Breastfeeding: A Healthy Start In Life

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Breastfeeding: A Healthy Start In Life
Breastfeeding: A Healthy Start In Life

Video: Breastfeeding: A Healthy Start In Life

Video: Breastfeeding: A Healthy Start In Life
Video: Breastfeeding: A healthy start for every child's life 2023, March

Breastfeeding - a healthy start in life

Breast milk is the best form of nutrition in the child's first few months. It contains all the nutrients the baby needs for healthy development. However, breastfeeding is more than just eating. By breastfeeding the baby experiences closeness and security, and all five of the baby's senses are stimulated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that babies only breastfeed for the first six months to give them a healthy start in life.


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  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • When does breast milk start?
  • What are the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby?
  • What are the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother?
  • How do I put the child on correctly?
  • How should I eat while breastfeeding?
  • Whom can I ask?

When does breast milk start?

Already towards the end of the pregnancy, the so-called colostrum begins to form. It is yellowish, thick and contains a particularly large number of substances to promote the immune system, which is supposed to protect the newborn from diseases. In the first few days after the birth, even small amounts of the first milk are sufficient to feed the baby; the newborn's stomach can only absorb a few milliliters of fluid.

The composition of breast milk changes over the course of the first few days and weeks. Between the second and fourth day after the birth, the actual milk production begins - the so-called milk penetration or initial swelling of the mammary glands. The chest becomes plump and can sometimes be painful. This milk is then called transitional milk. It is more fluid and whiter than the foremilk. Mature breast milk is produced around the 14th day of the child's life.

Frequent application of the child to the breast promotes milk production. As a result of the sucking stimulus, the hormones oxytocin and prolactin are released, which support the flow of milk, promote the regression of the uterus and have a positive influence on the mother-child relationship.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby?

Breast milk contains all the nutrients that are important for the baby's development, ie all the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins it needs. In addition, living cells, growth factors and antibodies are passed on to the child through breast milk. The latter protect the baby's immature immune system from infections and allergies in the first few months of life.

The composition of the breast milk of a healthy mother is perfectly adapted to the needs of the child. It is well tolerated, easy to digest and completely sufficient to satisfy hunger and thirst. Breast milk promotes the maturation of the child's intestines and the development of a healthy intestinal flora and reduces the risk of some gastrointestinal diseases. Breastfeeding also promotes the child's tooth and jaw development. By sucking on the chest, an optimal development of the jaw and mouth muscles is achieved.

In addition, all five of the baby's senses are stimulated when breastfeeding: the mother sees, feels, hears, smells and tastes. The baby experiences closeness and security through breastfeeding. Many babies want to breastfeed - even if they don't feel hungry. Sucking on the chest calms you down and gives you a feeling of warmth and security.

Last but not least, breastfeeding also has positive long-term effects on the health of the child: For example, children who were breastfed in the first few months of life were found to have a reduced risk of obesity or diabetes. The length of breastfeeding seems to play a role in particular.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother?

Breastfeeding also has advantages for mothers. The hormone oxytocin is released during breastfeeding. This triggers contractions in the uterus (after labor), which have a positive effect on the weekly flow and accelerate the regression of the enlarged uterus. Breastfeeding is very practical, costs nothing and makes you independent - because breast milk is always available, clean and always at the right temperature. In addition, breastfeeding mothers lose weight faster after giving birth, as additional energy is used.

Positive long-term effects were found in women who breastfed for a certain period of time, a reduced risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer

Large observational studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce the maternal risk of breast cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the greater the potential protective effect, which also increases with the number of children she breastfed. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer. More on the topic: uterine (neck) and ovarian cancer

Last but not least, breastfeeding promotes the regression of the uterus, which is why women who have breastfed are less likely to experience urinary incontinence on average.

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How do I put the child on correctly?

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural things in the world, but it takes a little practice for everything to work well. Correct application to the breast is important so that the baby does not have to exert himself so much and the breastfeeding mother does not get a blocked breast or a breast infection. It is advisable to change breastfeeding positions - especially if the nipples are sore or if a blockage develops.

Tips for the correct breastfeeding technique:

  • Make yourself as comfortable as possible while breastfeeding: Sit in bed or on an armchair and support your arm with a pillow.
  • Put your baby in your arms so that his / her body is fully facing you: the baby lies tummy to tummy with you. The baby should be able to reach your chest without turning its head.
  • When breastfeeding, it is important that the baby not only put the nipple itself, but also part of the areola in its mouth. This is the only way it can suck effectively. The nipples are not so easily sore.
  • Bring the baby's head up to the chest, not the other way around.
  • When you notice that your baby is full and is only suckling at the breast, you can carefully remove it from the breast. Since a vacuum is created in the child's mouth when sucking, it is important to first release the vacuum by gently pressing a finger between the chest and the corner of the mouth.
  • At the beginning of each feeding, offer the baby both breasts. Start with the breast where the baby last drank. This stimulates milk production on both breasts evenly.

The three most popular breastfeeding positions:

  • Sitting breastfeeding (cradle position): Sit comfortably in bed or on an armchair and hold your baby's head in the crook of your arm. It is important that you support your forearms with a backrest or a pillow.
  • Lying breastfeeding: Lie on your side in bed and support your back with a pillow. Place the baby on the side of your chest.
  • Breastfeeding with a back grip: Sit comfortably on an armchair or on a sofa and hold your baby firmly in the neck so that the thumb and forefinger come to rest around the ears. The baby's nose is level with your nipple with their feet pointing towards your back.

How should I eat while breastfeeding?

During breastfeeding, the mother's need for energy and nutrients increases. In order to literally “satisfy” the baby's needs, mothers need a few more calories when they are breastfeeding. But be careful: the additional calories you need are no license to snack on! Chocolate, biscuits & Co. deliver far more calories than necessary in no time - but unfortunately not the important nutrients that the child needs.

More on the topic: Nutrition during breastfeeding

Note It is not always necessary to avoid medication during breastfeeding. However, the active ingredient of some herbs can pass into breast milk and thus also affect the child's organism. It is therefore important for women who are breastfeeding to find out exactly what medication to use and to consult their doctor.

Whom can I ask?

You can find information and advice on breastfeeding on the following websites, among others:

  • Austrian midwifery committee
  • VSLÖ - Association of Breastfeeding and Lactation Consultants in Austria: Professional experts and internationally certified breastfeeding and lactation advice IBCLC (breastfeeding advice in breastfeeding groups or individual advice)
  • La Leche Liga - Association of Breastfeeding Mothers Austria: Here you will find the complete directory of all La Leche Liga advisors and breastfeeding groups.
  • Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection: Breastfeeding and complementary food:
  • Austrian working group for independent breastfeeding groups: Free and voluntary breastfeeding advice for mothers in the form of breastfeeding groups and individual advice (by telephone, in writing, in person).

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