An Overview Of Breastfeeding Essay Research Paper

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An Overview Of Breastfeeding Essay, Research Paper AN OVERVIEW OF BREASTFEEDING BREASTFEEDING Breastfeeding is widely believed to be the most beneficial method of feeding for the health and well being of most infants. It is the natural next step in the continuum of pregnancy. Though breastfeeding is natural, technique is a learned skill. As with any skill, the keys to successful breastfeeding are knowledge, practice and patience. It is important to get started correctly and know well in advance how to identify and avoid possible problems. Most breastfeeding problems occur during the first few weeks as mother and baby begin establishing nursing patterns. It is an important investment for the mother?s and baby?s continued good health. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition

for an infant. It provides all the nutrition needs during the first six to twelve months of life. Breastfeeding offers newborns emotional as well as nutritional benefits. Skin-to-skin contact helps to reduce the stress babies experience as they enter the world from the security of the womb. Tension quickly subsides as the sight of the mother?s face and the familiar sounds of her breathing, voice, and heartbeat comfort the baby. This begins the important process of mother and baby bonding. Breast Milk Production Milk is produced and stored in the glandular tissues called alveoli of the breasts. It collects in the pockets known as lactiferous sinuses located beneath the areola until it is released by a baby?s sucking. Stimulation of the nipples cause the mother?s pituitary gland,

located in the brain, to secret prolactin. This initiates and maintains milk production. The first milk the newborn receives at each feeding is the milk that has collected in the lactiferous sinuses between feedings. This low fat foremilk is high in protein and satisfies the newborn?s thirst. As breastfeeding continues, a second hormone called oxytocin is secreted. Oxytocin causes the tissue around the alveoli to contract, thus squeezing high fat hindmilk down the ducts and into the pockets where it is available to satisfy the newborn?s hunger. Many mothers experience a tingling or rushing sensation in the breast as this ?let down? or milk ejection reflex (MER) occurs. Other mothers notice only that sucking becomes longer and slower and that the newborn begins to swallow

rhythmically. Keys to establishing a quick letdown are relaxation and confidence that the mother?s body is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Composition of Breast Milk During pregnancy, the mother?s body produces a substance called Colostrum. This clear to creamy to golden yellow substance is found in the breasts during pregnancy. Between the third and sixth day after birth, hormonal patterns of the mother change rapidly. These changes cause colostrum to change to a transitional form of breast milk. During this time, the amount of protein and immune factors in the milk gradually decrease while fat, lactose and calories in the milk increase. By the tenth day after birth, the mother produces mature breast milk, which is also commonly referred to as human milk. Health

Advantages Of Breastfeeding Your Baby Colostrum is the perfect starter food for babies. It is high in protein, zinc and other minerals. It contains less fat, carbohydrates and calories than breast milk. Colostrum acts as a natural laxative to clear the meconium (first stool) from the baby?s intestine. This decreases the chances of jaundice. It also contains the natural sugar lactose, which helps stabilize the newborn?s blood sugar level, preventing hypoglycemia. Lactose is used in tissues of the brain and spinal cord, and it provides the infant with energy. Bacteria in the infant?s intestines feed on lactose and produce B vitamins. Lactose may also help the infant absorb essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. Breast milk from most women has the same