After giving birth, the mother must be recommended to give exclusive breastfeeding to her child. Yes, many world health institutions, such as WHO and UNICEF, recommend exclusive breastfeeding to babies. Many benefits for babies and also mothers are obtained from exclusive breastfeeding. However, do you really know for sure what exclusive breastfeeding is?
What is exclusive breastfeeding?
Exclusive breastfeeding is the provision of breast milk (mother's milk) to newborns until the baby is 6 months old. Until that time, babies are only allowed to accept ASI and are not allowed to accept other foods or drinks, including water. After the baby is 6 months old, the baby is then introduced to other foods. However, breastfeeding should continue until the baby is 2 years old.
Sometimes, in Indonesia, the mother still likes to give water, sugar water, or tea to the baby while waiting for her milk to not come out. This has frustrated exclusive breastfeeding, even though the administration is only one time. This cannot be said as exclusive breastfeeding, but it is more suitable to be said as predominant breast milk.
Predominant breastfeeding is breastfeeding to babies, but also has given a little water other than breast milk as a prelactal food /drink to the baby before the milk comes out.
Can babies be given medicine when the milk is exclusive?
Yes, babies may receive medicines and drops of vitamins or minerals when needed if the baby is sick. When the baby is sick, of course the baby needs medication so that he gets well soon. For this reason, the drug does not frustrate exclusive breastfeeding. It is best to give the baby medicine and continue giving exclusive breastfeeding also when the baby is sick. Because, in exclusive breastfeeding also contained antibiotics to strengthen the baby's immune system.
If formula milk is given when exclusive breastfeeding is it still referred to as exclusive breastfeeding?
Of course not, what is said to be exclusive breastfeeding is only breastfeeding until the baby is 6 months old. If the baby has been given formula milk when he is not yet 6 months old, it can be said that your exclusive breastfeeding failed.
This can be referred to as partial breast milk, where in addition to being breastfed, babies are also given food other than breast milk (such as formula milk, porridge, or fruit juice) before a 6-month-old baby. Although giving food other than breast milk is only given once or in a very rare time, but this is still said as partial breast milk.
What are the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding?
Of course a lot. ASI is the perfect food for babies. Apart from breast milk, no other suitable food is given to babies up to 6 months of age. In breast milk, especially the first milk (colostrum), there is a nutrient content with the right composition to meet the nutritional needs of the baby. With breastfeeding alone, your baby's nutritional needs are met and your baby is full. That way, breast milk strongly supports the growth and development of your baby.
In addition, breast milk also contains antibodies which are needed to strengthen the baby's immune system when the baby is born. Thus, exclusive breastfeeding can reduce the risk of babies being exposed to various diseases. A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science showed that babies who received ASI were 20% less likely to die between the ages of 28 days to one year than babies who did not receive breast milk.
In addition, the benefits of other ASIs are:
- Prevent babies from suffering from allergies. Giving formula milk, cow's milk or soy milk to babies tends to make the baby experience an allergic reaction.
- Improve baby's intelligence. Giving ASI can improve the baby's cognitive development.
- Protect babies from obesity. Exclusive breastfeeding given to babies can reduce the risk of experiencing obesity when he is a teenager or an adult.
How do you give the correct ASI?
It's best to recognize your baby's feeding habits. Each baby has different breastfeeding habits. There may be babies who suckle longer and less frequently, or there are also those who breastfeed shorter and more often. The important thing is, after breastfeeding, your baby is full.
In the first month, your baby may suckle more often, once every 2-3 hours or 8-12 times per day. This is something normal that happens, so don't think that your baby is still starving after being breastfed or thinks that your milk production is only small so it can't meet the baby's needs.
In the first month after this birth, maybe your baby will suckle for 20-45 minutes. It's best to feed the baby until he stops himself to suckle, don't stop the baby from feeding. If the baby is satisfied to suckle on one of your breasts, offer him to suckle with your other breast. It's best to feed your baby until your breasts are empty, then change to the other breast.
In the second month, the frequency of breastfeeding your baby may be less, around 8-9 times per day. And in the third month, it may decline again, around 7-8 times per day. At the 6th month, the frequency of breastfeeding may be even less, it can only be 5-6 times per day. It's best to feed your baby when he wants to suckle, don't limit the number of times and how long the baby has to suckle.
How does the baby receive enough milk?
Signs that the baby has received enough milk is:
- Your breasts feel softer after breastfeeding because your baby has emptied your breasts
- Your baby looks satisfied after breastfeeding
- Your baby continues to gain weight every month
- Your baby often urinates, you have to change the diaper which has been wet for 6-9 times a day
- In the first month, your baby at least defecates 3 times a day. Baby stools are bright yellow like mustard. After one month, the frequency of the baby defecating will be less frequent, but every day he will definitely defecate.
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