In the Indian households, some very important early decisions of a mother for her baby are governed by the wisdom and awareness of not just the mothers but the grandmothers too.
After childbirth, when you face challenges such as sleepless nights, unstoppable crying, feeding issues, tantrums and more, you constantly look for support and advise from people around you. It is in this weak state of health that the role of grandmothers becomes very important in the care of the baby and the mother. Hence, it is equally important to empower them too about this very important issue.
The biggest challenge that a new mother faces is figuring out how to console a crying baby. Is she hungry? Is she colic? Is she sleepy? Has she pooped? Does something hurt? It can be anything! But you are never sure. And against the loud wails of the baby, there is very little you can actually do to inspect and find a solution. That’s when breastfeeding came in most handy for me. Not only did this stop the crying immediately but also gave me as a mother few minutes to calmly evaluate the situation, examine the baby attentively while she is feeding and spot the real problem.
This is just one benefit. Researchers have published numerous papers on the umpteen benefits that this natural phenomena brings to both the baby and the mother. First let me list some of these benefits before I address the main issue : Why still some mothers deter from breastfeeding?
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING FOR THE BABY :
- Breastmilk contains all the ideal nutrients that a baby requires along with being easier to digest compared to infant formula. Hence a happier baby with lesser digestive and colic issues.
- Contains antibodies that help the baby fight bacteria and viruses. This is so so crucial given the serious repercussions of illnesses in infants.
- Lowers the risk of allergies and asthma. Aren’t allergies the biggest problem we are facing these days?
- Less prone to ear infections, diarrhoea and respiratory illnesses. Meaning their visits to the doctor are less frequent.
- Babies tend to gain the right amount of wait as they grow up, which prevents cancer, diabetes and other diseases in future.
- Skin to skin contact is very important to secure your bond with the baby and help her feel safe.
BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING FOR THE MOTHER
No health benefits from food, exercise and lifestyles are immediate. They all take their time to make and break your body. If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis 10 years down the line, it will be because of your bad lifestyle decisions now. Not what you do 10 years later. Same goes for breast feeding.
Here are the BENEFITS TO YOU AS A MOTHER which you can hope to reap in the coming few years :
- Helps reduce weight faster as weight gain can be a major concern for many new mothers and a cause of stress too.
- Greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer and of ovarian cancer. Again, not an immediate benefit but ask the women suffering from these serious diseases in the later stages of their life. Why not fight it before hand?
- Breastfeeding automatically makes you choose a healthier lifestyle by eating a healthy diet and abstaining from alcohol and smoking.
- Reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a very common disease especially in Indian women.
- Reduces the risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardio vascular diseases compared to women who have not breastfed.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE
After reading the above of course every mother would want to choose to breastfeed. But still, there are three main reasons as per the survey by Economic Times that again prevents them from choosing it :
- The Biggest Reason : Lack of support from family members
This is where the role of grandmothers becomes very important. Crying noises of the baby are generally followed by this sentence, “Iska pet nahin bhar raha. Isko uppar ka doodh do.”
Dear readers, there are umpteen reasons for a baby to cry – colic, soiled diaper, need for sleep, uncomfortable due to the way she has been held, unwell and many many more. But its easy to blame on insufficient mother’s milk just because bottle feeding has become a popular practice. On the contrary, if you are a healthy mother, your body knows best how much milk your baby needs, and not the ounce measurement scale of the formula bottle.
- Feeling tied up at home or difficulty in returning back to work for working women
Breast pumps are surely a great invention and very easy to use too. If this is the issue, definitely use them.
- Fear of sagging breasts
According to webmd.com, women often fear that breastfeeding will make their breasts sag (not a medical concern). But other factors can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding. These include:
- BMI — body mass index, a measure of your percentage of body fat
- The number of pregnancies you’ve had
- A large pre-pregnancy breast size
- A history of smoking
Finally, TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. They will guide you as to what is best for you and your baby and help you find a solution for the same too.
In the end, be it a boy or a girl, I strongly encourage all our readers to not be scared to dedicate some time of their life after childbirth to their children and aim to breastfeed them exclusively for at least for 6-12 months. This time is not going to come back. Make it count!
Wishing you all great health and healthy babies!
Source : Economic Times newspaper