बच्चे को स्तनपान करायें या मिल्क बोतल दें... Breast or Bottle : The choice is yours

Author : Dr. P. D.GUPTA

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India


A baby’s future health depends on how, when, and what the mother feeds the newborn baby. Things do not stop here it can be stretched back to the extent of “you are what your mother ate.” This becomes more important because the truth is that babies are born with a sense of taste - they develop taste buds in the womb. Your baby absorbs the flavours of the mother's food choices during pregnancy through amniotic fluid-the liquid present in the womb during the development of the baby. And, as your baby grows, their sense of taste changes; they can distinguish different flavours.

At birth, they start to recognize their mother’s voices, faces and smells to figure out who is taking care of them. Since the maternal voice is audible in the womb itself; an infant starts to recognize their mother's voice from the third trimester.

When do babies recognize their father or mother?

Babies can recognize their parents pretty early actually – as young as 4 days old. By making eye contact with your baby during feeding times, cuddle sessions, and throughout the day, you're helping your child memorize your face and learn to trust you.

One week after birth, your baby will slowly develop colour vision. They can also see about 8 to 10 inches away. At 6 weeks of age, a baby can see about 12 inches away.

A first-time mother is always uncertain and uncomfortable with the never-ending string of questions about the upcoming delivery normal or cesarean, here in India she doesn’t have a choice, nobody explains it to her, and she is at the mercy of Gynaecologist, only the doctor decides.  Neither anybody explain the merits and demerits of the breastfeeding question.   

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends to exclusively breast-feed for at least 6 months, followed by continued breast-feeding for 2 years or beyond.  A a new mom, more problems she faces if the newborn is underweight, and more problems add up when she is not producing enough milk.

The “benefits” of breastfeeding, including bonding and weight loss, reminded new mothers about how much easier breastfeeding was than bottle feeding, given that you “didn’t have to get out of bed in the middle of the night” to make a bottle. “Oh, some women can actually breastfeed without getting out of bed at night?”

Most women who “keep doing what they were doing” are not able to continue breast-feeding. Only about 25% of women exclusively breastfeed for the recommended period.

Postpartum (after delivery) struggle

The anxiety about breast versus bottle feeding has slowly crept into the new mother's world. During COVID-19 time breast milk has been shown to carry an extra advantage – it carries Covid-19 antibodies. In other words, for that matter, the mother’s immunity passes to the child even without extra - immunization.    

Exclusive breastfeeding may not work, and then formula milk has to be supplemented. Presently, 75% of breastfed mothers are not meeting this goal. Everyone’s journey is different and an individualistic approach to support the path that works best for each parent and child should be followed.

Feed and Wake Cycle

The FWS cycle sets a foundation for good sleep habits by disrupting the association between eating and sleeping. After 4 months, babies must learn to “connect” sleep cycles to sleep for longer periods. If a baby learns to fall asleep while feeding, they will often need to be fed again to get back to sleep at the end of each 45-minute sleep cycle. By implementing the FWS method, they learn to fall asleep without feeding, which also helps them to put themselves back to sleep after a sleep cycle without feeding.

Try your best to encourage babies to get in a big, full feed when they wake in the morning and continue the FWS cycle throughout the day. They will adjust to the new schedule and will take larger feeds when feedings are offered less frequently.

As a rule of thumb, a truly hungry baby will rarely choose sleeping over eating. So, if your baby falls asleep in your arms without taking a full feeding, it's likely he was tired — not hungry.

Your brain recognizes hunger as a priority and will stay alert until the need is met, or until you're exhausted enough that the need to sleep overrides the need to eat. So if your baby really is hungry, they usually won't go back to sleep very easily until they've been fed.

When your baby wakes from nighttime or nap sleep, you'll want to immediately feed them. The purpose of the FWS cycle is to break the association that “feeding time means sleepy time" and to encourage full feedings. To do this, ensure the baby is fed as soon as they awaken.

Yes, when done correctly, breastfeeding while lying down is perfectly safe. Follow these tips to make sure your baby is comfortable and safe: Practice during the day before trying to use it at night. Ensure that your space is free from excess pillows and bedding. Beginning to nurse or feed your baby while they're still calm will facilitate the most successful breastfeeding results. Once crying begins, it can be harder to properly latch

Early sleep cues include things like tugging on the ears, staring, frowning, and red eyebrows the physical signs of drowsiness include closing fists, yawning, making jerky movements, and sucking on fingers. It can be easy to confuse some of these signs with hunger.

Signs Your Baby Is Hungry

The trick is to do so after three yawns—any more than that, and he's likely overtired. When a baby is hungry, it shows very similar body language. The motions will be more in the upper torso, arms, and head. The legs will not kick as fast or as hard as they would if there were a lot of pressure in the intestine with excessive gas or flatulence. (The author has his own study and views)