WHY BREAST FEEDING IS BEST FEEDING
Last month we learned how important it is for pregnant mums to be in the best possible health so that their babies in the womb can grow and develop in the best way possible. We also learned how baby’s brain development starts from conception and healthy brain development depends on pregnant mum eating nutritious food, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking clean water and getting exercise and rest. We learned how everything mum eats and drinks, finds its way through to baby and how alcohol and drugs damage baby’s brain.
So what happens after birth? What is the most nutritious and best food for baby? Extensive research shows that breastmilk is the best possible food you can feed a baby. It’s human food for a human baby! Nature has designed breastmilk to provide everything your baby needs, including all the vitamins and nutrients. Research also shows that breastfed babies are more intelligent! Breast milk contains disease fighting properties that protect your baby from killer diseases like pneumonia (very bad chest infections with temperatures and coughs), diarrhoea (runny tummy) and malnutrition (not enough food, or the wrong kind of food). In fact research shows that babies who are not breastfed are six times more likely to die from these 3 main baby killers – pneumonia, diarrhoea and malnutrition, than those who are breastfed.
The first milk the mother produces in the first hours and days after birth contains a substance called colostrum. This is very powerful in protecting your baby against germs and therefore protecting him or her from illness. It’s actually the baby’s first immunisation! So it’s very important for mum to put baby on the breast straight after birth, as this helps colostrum and breast milk to flow. Staff in the facility where mum gives birth should support the new mum to put her baby to the breast immediately after birth. Not only does this help mum’s milk to come, but it is a very important time for mum and baby to love, cuddle and bond to form a strong attachment. This loving relationship is also critically important for baby’s brain development and general wellbeing.
Not only does breastmilk protect baby from illnesses when he or she is little, it can also improve people’s health in later life. Breastmilk can protect your baby against developing allergies, and even helps reduce health problems like diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and bowel disease later in life. AND breast feeding is better for the mum as well! So dads, families and communities – support your mums to breastfeed!
If all the evidence for breastfeeding is so powerful, why don’t all mothers breastfeed? Some mums worry that they are not making enough milk and baby will be hungry, but the reality is that there are very few mothers who can’t breastfeed successfully. Some may just need more support. Almost every mother can breastfeed and the sooner breastfeeding is established and the more often baby suckles, the more milk mum produces. Even HIV positive mothers can breastfeed as long as they are taking their anti-retroviral medication exactly as advised by medical staff. Even if you have to leave your baby for periods during the day, you can express your breastmilk and safely store it to be fed to your baby while you are away. The amazing benefits of breastfeeding make the effort worthwhile.
All Department of Health staff and facilities will help new mothers to get started and support breastfeeding because this is strongly the South African Department of Health’s policy. If you have any problems getting started with breastfeeding, do insist on support from your healthcare worker, or find someone who can help you. It’s best to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding and the support available before you give birth, so that you know who to ask if you need help. Next time we’ll talk about Exclusive Breastfeeding and why this is important.
LOVE, PLAY TALK
Learn more about what you can do to change your child’s future by listening weekly to LOVE, PLAY TALK, the radio programme on Valley FM aired EVERY Tuesday from 10 to 10.30am and brought to you by Ilifa Labantwana and RCL FOODS. Each week Valley FM hosts a guest speaker to deal with a different topic to support you, the parent of a young child, give your child the best start in life. You, the parent, have a critically important role to play!
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST
SETTING A GOOD FOUNDATION FOR WORCESTER CHILDREN TO READ, WRITE AND DO MATHS
The building blocks for children to read, write and do maths are set in the very early years, long before children get to Grade R or Grade 1. Early childhood teachers from Worcester creches and pre-schools have been learning how to give their little ones this strong foundation through the Every Word Counts programme sponsored by RCL FOODS. To give teachers and parents lots of ideas for activities that will develop the skills young children need, they have downloaded the CareUp app onto their mobile phones. You can too!
ANYONE can sign up and once downloaded – it’s free! Go to a free Wi-Fi zone to download.
- MOBI: Go to mobi
ANDROID: Open Play Store app, search for CareUp and install it
- MOBI: select a username and add your phone number
- Add your name and surname and select the crèche your child goes to from the drop-down menu
- Add your child’s name and surname.
- Select a language
- Click on save
- For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021-888 7000
Beautiful baby books made by Worcester ECD teachers to give their young pupils a strong language foundation for early literacy and numeracy.