Breast Feeding Special Article 1, Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, TaiwanR.O.C
Exclusive Breastfeeding for Six Months: The Gold Standard for infant feeding
World Allianceof Breastfeeding Action
Exclusive breastfeeding is the safe, sound, and sustainable way to feed an infant for the first six months of life. Its the gold standard of infant feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breastmilk, from his or her mother or a wet nurse, or expressed breastmilk, and no other foods or drinks
Studies revealed that artificially fed infants are sick more often with acute diarrhoea, respiratory infections and otitis media. They are more likely to be overweight, have more allergic diseases and cardiovascular diseases later in their lives.
For the mothers choose not to breastfeed their babies, their uterus and body figure may not recover as well as those who choose breastfeeding; they also have a higher possibility to get ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Therefore, WHO and UNICEF recommend that breastfeeding should continue with appropriate complementary foods up to two years or longer.
To be able to breastfeed exclusively, and to resist the pressure and temptation to give other feeds, mothers need accurate knowledge and a supportive environment. This is possible when everyone including health professionals, family and community members are accurately informed and when exclusive breastfeeding is the social norm.
Breastfeeding works best
‧ When a mother and baby have skin-to-skin contact immediately after delivery and the baby starts breastfeeding when he shows interest within an hour or so. This stimulates breastmilk production and the baby gets colostrum.
‧ When the baby is properly attached at the breast and can suckle effectively with slow deep sucks.
‧ When the baby can suckle whenever he or she wants day and night. This is called demand feeding or baby-led feeding. This is easiest if the baby is near the mother, in her bed or in a sling.
‧ When the baby may continue suckling for as long as he or she wants at each feed and is allowed to decide if he or she wants one breast or two.
‧ When the baby does not have a pacifier (or dummy), which make him or her less interested in suckling at the breast.
If a baby breastfeeds in this way, there is plenty of milk, and the baby is more contented and grows well. He or she passes urine at least 6 times and soft abundant stools 3-4 times a day though after the first week or so there is nothing to worry about if stools are not passed every day.
Breastfeeding in this way also promotes emotional bonding between the mother and baby, which helps her to enjoy mothering, and improves her self-esteem.
To approach these, a mother needs the help and support from the people around.
Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan R.O.C
Website for Maternal Care Center: http://mammy.hpa.gov.tw/
Consultation Line: 0800-870-870