BREASTFED BUT STARVED
The Price of Breastfeeding “Quickies”
The benefits of breast feeding, both for the baby, the mother and the society at large; cannot be overemphasised. However this is not a gospel on such benefits, neither is it a clarion call for exclusive breastfeeding. I think enough has being said on those already.
The aim of this article is to educate mothers on the minimal duration of time for each breastfeeding session required for optimal outcome.
THE PROBLEM AS IT STANDS
Most nursing mothers spend less than 10mins per breastfeeding session feeding their young, either due to the demanding nature of their jobs,role at home, or just ignorance.
Fact is that any breastfeeding session that lasts less than 10 to 15 minutes is more or less an exercise to “quench the baby of its thirst” as what the breast “secrets” within that short period is more or less plain water devoid of enough nutrients and calories to sustain the child.
DYNAMICS of BREAST MILK PRODUCTION
The dynamics of breast milk production is such that milk is produced by virtue of the stimulating effect of the child’s suckling on its mother’s nipples triggering a “letdown reflex” which delivers breast milk produced “de novo” [a new] directly to the breast ducts and into the baby’s mouth [contrary to the popular belief that the bulk of breast milk is “stored” in the breast].
The composition of milk produced initially by means of this mechanism is different and is called the FORE MILK, high in volume but low in concentration of calories and nutrients. Later on as a breastfeeding session progresses, the composition of the milk changes gradually into a low volume, concentrated milk rich in nutrients and calories called the HIND MILK.
Fact is as a rule of thumb of nature, babies keep suckling until they get satisfied which usually coincides to when they have gotten their fill of the HIND MILK. However most mothers don’t wait this long, they just stop the session at will not giving recourse to whether the baby has fed to its fill or not.
Arbitrarily, a breast feeding session should last up to 20 to 30 minutes as the HIND MILK comes into play in most cases after 10 to 15 minutes of each session.
This is also the same reason it is not advisable to switch breasts during a breastfeeding session.
PS: Colostrum is produced in the first few days after the baby is born. Colostrum contains a lot of protein and antibody, the form is very thick and in small quantities. In the first lactation colostrum that comes out just as much as a teaspoon. Although few, colostrum can coat and protect baby’s gut from the bacteria, as well as adequate baby nutrition on the first day.
Do not throw away that first milk that comes out.
It is pertinent that nursing mothers realise that each time you give your baby a “quickie”, you just ended up succeeding in quenching his thirst and not the hunger perse.
To avoid this, you have 2 options:
1. Either let him/her feed to his/her fill
2. Breastfeed for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Credit : Dr Chibuike Chukwudum (Team ‘AskthePaediatricians’ on Facebook)
Photo Credit and information on Colostrum : http://www.healthiestcare.com/