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Parenting Guidlines



Feeding up your baby


The following are some feeding methods with their advantages and disadvantages.

Breast Feeding :

The simplest and easiest way to feed your baby if nothing but breast feed as it is the natureís food.
All our village mothers breast-feed their babies and do not even consider an alternative; but somehow, one finds that the educated urban mother does not seem to have enough milk, and even though she says she wants to breast-feed her baby she soon resorts to a bottle because her milk is not enough. Why and what is the difference between these village and urban mother. The first one knows no alternatives breast-feeding comes naturally to her, she has seen her friends and relatives breast-feeding their babies and has learnt by observing how it is done. She has no inhibitions about it and the whole thing is perfectly natural. She feeds the baby wherever she is, whether at home or visiting friends, alone or in company. The hormone responsible for the let-down reflex which ejects the milk out of the breast is dependent on the motherís emotions, desire and the joy of being able to feed the baby. We know it with cattle, a little untoward incident and the cow gets upset and does not let down her milk. The human species is very much the same. No involvement, no desire, no milk.

The minute the mother poses a problem, the alternative of bottle-feeding is suggested. As soon as the baby cries, it is assumed that the motherís milk is not enough, and a bottle is offered immediately. This happens only during the first 3-4 days before motherís milk becomes plentiful. This practice seems not good for the breast-feeding babies in two way, the mother thinks that the alternative of bottle-feeding is easy, and since the babyís hunger is satisfied he does not suck vigorously at the breast. He may need a small bottle-feed if he is really bringing down the roof. But try and keep this to the minimum. A hungry baby will suck vigorously at the breast and this will help to bring more milk to the breast.
Suffice it to say that most babies do not mind waiting 2 or 3 days for more milk, but if a particular baby is adamant, let him have a small bottle.

Advantage of breast feed :

It has more advantages. Because as we all know, it is the most suitable, natural milk for the baby, and nature meant it to be given to the baby. It is ever warm, readily available, almost bacteria-free and can be simply transported along with the mother. Breast-feeding brings baby and mother together. The baby loves to be held, cuddled and talked to.

A great deal of work has been done recently on the advantages of this early mother-baby interaction. There is no bother about boiling bottles, teats, bowls, spoons and so on, not to mention the cost all this involves.

Infections in the baby, particularly diarrhoea, are far less in a breast-fed baby because of a cleaner milk which prevents the growth of germs that cause diarrhoea. Apart from these, as breast milk has many protective substances which prevent the growth of diarrhoea germs. The composition of protein, sugar and fat is also ideal for the babyís digestion and growth. There is no problem with milk allergy.

In breast feeding there are no disadvantages at all.

The fear that breast-feeding will spoil your figure is without foundation and is not true. All you need is to wear a good bra. The fact that it makes the mother to become fat is also not true, and with a sensible and nourishing diet, much the same as in pregnancy, you need not put on extra weight at all.

You should be comfortable, and whether you feed in a lying-down position or sitting up in bed or in a chair, hardly matters. The baby sucks vigorously for about 5 minutes and you can feel the milk rushing through your breast. For the next few minutes he continues to suck a little more slowly, after which he can be put on the other breast. Breast-fed babies do not swallow much air, and so burping is not so essential.

Bottle-fed baby needs more burping :

Bottle feeding baby swallows more air and will need burping half-way through the feed or certainly at the end of it. Some babies are very obliging and will bring up wind quickly while others take a long time. You can put down the baby in the cot for a few minutes and pick him up again. A change in position from a lying down to an upright position will make the gas bubble come up. The position of the bottle while feeding is important.

Bottle feeding :

There is a wide choice of bottles. Any upright bottle which will stand boiling is suitable. It is better to have 3-4 bottles so that you do not have to boil a bottle before every feed. All the bottles can be boiled at one time.

The bottle can also be a bond between the mother and the baby. The mother can hold the baby in her lap and the closeness can be as satisfying as it is in breast-feeding. The trouble arises when the mother thinks that since she is not breast-feeding the baby someone else can do the bottle- feeding as well, and in well-off homes this is left to the ayah or sometimes to a small servant boy, or a relative may be asked to feed the baby. This robs the baby of the feeling of closeness to the mother. Some mothers prop the bottle up against a cushion or pillow.

Breast engorgement :

Engorgement may occur on the third or fourth day, when more milk comes into the breast. Extra milk must be removed by expressing the breast near the areola with the thumb and index finger. A good supporting bra should be worn. Engorged breasts are painful and the baby finds it difficult to suck from a tense, hard breast because while sucking, he pulls the nipple right to the back of his mouth, and is actually sucking the areola. If the breast is tense, he finds it difficult to suck. Engorgement may also lead to a breast abscess unless excess milk is removed in time. On the other hand, a cold pack may give some relief. Breast pumps cause swelling of the nipple, which may again lead to infection. So manual expression is best.

Humanised Milk :

In many parts of the world, cowís milk is modified to make it comparable to human milk. This only goes to show that motherís milk is best for the baby In India no humanized milk is available and so this is all the more reason for you to breast-feed your baby.
While using powdered milk it is important to remember that the scoop should be filled level, and not more than that. Usually, 30 ml. of water is needed for 1 scoop of milk. It is important that the water for making the milk be boiled. It is preferable to boil water for every feed rather than keep it in a thermos flask. You should wash your hands properly before making the feed.

Is the breast milk enough :

Some mothers are very panicky as to whether the baby is getting enough breast milk. A baby who is not fretful and sleeps happily in between feeds and does not demand feeds earlier than 2-3 hours, is getting enough from the breast. The fullness of the breasts and the feel of the milk flowing through the breast when he sucks, also suggest that breast milk is enough. You will see and feel your baby growing and of course you can weigh him more frequently to begin with to reassure yourself. Later, weighing the baby once a month is enough.
If the baby cries and demands feeds more frequently or does not sleep properly, then your milk may not enough. His stool will become hard and he will not gain sufficient weight or may not gain weight at all. You can try and give him 25-30 mls. (1 oz.) of milk in a bottle and if he takes it happily he is hungry clearly. At times you may not have any breast milk right from the beginning, and so you will need to give the bottle, but remember it is only second best.
There are all kinds of beliefs about various foods increasing breast milk. There is no evidence that any of these help. What is important is that the mother should have the desire to feed her baby, and should be relaxed about it. She should rest during the day and not let herself get too tired and anxious.

The following is a guide to the number of feeds and the quantity per feed :

Age Number of feeds in 24 hrs.
Birth to 1 month 6 to 8
1 to 3 months 5 to 6
3 to 6 4 to 5
6 to 12 3 to 4

Age Average quantity per feed
1 to 2 weeks 50 to 75 mls
2 weeks to 2 months 100 to 125 mls
2 to 3 months 125 to 150 mls
3 to 4 months 150 to 175 mls
5 to 12 months 175 to 225 mls

Every child is different, and the amount of milk varies considerably, but the following is a good guide :
When the baby finishes a bottle and seems to look around as if asking for more, he is ready for more and 15 to 30 mls more may be added to the bottle. The maximum the baby needs at one feed is a full bottle of 8 oz. or 225 mls.
Cow or buffalo milk is different in some ways from motherís milk. It has different kind of protein (casein instead of lactalbumin of motherís milk) and it has less sugar. For the first 6-8 weeks the milk may be diluted with 1 part of water to 3 parts of milk.
After that, dilution is not necessary, and the baby should be given undiluted milk with added sugar. The powdered milk too can he made up in the same proportions for the first few weeks. As we all know, buffaloís milk is very rich in fat. This can be reduced by removing the top layer of cream after boiling.


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