To ensure adequate milk production and flow for 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and thereafter continued breastfeeding, certain practices are very important.
•The infant should be fed as frequently and for as long as he or she wants to, during both day and night. The suckling should be allowed until the infant spontaneously releases the nipple. This is called demand feeding. Restricting length of the breastfeeding session may result in the baby getting less of the energy rich hindmilk. The 24-hour average intake of milk is about 800 mL per day during the first 6 months.
•At the time of delivery, before breastfeeding is initiated, no prelacteal feed should be given to the infant. Apart from having the harmful effects on the infant like risk of infection, such a practice may interfere in the establishment of breastfeeding. Later on, in the first 6 months of life, no supplementary feed, like other milks, should be given to the infant. This may lead to a decreased supply of breast milk.
Night feeding is very important as it increases the prolactin. With suckling prolactin hormones increase which in turn cause increase in breastmilk.
•Sometimes, mother may have the perception that her milk is not sufficient for her infant. Adequacy of breastmilk may be ascertained by documenting if the infant has regained the birth weight by 2 weeks of age, and the cumulative weight gain is more than 500 g in a month and the infant is passing adequate urine at least six times a day, while on the exclusive breast feeding.
Few definition to know the breastfeeding status:
- Exclusive breastfeeding: Giving a baby no other food or drink, including water, in addition to breastfeeding with the exception of syrup/drops of vitamins, minerals and medicines (expressed breast milk is also permitted)
• Predominant breastfeeding: Giving small amounts of water or water-based drinks such as tea in addition to breastfeeding
• Partial breastfeeding: Giving a baby some breastfeeds and some artificial feeds, either milk or cereal, or other food
• Bottle feeding: Feeding a baby from a bottle, whatever is in the bottle, including expressed breast milk
• Cup feeding: Feeding a baby from cup (katori, pallad, etc.) whatever is in the cup including breast milk
• Artificial feeding: Feeding a baby on any kind of artificial milk such as animal milk, tinned milk, etc. and not breastfeeding at all
• Complementary feeding: Giving other foods and liquids in addition to breast milk or nonhuman milk.
• Replacement feeding: Process of feeding a child who is receiving no breast milk with a diet that provides all nutrients the infants need until the age at which they can be fully fed on family foods