Experts agree that breast milk is the ideal food for babies. It offers the perfect blend of nutrients to nourish your newborn. Breast milk contains proteins that are easy for babies to digest as well as protective antibodies that help your baby’s immune system ward off infections and prevent allergies. Prebiotics and probiotics are also naturally found in breast milk. They work to help support your baby’s developing immune system. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby, with solids gradually being introduced around this age.
Breast milk also has the remarkable capability to change as your baby’s nutritional needs change. For the first three to four days, your breasts produce a thick, yellowish fluid called colostrum. It contains more protein and less fat than the breast milk that will come later.
During the early weeks, your baby will probably breastfeed about every 2 to 3 hours for 10 to 20 minutes at each breast. When she’s hungry, she may cry or become fussy, bring her fingers to her mouth, or root for the nipple.
Don’t be afraid to wake your baby for a feeding. Maintaining a consistent schedule is important for building up your milk production.
Phases of breast milk
A yellowish, translucent fluid your breasts secrete during the first few days of breastfeeding.
- Contains easy-to- digest proteins, vitamins and minerals
- Contains antibodies to protect your baby from disease, high in Immunoglobulin-A, it protects the new born till its own immune system is functioning properly
- Frequent, short feedings help the adjustment to breastfeeding, increase milk production and help with your baby’s first bowel movement.
Marks the change from colostrum to regular breast milk in about three days from the onset of breastfeeding; it is thin, watery and sweet.
- As milk comes in, your breasts may become very full and tender.
- Continue to breastfeed consistently every 2-3 hours; don’t skip or prolong time between feedings. Consistency is important at this time to help your body establish milk production and to synchronise with your baby’s needs.
Breast milk is nature’s most perfect, nutritionally balanced food for your baby’s healthy, natural growth and development. It evolves as your baby’s nutritional needs grow. It contains more of the fats and proteins needed for energy, weight gain, healthy brain and cell development and is easy for your baby to digest