Breasfeeding Importantance

Breast milk is best for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition.

10 key messages on breastfeeding

  1. Skin to skin between mother and newborn AT birth promotes the early initiation of breastfeeding (i.e. Waiting for cues from the baby, which can take up to an hour after birth.)
  2. Hospitals need to review their philosophy and policies to encourage immediate skin to skin contact at birth for healthy newborns. This means being woman-centered versus task driven ie delay non-emergency tasks until the baby has stabilised on the mother’s chest and proceeds to breastfeed.
  3. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended (by WHO) for 6 months. Many women have to cut their breastfeeding experience short due to the current maternity leave package which gives new mothers 4 months maternity leave.
  4. Obtaining evidence based information on breastfeeding is essential during pregnancy. Especially learning the correct latching and positioning of the baby at the breast. This reduces so many other breastfeeding difficulties.
  5. Unless the woman has flat or inverted nipples, nipple preparation is unnecessary during pregnancy. Montgomery’s tubules on the areolar around the nipple secrete a lanolin like substance that softens the nipples naturally during pregnancy.
  6. There is strong research and practice evidence that shows how unnecessary top-up feeds are for the newborn. A teaspoon of expressed breast milk fed to the baby will energise the baby and raise its blood sugar negating the need for formula top-ups. Introducing formula to a baby in the days following birth undermines mom's confidence in breast milk and breastfeeding.
  7. The most critical skill for successful breastfeeding is latching and positioning the baby at the breast correctly. This significantly reduces breastfeeding difficulties and promotes longer duration of breastfeeding.
  8. Breastfeeding women reiterate the message that breastfeeding is best for the baby.
  9. Breastfeeding women are encouraged to start or attend breastfeeding support groups for ongoing advice and support.
  10. “Be patient and persevere”,“It’s hard in the beginning but it gets better,” “Baby demands breast milk by suckling at the breast which stimulates the continued supply of breast milk”.

In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from illness.

Undoubtedly, "breast is best" - and not just because it is both free AND natural. In addition to being both of these, breast milk is also the best choice for new moms and their babies because of the difference breastfeeding can make to the overall health and functioning of the immune system. While there is still a need for research and additional evidence in favor of the connection between breastfeeding and the health of the immune system, there is an undeniable indication that breast milk will outperform formula every time.

Powerful Antibodies

One of the most immediate immunological benefits of breast milk stems from powerful antibodies that babies are born with (thanks to their mother's natural immune system). In order for babies to maintain or increase their antibody storehouse, they need access to their mother's undiluted and un-supplemented breast milk - not formula alternatives. These antibodies largely protect against diarrhea causing pathogens that can quickly dehydrate babies beyond the danger zone. Additional protection is also offered against certain respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments.

Microbial Capability

Clinically, breast milk has shown itself to inhibit the growth of certain strains of bacteria at the molecular level, fighting off attacks and infections with a fiercely territorial immune response, quite powerful for such a seemingly weak creature wholly unable to care for itself. Upon closer examination and further investigation, it was discovered that certain complex sugars, which are much fewer and farther between in cow’s milk derived formulas and milks, are highly concentrated in breast milk and offer a defensive decoy capability that tricks microbes into attacking fake targets and shields the actual intended targets.