The first 1000 days are very crucial for a baby's growth & development. Thus, nutrition received during this period makes an impact on overall growth.
Breast milk is a natural source of the finest nutrition for babies. It is undoubtedly the most important food source for babies and that is the reason most health authorities emphasize breastfeeding. It has been recommended that for the first 6 months, babies should only be on breast milk, and after 6 months weaning food to be introduced in conjunction with breast milk.
Breast milk has all the required nutrition that a baby’s body demands and is sufficient for babies for the first 6 months. After delivery mothers secrete a yellowish sticky fluid which is called Colostrum. It is a rich source of protein & antibodies. Colostrum, the first milk is also known as the first vaccine for a baby. Colostrum continues to secrete for 2 to 4 days and later transitional milk comes for weeks followed by regular breast milk.
There are numerous health benefits of breast milk. Some of the benefits to baby & mother,
- Contains the required nutrition & antibodies. It helps to build immunity to fight against infections.
- It reduces the risk of many diseases. Like celiac, allergies, asthma, ear infection, etc.
- Contains adequate fat and carbs which promotes healthy weight gain.
- Studies suggest that breast milk plays a vital role in brain development.
- Breast milk is always at the right temperature.
- During sickness, babies feel better and safe by having breast milk.
- Breast milk creates emotional bonding between mother & child. And skin to skin contact regulates the baby’s body temperature.
- To the mother - breastfeeding helps in uterus contraction, promotes a natural way of weight reduction, and lowers the risk of depression in mothers.
In the first 6 months breast milk is sufficient for a baby and after 6 months weaning/complementary food can be introduced in conjunction with breast milk. We recommend & encourage you to learn about breastfeeding positions and plan to get familiar with them well in advance.