How Long Breast Feeding should be Continued & What should be the Supplementary Diet for Baby?
The health of the mother, the rate of production of milk, the health and growth of the baby, the nutritive quality of the milk: all these factors have to be considered.
Often the mother or the child experiences discomfort on the first or the second day of menstruation, breast-feeding must be discontinued at once, and bottle-feeding should be substituted.
The best and most convenient time for weaning is when the baby is eight to ten months old. Breast-feeding is no longer advantageous beyond that time, as the nutritional requirements of the baby increase and the supply of milk decreases around that time.
1. If breast feeder may not be available and the baby has to be given milk from a dairy, or milk of animals like cows, goats or buffaloes, the milk should be carefully prepares before giving it to the baby. In such cases, in the first week after birth, one part of milk should be mixed with two parts of water, one spoonful of sugar added, and the mixture boiled and cooled to body temperature. Milk prepared in this way should be given to the baby with a small spoon from a cup or a bowl. The proportion of water should be decreased as baby grows up, till in the beginning of the third month milk can be given without addition of any water. If you are using buffalo milk, water should not be dispensed with till the fifth month. The proportion of sugar should be gradually increased, till the baby gets about four to six spoonfuls of sugar in a day. In the first month, about six feeds a day would be required, but no hard and fast rules can be laid down in this matter.
2. The total daily amount of milk must be calculated in accordance with the weight of the baby, its rate of growth and general health. If the baby is about three kilogram in weight, it is likely to need about half a litre of milk a day. Normally the requirements are calculated on the basis of 140 millilitres of milk for every kilogramme of body weight. Milk can be given five to six times a day, but no more than about 90 millilitres should be given in one feed. As the baby grows older, this amount can be increased.
3. Sometimes milk has to be prepared from milk powder. In such a case, be sure to follow the directions given on the tin for the purpose.
4. Most mothers use bottles and rubber nipples (teats) to feed their babies. Scientifically speaking this is not good practice. It is much better to feed the milk to the baby with a small clean spoon from a bowl or a cup, and to take your time over it.
5. Give cereal preparations to the baby while it is being breast-fed
6. When it is four to six months old, supplementary food becomes necessary, as its nutritional requirements increase with age. Such supplementary food may be of two types :
(a) Cow’s, buffalo’s or goat’s milk, or milk prepared from milk powder.
(b) Thin clear soups of pulses, water in which rice has been boiled (rice extract), kheer prepared from rice or broken wheat (sooji, rava), soups of green leafy vegetables like spinach, etc.
(c) Juices of vegetables and fruits.