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Advantages of Breast Milk And Breast Feeding - NEET PG Pediatrics

Feb 7, 2023

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Advantages of Breast Milk (BM) for the Baby

Variation in composition of breast milk

Breast Milk And Breast Feeding - NEET PG Pediatrics

Breast milk and Breast feeding are one of the most crucial topics of the Pediatrics subject. Students should have a deep understanding the composition, functions and advantages of Breast milk which is exactly what we’ll discuss in this blog.

Read further to elevate your NEET-PG preparation as we dive deep into the topic and also answer some of the FAQs related to Breast Feeding.

Let’s get started with the FAQs first:

  • When should breast feeding be initiated?
    • As soon as possible after birth or within 1 hr of childbirth
    • Irrespective of normal vaginal delivery or C-section
  • Exclusive breast feeding is recommended for how long?
    • It is recommended for first 6 months of life
    • Exclusive breast feeding means that baby is given only breast milk, not even sips of water unless medically recommended
  • After 6 months of age, what should be started?
    • Complimentary feeding: Refers to some semisolid energy dense food that should be affordable, feasible, acceptable, sustainable, safe & that can be given in addition to breast milk
  • What is the problem if food grains are started at <age 6 months?
    • More chances of food allergy are seen in babies
    • Some study linked usage of wheat in <6 months of child to celiac disease
  • Storage of expressed breast milk can be done for how long?
    • Depend on temperature of storage:
      • At room temperature: 8-10 hrs
      • In refrigerator at 2-8°C: 24 hrs
      • In deep freezer (-20°C): 3 months
  • Signs of good positioning while breast feeding?
    • Body of baby should be:
      • Well supported
      • Turned towards mother
      • Occiput, shoulder and buttocks should be in straight line
      • So close to mother that abdomen of baby should touch abdomen of mother
  • What are sign of good attachment while breast feeding?
    • Related to nipple area of mother and oral cavity of baby:
      • Mouth of baby should be wide open
      • Lower lip of baby should be everted or turned out
      • Whole of areola should be covered by mouth except upper part which may be visible 
      • Chin of baby should touch mother’s breast
  • What is the contraindication to breast feeding in neonates?
    • Conditions related to baby: Galactosemia, Congenital lactose intolerance 
    • Maternal condition: Absolute – Mother on chemotherapy or radiotherapy
    • Relative CI:
      • Infective condition like maternal HIV 
      • In developed countries – C.I
      • In developing countries – Indicated: Maternal active TB, Varicella involving breast area, Breast abscess

Pediatrics Related Articles:

What are the 9 Abnormalities of Development?Behavioral Disorders in ChildrenNutrition And Malnutrition
Everything about Important Motor MilestonesAssessment of Growth and Growth Charts by WHONeonatal Sepsis: Risk Factors, Clinical Features, Diagnosis & Treatment
Important Hematological Disorders In ChildrenNeonatal Jaundice Breast Milk Jaundice, PhototherapyRheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease
Diaper Rash: Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

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Advantages of Breast Milk (BM) for the Baby

Let’s talk about the advantages of Breast Milk for the new born infant. 

  1. Composition of breast milk:
    • Carbohydrates: BM - 7mg/dL, CM (Cow’s milk) - 4.5 mg/dL
    • Protein: BM - 1gm/dL (i.e., less load on kidney), CM (Cow’s milk) - 3.5 mg/dL
      • AA: Adequate Cysteine, Taurine, Methionine (for CNS development) and BM is richer in whey protein
    • Lipid: ↑PUFA, ↑DHA in mother’s milk
    • Mineral: Ca:P in breast milk is such that it favours Ca absorption, Fe present in BM is more easily absorbable 
    • Vitamins: BM contains adequate amount of all vitamins expect vit D and vit K 
      • Vit B12 in strictly vegetarian mothers
      • Supplement Vit D 400 IU to all babies in first year of life 
      • Vit K - 1 mg IM given to all babies at birth to prevent haemorrhagic disease of new born 
Important information

Breast milk contains adequate amount of water, so water is not required in first 6 months of life for baby
  1. Anti-infective substances in BM
    • Tech for PLAB
      • TGF – β
      • Phagocytic macrophage
      • Lactoferrin, Lysozyme
      • Antibodies like IgA
      • Bile stimulated lipase
  1. BM protection against disease
    • In neonates: NEC, Neonatal sepsis
    • In older age group: Asthma, Obesity, Diabetes, Allergies
  1. Breast milk fed babies have:
    • Higher IQ
    • Helps in maternal and child bonding

Also, watch this video by Dr Pritesh Singh where he discusses outline of Breast and enhance your NEET-PG preparation:

Also Read:  NEET PG 2023 – High-Yield Topics For Pediatrics 

Variation in composition of breast milk

The composition of Breast Milk varies after delivery which is explained below: 

  1. Based on time after birth
    • Colostrum in first 72 hrs - Thick and yellowish, very beneficial that it is called 1st immunization of baby, no pre lacteal feed is given
    • Transitional milk - For next 2 weeks
    • Mature milk – Thin and watery
  1. Based on gestational age at which baby is delivered
    • Preterm breast milk is richer in Na, Immunoglobulins, Protein, Iron, Calories
  1. Based on each feeding session 
    • Foremilk – Initially watery part, it satisfies mainly thirst of the baby
    • Hindmilk – thick, comes at end, rich in lipids, it satisfies mainly hunger of the baby
      • Mother is recommended to feed from one breast completely before switching to other so that baby receives both foremilk and hindmilk

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