allaitement et la santé des femmes. Allaiter Aujourd'hui n°25, LLLFrance, 1995, recherché Mai 2011 <http://www.lllfrance.org/Allaiter-Aujourd-hui/AA-25-L-allaitement-et-la-sante-des-femmes.html> 




[5]Dermer , Alicia, MD, IBCLC  A Well-Kept Secret


Breastfeeding's Benefits to Mothers From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 4, July-August 2001, p. 124-127,  La Lache League International,

researched June 6, 2010 <http://www.llli.org/NB/NBJulAug01p124.html>

[6] Dr. Desmond Gurrey Senior lecturer in paediatrics at the University of Western Australia, consultant physician for Princes Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth, W. Australia, FOCUS Magazine, May 1989


[7] McGill University. Breastfeeding Associated With Increased Intelligence, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily 6 May 2008, researched October 2009

<https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505162902.htm>


Louise nursing her child by Mary Cassat

"Breastfeeding is superior to any other form of feeding for the human infant." 


Dr. Desmond Gurrey[6]


Maternité II by Louis Toffoli

Maternity by Picasso

Nursing the baby 


by Lilla Cabot Perry