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World Breastfeeding Week 2022: When should a mother stop breastfeeding and why

We spoke to Dr. P. Ravi Kumar, Senior Consultant - Pediatrician, Neonatologist, Manipal Hospitals Vijayawada & Dr. B. Rama Krishna – Paediatrician, Manipal Hospitals Vijayawada, who talked about the importance of breastfeeding and more

World Breastfeeding Week 2022: When should a mother stop breastfeeding and why RBA
Bangalore, First Published Aug 6, 2022, 7:00 AM IST

Breastfeeding in the first hour after delivery is good for the baby for maintaining blood sugars and reducing uterine bleeding during labour by stimulating uterine contractions. According to WHO, globally, 3 in 5 are not breastfed in the first hour of life. And according to UNICEF, 77 million newborns are not breastfed within the first hour of life. Delayed breastfeeding increases the risk of newborn deaths by up to 80 per cent.

We know that breastfed infants are healthier than formula or animal milk. Breastfeeding helps bond skin to skin, and babies can easily digest milk.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week: What you need to know as a mother for your baby's growth

The first step towards weaning your babies is introducing complementary feeds alongside your breastmilk around 6 months. ‘WHO’ recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding and then breastfeeding for up to 2 years and beyond. Exclusive breastfeeding means no additional nutrition such as solid foods, fruit juices and water. 

The weaning process continues until foods completely replace breastmilk. Moms returning to work after the 6 months of exclusive breast feeds can still breastfeed their babies by giving once in the morning before going to the office, once in the evening after returning home, and twice in the night.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2022: Managing breastfeeding routine as a working mother

In any rarest situation, if the mother can’t breastfeed, give formula milk by cup and spoon method, not by the bottle, which can increase your baby’s risk of choking, pneumonia & diarrhoea. Stop formula or Animal’s milk before ten months of age due to risk of allergy disorders, pneumonia, diarrhoea, obesity and diabetes. 

There are some common breastfeeding problems like a sore nipples, breast engorgement, and mastitis in, which you should continue breastfeeding under a doctor’s supervision. 

The only true contraindications to breastfeeding are the babies with metabolic disorders like galactosemia and mothers with active tuberculosis. You may even breastfeed if you are taking antitubercular medication under a doctor’s supervision. According to “American Academy of Pediatrics” there is no evidence of psychological harm (or) developmental harm from continued breastfeeding to the third year of life or longer.  


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