The Importance Of Breast Feeding

The importance of the mother milk for the newborn baby is derived from its content and characteristics. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, reduces the risk of chronic diseases during later life. Anne Sütü
Solely mother milk, which is the best food for all new-born babies who were born on time and stored enough nutrients, provides adequate nutrition to the baby for growth and development up in the first six months period.

Characteristics of Mothers Milk

- It’s always sterile and advisable for the baby.
- Its nutrients composition meets all needs of the baby.
- It contains preventive substances.
- It contains active enzymes which help digestion
- It contains immunity elements (IgA, IgG and IgM) which prevent infection.
- It contains hormones and growth factors.
- It reduces the frequency of respiratory tract and gastrointestinal infections.
- It takes part in development of gums and teeth.
- It reduces the risk of some chronic diseases in later life such as, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, obesity, coronary heart disease, hypertension
- It protects against allergy.
- Breast feeding helps the baby in his psychological, physical and intellectual development and also makes him a prospective adult who is successful in his social affairs.

Breastfeeding starts close relationship between the mother and the baby by strengthening their emotional affection. It protects the health of the mother and reduces the risk of breast and ovary cancer and osteoporosis.

Colostrum:: It’s the milk that is secreted in the first three or five days after the birth and is very important to meet the needs for the newborn baby in the first days because of its composition characteristics. It contains some substances that strengthens the immune system and prevents from the diseases (such as Secretory Immunoglobulin A-SIgA, lactoferrin, macrophage, T and B lymphocytes). Mother milk is rich in respect of vitamin A,D,B12 and contains the epidermal growing factors which matures intestines and growing factors which prevents allergy and intolerance. Colostrum takes the type of transition milk in five or ten days, generally, after the third week mother milk carries Milk sugar is lactose. Lactose is synthesised by the glucose and galactose molecules in the breast tissue. The lactose content of the mother milk is approximately 7%. The proteins of the mother milk are divided into two parts as whey and casein. The ratio of whey and casein is 60/40. Whey proteins are lactoferrin, lactalbumin, lactoglobulin, lysozyme, serum albumins and immunoglobulins (IgA,IgG,IgM). The protein content of the mother milk is 0.8 – 1.2 %. Approximately half of the energy of the mother milk comes from fats. Being rich in respect of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids especially in colostrum, the mother milk is important for formation of myelinisation, retinal functions and cell multiplication so it helps the development of brain and visual function. Potassium, sodium, calcium exist as free ions and other minerals exist as complex compounds in the mother milk. Although its iron content is less ( 0.2 – 0.8 mg in 100 ml ), its bioavailability is high. Zinc in the mother milk generally depends on the whey proteins and its absorption is high. Sucking of the baby stimulates the milk production and provides secretion of more milk. Breast feeding must be started in the first half or one hour after birth. In the first month, frequency of the breastfeeding must be adjusted to the baby’s appetite; no time-table must be exercised. Breastfeeding should continue up to two years and complementary feeding should begin after 6 months


- Breast feeding must be begun in the first half or one hour as soon as possible mother regains her consciousness after the birth.

- Before breast feeding nothing must be given to the baby.

- In the first six months, only mother milk must be given to the baby and then other complementary foods should be started in adequate type and quantity.

- In order to increase milk production, baby and the mother must be in the same room and the breast feeding must be begun as soon as possible.

- In order to increase milk production, the warmth that gives self-reliance must be shown to the mother and the related problems must be solved.

- Mother must be nourished well-balanced and adequately.

- Infants must be surely monitored in the respect of growing during the period that they are fed with mother milk.

Reference: Dietary Guidelines for Turkey, 2004.


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