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Two Strong Reasons Why Babies Must Be Allowed To Suck Breast For A Long Duration Before Switching

Two Strong Reasons Why Babies Must Be Allowed To Suck Breast For A Long Duration Before Switching

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A health expert has advised mothers to wait for a long duration while breastfeeding their babies before they switch them to another breast.

Dr Abdurrazzaq Alege, a consultant paediatrician said waiting for the short duration would enable the children get:

  • The right nutrients.
  • Grow and develop optimally.

Dr Alege is a Consultant Paediatrician at the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Nephrology Division.

He said babies should spend a minimum of 15 minutes on one breast before they are switched to the other.

Dr Alege acknowledged that some children get satisfied after 15 minutes of feeding.

He, however, said that mothers should feed their babies until they refuse to suckle on the breast .

His words:

 “The essence of having to stay that long on the breast is to allow the child to get the necessary nutrients, otherwise, if you put the child to breastfeed for less than five minutes, basically what the child will get is just water to quench thirst.

“The child may not grow because he is not taking what is necessary for optimal development.”

In a chat with HealthWise, the paediatrician explained that breastmilk is divided into two:

  1. The foremilk – This contains just water.
  2. The hindmilk – This contains nutrients needed for the child.

According to the doctor, the fore milk comes first while the hindmilk which is very important comes much later.

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The expert continued:

“70 per cent of the breast milk is water. We always tell new mothers that when engaging in exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months; the child is not expected to take a single drop of water because we know that 70 per cent of the breastmilk is water. So even if you think the child is thirsty, give breast milk.

“However, It is the hindmilk that comes later that contains the nutrients the child will use like, proteins, carbohydrates, and vitamins. The major content is protein because it is the one that is necessary to build the body of the baby.

“What the child needs at that stage is bodybuilding to grow.”

He also advised nursing mothers to embrace the long duration of breastfeeding babies. According to him, this enable mothers bond with their children.

Dr Alege continued:

“The first benefit is what we call bonding. When the child is breastfeeding, the child will be looking at the mother’s face. It allows and encourages compassion. It helps to build an emotional attachment between the mother and the child.

He explained further that this bonding can also help in detecting other health issues.

The paediatrician continued:

“If you try to open the eyes of a newborn, it is usually difficult.

“Part of the problems with newborns is jaundice. It starts in the eyes. The white parts start to get yellow and when we want to check, it is usually difficult because when you try to open the eye, the child will forcefully close it.

“But the first person to tell about jaundice is usually the mother because anytime the child is breastfeeding, he is looking at the mother’s face so in a way, it helps in detecting jaundice.”

Among the other benefits of breastfeeding he disclosed was that it allows good contraction of the womb. He said this happens in the first few weeks of delivery.

He continued:

“Good breastfeeding and long breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, allow the womb to get back into shape.

“A mother that is giving water and other things to the baby will not give so much time to breastfeeding and this will not allow her uterus, the womb to contract well and get back to shape.”

Also, the doctor said that nursing mothers will feel uterine contractions when a baby is suckling. He explained that some mothers will feel like they are in labor when the uterus is contracting and getting back to its normal size.

He continued:

“So proper breastfeeding allows a good return to the pre-pregnancy abdominal state, which is the size of the abdomen before pregnancy.”

The World Health Organisation says breastfeeding is a lifesaver for the child.

In their words:

“Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival.”

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The WHO also said that an estimate of two out of three infants are still not exclusively breastfed for the recommended six months.

It explained:

“Breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies that help protect against many common childhood illnesses.

“Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one third during the second year of life. 

“Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life.

“Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers,” the global health agency said.
Source: Punch HealthWise

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