Breastfeeding is the best way of providing ideal food for the growth and development of the baby.
- Start breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
- Practice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months and continue upto 2 years if possible with complementary feeds. this does not apply to formula feeds.
- Introduce appropriate complementary feeding after 6 months of age. No sugar to be added until 2 years indefinitely not before 12 months. No salt to be added until 12 months of age.
For busy mothers or those who wish to express and store milk for later use, following are the guidelines for storing expressed milk:
|Room temperature||6-8 hours|
|Refrigerator (<4 degree C)||7- 8 days|
|Freezer compartment (-15 degree C)||2 weeks|
|Freezer with separate door||3-6 months|
|Deep freezer (-20 degree C) used in human milk banks||6-12 months (used after thawed or under running water TO BRING MILK TO ROOM TEMPERATURE)|
|Container||With well fitting air tight tops, washed with hot soap and water and air dried.|
There are instances where a mother is unable to breastfeed. In addition, the widespread marketing of formula milks undermines the confidence of many mothers and encourages them to feed their babies using bottles and formula milks.
Amount of milk/ day comparing with other milk products: This table clearly shows the economic burden and added sugar when formula milk is used.
|Age in months||Milk feedsml/ day||Cow’s milk and sugar needed to make home- prepared formula per day||Commercial formula needed per month|
|1||450||300ml milk+ 150 ml water+ 30 gm sugar||4*500 gm tins|
|2||600||400 ml milk+ 200 ml water+ 40 gm sugar||6*500 gm tins|
|3||750||500 ml milk+ 250 ml water+ 45 gm sugar||7*500 gm tins|
|4||750||500 ml milk+ 250 ml water+ 45 gm sugar||7*500 gm tins|
|5||900||600 ml milk+ 300 ml water+ 56 gm sugar||8*500 gm tins|
|6||900||600 ml milk+ 300 ml water+ 56 gm sugar||8*500 gm tins|
|Total for 6 |
|92 liters of milk+ 9 kg of sugar||40*500 gm (20kg)|
Take home: Breast milk is the best gift you can give to your baby; in fact, it’s his/her BIRTHRIGHT.
Shwetha Bhatia, Registered Dieteitan, Mind Your Fitness!