The first hour of life: reasons to breastfeed
- The warmth of the mother's body helps to maintain the proper temperature of the baby's body, which is very important in preterm or low birth weight babies.
- The child is less stressed, is calmer and has the rhythm of breathing, as does the heart, more stable.
- When the baby is born, the baby is sterile. In the first hour after birth, his body is colonized by bacteria from the environment. If placed on the mother's chest, skin to skin contact, it will be colonized by the bacteria on her skin. It is protected from infection with these bacteria by the specific antibodies it receives through breast milk. But if the baby is taken over by the medical staff, it will be colonized by the bacteria on the hands and clothes of these people, bacteria that are hospital germs, more harmful than those on the mother's skin. Compared to hospital germs, the immunity of the child, even when breastfed, is less competent.
- At the first meals the child receives colostrum, called in some cultures the "gift of life".
Colostrum is rich in immunologically active cells, antibodies and other proteins with a protective role. By this he acts as the first vaccination of the child and protects it against many infections. It also helps to regulate the development of the child's own immune system.
Colostrum contains growth factors that help the baby's gut to mature and function efficiently. This hinders the penetration of microorganisms and allergens into the child's body.
Colostrum is rich in vitamin A, which contributes to the proper functioning of the eyes and reduces infections.
Colostrum stimulates the functioning of the baby's intestine, so that it quickly eliminates meconium (fecal matter accumulated during intrauterine life). This will also help reduce the jaundice of the baby.
Colostrum "comes" in small portions, suitable for the small volume of the baby's stomach.
- Touching the hands and mouth and sucking the breast stimulates the release of oxytocin - important for several reasons.
Ocitocin produces contractions of the uterus. This can help expel the placenta and reduce bleeding after birth.
Ocitocin stimulates other hormones that make the mother feel calm, relaxed and love her newborn.
Ocitocin stimulates the flow of milk from the breast.
- Women experience incredible joy at this first date with their child. At this meeting, fathers should be encouraged to attend. Now is the time when the relationship between mother and child begins and, why not, between father and child.
Note: HIV-positive mothers should consult their doctor before deciding to breast-feed. Even if the doctor advises them not to breastfeed, skin-to-skin contact should still occur immediately after birth.
First hour of life: contact between the child and the mother
When healthy newborns are placed immediately after birth in skin-to-skin contact on the mother's abdomen and chest, they demonstrate remarkable capabilities. They are lively and, stimulated by the soft touch of the mother, reach her breast.
They begin to touch and massage their breasts; this first delicate touch of the breast by the hand or head of the baby stimulates the release of maternal oxytocin, which triggers both the flow of milk and the outpouring of love for the child. Then the baby smells, touches the nipple with his mouth and licks. Finally, the baby attaches to the breast and begins to suck.
As a corollary, early skin-to-skin contact and early initiation of breastfeeding are associated with reduced mortality in the first month of life. At the same time, they are also associated with the increase of exclusive breastfeeding and the duration of breastfeeding in the coming months, leading to better health and subsequent reduction in mortality.
For the first time, the researchers evaluated the effects of the first breastfeeding on neonatal mortality and showed that mortality can be reduced if breastfeeding is initiated in the first hour of life.
The first hour of life: initiation of breastfeeding
The mother should be given the opportunity to be helped during the birth of someone close to her environment and culture, sensitive to her needs.
The mother should be encouraged to use non-pharmacological methods (massage, aromatherapy, movement) during labor during pain relief.
The mother should be given the opportunity to give birth in whatever position she wants.
After expulsion, the child should be removed quickly, keeping as much of the varnish that protects the delicate skin of the child.
After birth, the baby should be put in contact with the skin on the mother's chest, facing her; both will be covered together.
The child should be given time (50 - 60 minutes) to look for the breast. During this time, the mother will stimulate her child with her touch and may help him get closer to the nipple, but he will not rush or force it.
The baby will be held in contact with the skin until the baby stops sucking and even after that if the mother wishes. However, this first contact should not necessarily be seen as the first meal, sometimes it is just mutual knowledge.
And women who were born surgically should be given baby skin-to-skin contact after birth.
Intrusive or stressful procedures must be postponed. The child should be weighed, measured and given the preventive medication after the first skin-to-skin contact.
No liquid or pretreatment meals are offered to the child, unless there is a clear medical indication.
Information provided by UNICEF.
Tags Breastfeeding baby