General HealthPregnancy and Newborn Health

Smart Breastfeeding Techniques that Reduce Infant Mortality

In India, infant and young child feeding habits remain a public health concern. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective techniques to ensure the health and survival of a child. However, nearly two out of every three newborns are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended six months, a statistic that has remained constant for the past couple of decades. For newborns, breast milk is the best nourishment. It is safe, hygienic, and contains antibodies to help protect children against many illnesses. Breast milk provides all of the essential nutrients that an infant requires over the first few months of life, and it continues to provide.

Breastfeeding and breast milk have numerous advantages for kids and the mother. Breastfeeding is the most effective single method for reducing infant mortality and improving the physical and mental health of both the child and the breastfeeding mother. It is encouraged to breastfeed exclusively throughout the first six months of a child’s life and supplement with complimentary meals until the kid reaches the age of two years or more.

Mothers’ more mature immune systems produce antibodies in response to pathogens they have been exposed to. These antibodies are transferred into her milk and help retain her baby healthier. Immunoglobulin A protects the lining of the immature intestines of the newborn, preventing pathogens and allergens from entering. Newborns benefit from breastfeeding in the following ways:

  • Immune systems that are stronger
  • Preterm necrotizing enterocolitis, diarrhoea, constipation, gastroenteritis, gastroesophageal reflux, and preterm necrotizing enterocolitis are mostly eliminated (NEC)
  • Less frequent colds and respiratory infections like pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, and whooping cough
  • Lower infant mortality rates, Sudden-Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rates are lower

The benefits of breastfeeding to the mother are it burns more calories, thus it can help you lose weight faster after your pregnancy. It produces the hormone oxytocin, which aids in the restoration of your uterus to its pre-pregnancy size and may help to minimise postpartum uterine haemorrhage. In addition, breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and osteoporosis.

Finding a private space to breastfeed or pump may be challenging. Breast pumps, newborn weighing scales and nipple shields are three lactation technologies that can make human milk and nursing more convenient.

These lactation technologies might help mothers attain their individual nursing and lactation needs.

  • Breast pumps are medical equipment, authorised by the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. They can be used to maintain or enhance a woman’s milk production, alleviate engorged breasts and clogged milk ducts, and pull out flat or inverted nipples to make it easier for a nursing infant to latch on. Pumps can be either manual or electric. A breast shield that fits over the nipple, a pump that generates a vacuum to express milk and a retractable container for collecting milk are included in the breast pumps.
  • Newborn weighing scales: It is critical to determine how much milk the newborn can transfer throughout the feeding session and this includes weighing the infant before and after breastfeeding to assess milk intake. The use of newborn feeding weight scales enables the provider to measure milk transfer in a reliable and quantitative manner. Regardless of the mother’s milk production, one cannot assume that the newborn will be effective in transferring the required volume of milk from the breast, nor can one expect that the child will require supplements with a bottle or via tube feeding after every direct breastfeeding session. Any time there is a concern about maternal milk production or the infant’s capacity to transfer milk from the breast, practitioners should examine pre- and post-weights.
  • Nipple Shields: Nipple shields are a type of technology that comprises a thin, flexible silicone shield that lies above the mother’s areola and nipple to help the newborn maintain a strong latch and suction pattern without falling off. A nipple shield might be beneficial to any infant who exhibits symptoms of immature suction pressure. When the shield is placed over a flat or inverted nipple, the newborn is urged to initiate sucking. In general, nipple shield use should be discouraged for three reasons:
  1.  They are thought to reduce milk transfer from the mother to the infant and prevent complete breast emptying
  2. They are addictive, in the context that infants may prefer the nipple shield to the breast, making it difficult to stop using them
  3. Incomplete breast emptying and an infant’s addiction to nipple shields are thought to reduce the mother’s milk yield over time, causing lactation problems

Women can be helped to attain their specific nursing and lactation goals by using breast pumps, scales, and nipple shields. Lactation technology isn’t just used in the NICU or in hospitals. These techniques can be used in the home or in the hospital to promote the use of breastmilk while also maintaining the feeding attachment.

Author

Navya Koshi

Navya Mariam Koshi is a diligent, self-motivated Pharm D graduate using this platform to leverage her skills in this field to provide excellent and exceptional health care services to the public.

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