Women are still deprived of extended maternity leaves and expected to roll up their sleeves and get back to work at the end of their third month post-delivery, but newspapers and magazines uphold the advantages of feeding breast milk to kids directly from the breast up to the baby’s sixth month. So, are women expected to have supernatural powers such that they can help their little ones breastfeed even when they are held up in an important meeting with the CEO at office or stuck in traffic while driving back from work?
Gone with the Wind
A few decades back there wasn’t a need for such debates and assessments as women stayed at home tending to the needs of the family forever. Times have changed and we feel proud and happy about our girl children and women in our family when they excel academically and achieve great milestones at work. Nothing comes free of cost. Additional income, pride to the family and independence come at the cost of multitudinous things such as compromised time schedules with children, absence of leisure time at home and above all, leaving your child at the mercy of a caretaker at home when the kid is not even four months old. To support this, technological advancements prove to help us in as much ways as possible. Work from home options exist, attending client meetings through video calls has become possible and even we are given the option of expressing breast milk through a breast pump and feeding our child with our very own breast milk even when we leave to work. The only difference is that the child consumes this milk using a feeding bottle instead of directly drinking it from our breast. This seems to be a minimal change when we look at the larger picture (enabling the working mom to feed her child at home with her milk) but there are always pros and cons attached to such technological stuffs.
Breastfeeding Way better than Pumping
Undoubtedly, breast milk is the best milk for your baby and there is research authenticating the effects of breastmilk on decreased obesity risks for babies. WHO repeatedly insists on exclusively breastfeeding your newborn baby up to its 6th month to reap numerous benefits. Now, a new research proves that directly breastfeeding your child is best compared to giving your baby breast milk out of the bottle. By doing this, the infant not only gains weight slowly and steadily but also possesses a lower BMI score at 3 months.
But, isn’t it weird that the same milk expressed via two different formats could affect the infant in such contrast ways? After so much ordeal and time pumping milk and keeping it aside for her kid, the woman is still told that breastfeeding is better than pumping. One must understand that we are only talking about better of the two and there is no doubt that pumping too adds nutrition and health of breast milk to the child.
The research included 2,500 infants of which those infants who had the lowest scores at the end of the 12th month were exclusively breastfed (without formula) and started consuming solids around the 5th or 6th month. Yet the research did not probe into the mode of breastfeeding past the infant’s third month. This research clearly showed that putting a full stop to breastfeeding before the infant’s sixth month leads to:
For Reasons Unclear
The reason behind this huge difference between breastfeeding and pumping remains unclear though. Researchers guess that it might have something to do with thawing, refrigerating or freezing breast milk which changes the breast milk components. Or, maybe children who breastfeed have better control over the amount of milk they consume compared to drinking from a bottle.
This study should never bring upon people the wrong impression that it is better to formula-feed infants rather than suffer from pumping milk. Something is better than nothing. Any amount of breastmilk that goes into your infant’s body is advantageous to the child. The only step left now is to make it a huge social issue and insist governments to extend maternity leaves mandatorily. Its all about supporting the mom in her journey of breastfeeding the infant. What we do now lasts a lifetime for the child.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.