What is Breast Milk?
The human breast milk is rich in nutrients, antibodies and enzymes. It is a complete food consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins, providing all the necessary nourishment to your baby. The antibodies provide immunity to your baby, while other immunologic properties strengthen the baby’s gut with the accumulation of useful bacteria. The enzymes present in breast milk aid the baby in digestion.
Colostrum, the first milk produced immediately after birth is thick in texture, loaded with fats, nutrients and immune factors, and is highly recommended for your baby. Colostrum soon gets converted into mature milk.
Breastfeeding and Lactation
Apart from the stimulation from the hormones, lactation is initiated with continued breastfeeding. As the demand for breast milk increases by your baby, the supply also increases.
Your breasts continue to synthesize milk as long as your baby requires it. On an average, your baby feeds 8 to 12 times in a day. Around 800 mL of milk is synthesized per day.
Latching is how your baby fastens onto your breasts while breastfeeding. This is an important stage in lactation. The perfect latch helps your baby feed efficiently and also keeps you to feed your baby comfortably. Teaching your baby how to latch on prevents sore nipples which can be very painful.
Do’s and Don’ts of Lactation
It is to be noted that a woman’s health also plays an important role in milk production. Thus, when she is tired or stressed out, the quantity of milk production would reduce. Alcohol intake is also restricted while breastfeeding as it appears in the breast milk.
At NMC Royal Women’s Hospital, you will be provided personalized assistance to take care of yourself and your baby. You will be given assistance for various aspects including:
- Maintaining your breast milk supply
- Various methods of positioning your baby while breastfeeding
- Methods to help your baby latch onto your breasts correctly
- Ways to prevent pain, discomfort and sore nipples while breastfeeding
- Preventing clogging of the mammary glands and mastitis
- Caring for your nipples to avoid problems
- Breast pumping
- Breastfeeding multiples
- Breastfeeding and return to work
The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months after birth. At NMC Royal Women’s Hospital, our lactation experts are dedicated to assist you in achieving this goal by offering counselling and training to help new mothers who haven’t breastfed before or have trouble breastfeeding.
Our specialists and nurses have rich experience in assisting numerous families during all stages of the breastfeeding process starting from birth till the six-months and beyond.