Breast-feeding is the natural source of nourishment for the child and offers both mother and son a wonderful opportunity to learn how to get to know each other from the very first hours after birth.
As a matter of fact, an extremely important element for the successful development of breast-feeding is to attach the baby to the breast during the first hour after birth, in order to get the best out of a series of hormonal mechanisms that promote maternal and neonatal health.
Breast milk is the best baby specific food because it provides all the nutrients the baby needs in the first phase of life and contains essential substances to both protect it from possible bacterial and viral infections and to encourage his intestinal development.
Finally, breastfeeding is not only physical nourishment; while suckling the child experiences the first interactions with the mother, learning to communicate, asking for comfort, and interpreting non-verbal signals of the mother.
Unicef WHO (World Health Organization) child nutrition recommendations:
• Place babies in a skin on skin contact with the mother immediately after birth for at least an hour and encourage mothers to recognize when the infant is ready to breast-feed, offering help if necessary.
• During the first 6 months of life, feed the child exclusively with breast milk.
• After 6 months, to meet the increasing nutritional needs, the diet should be supplemented with complementary foods, suitable and safe, continuing breastfeeding until the age of two years or more, according to the desire of the mother and child.
• The supplementary feeding should be timely, adequate, safe, properly offered, at the request and guided by the child according to their own times and ways.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING FOR MOTHER AND BABY
Benefits for the child:
- It is the ideal food, highly specific, to meet the needs of growth and development of the child
- Protects against infections
- Enhances visual acuity and reduces dental problems
- Reduces the risk of allergies and other diseases in paediatric age (obesity and diabetes)
Benefits for the mother:
- Uterine involution (return of the uterus to normal conditions) is faster due to the contractions produced by the oxytocin that is released during the baby's suckling
- Reduction of the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis in old age
- Reduction of the risk of close pregnancies
- Facilitates the attachment and care of the child