Importance & Benefits of Mother Milk for New Born Baby
As far as mother-milk’s importance to the baby is concerned, the WHO, the UNICEF, the International Organisation of Gynaecologists and Paediatricians-all these bodies have unequivocally declared that mother’s milk is the best food for the newly born baby, and no other kind of milk or baby food can ever rival its nutritive value. It is Nature’s supreme gift to the baby. It is replete with all the nutritional ingredients necessary for the growth and development of the baby. It enables the baby to resist the onslaught of diseases and imparts it immunity to infections.
A thick, viscous yellowish milk-like fluid is secreted in the mother’s breasts during the first few days after the birth of the baby. This is called the ‘Colostrums’. This fluid, which differs a little from mother’s milk secreted by her breast later, is not only nutritious for the baby but also contains large amounts of vitamin A, and, what is more important, antibodies to fight various infections and diseases. Every understanding and healthy mother should insist on giving this fortifying food to her child which contains the following grammas of ingredients to per 100 grams of colostrums:
(i) Proteins: 6 gms
(ii) Fats: 2.5 gms
(iii) Starch: 3 gms
The amount of colostrums secreted varies from 10 to 40 millilitres a day. Some of the benefits conferred on the baby by feeding this liquid to it are mentioned here:
1. The child is afforded protection against a number of disorders because of the antibodies contained in colostrums. Thus the child acquires powers of resistance to colds, cough, diarrhoea, suppuration of the ears, poliomyelitis and a number of other disorders that manifest themselves at later stages of development, such as allergies, asthma, skin diseases etc. Colostrums also ensures regular bowel movements of the baby, prevents constipation and gets it rid of the blackish wastes that have accumulated in the intestines of the child during its stay in the womb.
2. Colostrums enhances the digestive powers of the child, defends it against the untoward effects of some foods, and stimulates the secretion of various digestive juice in the intestines of the baby, which will subsequently help it in the digestion of milk, fruits and such other foods in its later life.
3. This liquid promotes the growth of certain beneficial bacteria in the intestines and facilitates digestion and absorption of various foods.
Most healthy mothers of average physique produce half a litre to three quarters of a litre of milk in a day. This is quite sufficient for the nutritional requirements of the new-born baby. If the amount of milk produced keeps pace with the growth and growing requirements of the child, there is no need of any additional food to be given to the baby for three to four months at least. But what happens, in fact, is that the production of breast milk gradually decreases, while the requirements of the baby are increasing. Under these circumstances the baby has to be given pasteurised milk of low fat content, and fruit juices, in addition to breast milk.
Normally, the breast-feeding should continue for about six months. However, as a rough estimate it can be stated that after the first week, six to eight feeds a day would be advisable. This frequency should ensure that the baby remains calm, cheerful and healthy.