Many mothers, more in underdeveloped and developing countries, are in the dilemma, how many months should they breast feed their children.
Ideally, one can breast feed upto 1 year. In some places practice may be even upto first 24 months of life.
However, there is a term called ‘exclusive breast feeding’, which means only giving breast milk and not adding any other solid or liquid food in the feeding menu of the baby. Such feeding should be continued for about 4-6 months.
From 4 to 6 months of age additional food is introduced in the baby’s diet, which is generally known as weaning.
Post breast feed care of babies is a very important thing.
After feeding the baby either from breast or from bottle or from any other device baby should be burped properly.
Your health care provider will teach you proper burping techniques.
Commonly burping is done by keeping the baby upright on the shoulder of the mother and gentle tapping of the back of the baby 👶.
Sometimes the job might be tiring for the mother, causing pain or distress of the lower back. In such scenario, the mother may first choose a sitting accommodation which provides good back support like a firm straight-back type chair or using the wall as back support if sitting on bed (one can keep a pillow between ones back and wall ).
If the mother is exhausted other members of the family can take the role, like the husband.
For healthy full term babies breast feeding every 2 or 3 hourly is advised generally for the first 4-6 months until you start weaning.
It’s not wise to give feeds too frequently like after every 15 minutes or half an hour or every hour. This is because frequent feeds can cause overfeeding and the baby might drink more milk than required and this can cause distress in the baby like having a distended abdomen and risk of aspiration of milk into the lungs.
Furthermore, frequent feeding can decrease the hunger of the baby, since the baby is always overtly fed and this might decrease sucking effort of the baby on mother’s nipples. This can result into less emptying of the mother’s breasts leading to breast engorgement or decreased milk production.
Once weaning is started feeding frequency may be reduced to 3-4 times a day depending on baby ‘s age and health requirements.