Why Breastfeed Babies in Kenya?
Breastfeeding is a natural and most healthy way of providing food for a new born baby and is highly recommended for babies in Kenya.
During pregnancy, the woman’s body starts to prepare to produce milk in readiness for the baby’s birth. Colostrum is the first milk the mother produces and looks colourless though very nutritious.
How soon should mothers start breastfeeding babies in Kenya?
Within 30 minutes of the baby’s birth, you should start breast feeding the baby.
By this time the baby is more alert and has a great urge to start suckling, so it is the ideal time to start exclusive breastfeeding.
How do new born babies in Kenya learn breast feed?
Babies have a sucking reflex that allows them to suck and shallow. Thus when their mouth is placed on mum’s breast nipple they start suckling automatically.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Babies in Kenya
Exclusive breast feeding means the baby is feed on breast milk only, no water or any other type of fluids for a period of six months.
Benefits to the baby: –
- Greater immune health
When breastfeeding the babies gains anti bodies from the mother and gives the baby’s immunity a boost. Breast milk contains anti infective properties which reduces the baby’s chances of getting ear or respiratory infections, stomach problems such as diarrhea ad vomiting
- Fewer infections
Breast milk is clean and produced at the right temperature. Since it is fed directly to the baby, there are lower risks of infection during the feeding process.
- Higher intelligence
Babies who have been breastfed exclusively are said to have higher IQs than those who are bottle fed.
- Less diabetes
Breast milk has the right combination of fat, sugar, water and protein which meet the needs of the growing infant in the required proportions. The baby is less likely to develop juvenile diabetes.
- Less childhood obesity
When a baby is breastfeeding, they develop a natural mechanism to self regulate and stop feeding when satisfied. This way they do not overfeed reducing the risk of developing early childhood obesity.
- Long term health effects
Children who were breast fed for long as babies, fall sick less often. They have improved immunity towards intestinal and respiratory diseases and allergic reactions.
Benefits of Breastfeeding babies in Kenya to the Mother:-
Breast milk is free, clean and sterile so it is easily affordable for the mother, especially in comparison to other sources of feeds.
While breastfeeding, the mother forms an emotional bond with the baby, the maternal bond is strengthened. The mother’s body also produces hormones that help her relax while breastfeeding. This bond can also be extended to the father, when he sits close to the mother and baby during the feeding time.
- Weight loss
Breastfeeding is a calorie burning activity a mother uses up to 500 calories.
- Long term health effects
When a mother breast feeds for a long time, there is a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease and postpartum bleeding.
- Natural birth control
Exclusive breastfeeding delays monthly periods from resuming for the six months. So the mother is free of menstrual periods for six months.
Breast milk is the best gift a mother can give to her baby. It is the best way to reduce infant deaths.
In order to sustain the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, the mother has to eat a healthy diet. Whatever food the mother eats is what the body uses to produce breast milk. So as the sole source of baby’s food, mum should eat foods with higher fiber, fresh vegetables and fruits. Drink lots of water and porridge to increase milk production.
Avoid stress, this decreases the amount of milk the body produces and babies are said to pick on their mum’s mood.
Do not endanger the health of the baby.
Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs, for the sake of the baby while breastfeeding babies in Kenya.