“Colostrum, is a thick, yellowish liquid that comes out in small amounts from the breasts in the first days after childbirth, is highly immunological and is considered the first vaccine for the newborn. For this reason, it is vital that the baby has immediate contact with his mother’s skin as soon as he is born, to make it easier for him to start breastfeeding as soon as possible,” says Dr. Sarah Vega, neonatologist pediatrician at our clinic, coordinator of Peru before the International Board Certified Lactation Consultants – IBCLCE and advisor to the Breastfeeding Committee of the Latin American Pediatric Association – ALAPE, who explains 10 things we should know about breastfeeding.
- Colostrum, called “liquid gold”, contains substances that protect the mucous membranes of the intestine, nose and throat of the newborn, stopping the entry of viruses and bacteria.
- The size of the breasts does not influence the success of lactation, since what is important is the size of the gland. There are small breasts that are mostly glands and mothers are excellent milk producers.
- Continued breastfeeding for more than 1 year reduces the risk of the mother suffering from breast and ovarian cancer by up to 30%.
- The mother should be counseled to stay well-nourished and not use up her nutritional reserves when feeding the baby. Breast milk will always be of excellent quality, except in cases of severe maternal malnutrition.
- Drinking large amounts of cow’s milk, oatmeal, cocoa water or fennel does not promote milk production and can cause allergies in the baby. The production of breast milk increases by breastfeeding the baby often or expressing milk at work at least 2 times in 8-hour days, ideally 3.
- The quality of the milk is not altered by stress or anxiety, and it is still the best way to protect the baby against diseases such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, otitis, leukemia, overweight and obesity, etc.
- Research shows that children who are breastfed have a higher level of verbal-linguistic intelligence and a higher IQ, compared to those who did not continue with this practice after 6 months.
- Breast milk continues to be a great food after 6 months, an important source of energy, proteins, vitamins, fats and nutrients that allow the baby to grow strong and healthy. Studies show that breastfeeding considerably reduces the risk of morbidity and mortality.
- Breastfeeding should be exclusive for the first 6 months, supplementing later with foods that include animal protein such as meat, chicken liver, blood and spleen. The WHO advises continued breastfeeding for up to 2 years or more due to the quality caloric and nutritional intake it provides to the baby.
- Sexual intercourse does not affect milk production. They are very healthy to preserve the good relationship of the couple, which is so important for the upbringing of the baby.
Dr. Sarah Vega
Neonatologist pediatrician at Clínica Ricardo Palma