Exclusive Breast Feeding – We did it our way…

“Food, the forgotten medicine” (c) 

REAL FOOD for baby

This is a post about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.

That said, it’s important to point out that everybodies path is different, we couldn’t quite believe how much pressure you face after you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy.  Mums have it particularly tough of course with the realisation that you’re solely responsible for providing the energy and sustenance to grow an actual human being!   Functioning on very little sleep and bombarded with 24/7 access-all-areas internet and media coverage of how to do the right thing for your child it’s easy to reach overwhelm!

This ridiculous NHS advert is just one example – i can only assume it was conceived by a group of clueless advertising executives – the underlying message is that, not only do we expect you to single-handely breastfeed your child, but we expect you to look glamourous in the process!  (*)

An ill-conceived NHS Advert!
An ill-conceived NHS Advert circa 2010

The book ‘Breast is Best’ was written way back in 1978 and yet the World Health Organisation (WHO), together with UNICEF are still (report February 2015) raising awareness of the benefits of breastmilk as the cornerstone of child nutrition, health and development.

Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food. It is universally available. Its benefits last a lifetime, for mother as well as child…Exclusive breastfeeding – defined as the practice of only giving an infant breast-milk for the first 6 months of life (no other food or water) – has the single largest potential impact on child mortality of any preventive intervention. — WHO (2015)

It’s my personal belief and inline with current Health guidelines in the UK, US and Australia (to name a few) that babies where possible (there are certain clinical reasons where breastfeeding is not an option – HIV or taking certain medications that may be harmful to baby) should be given breast-milk and breast-milk only for the first 6months of life.

“Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months of your baby’s life” NHS, UK

Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk. — Roberta J. Cohen et al. 

Our son was exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months of his life, and whilst I would never judge anyone who chooses another route, I am surprised that only 38% of infants aged 0 to 6 months being exclusively breastfed globally.

There is also an incredible amount of pressure to start weaning early for a multitude of bonkers reasons and we faced our fair share! Click here to read results of a survey that demonstrates this.

I am incredibly proud our my partner in her journey through EBF and of our baby who has been just bouncingly happy throughout the process!  Some days she really felt she was in prep to run a marathon and we ensured she had plenty of good fats, protein and fresh vegetables.

We have just started weaning working with real foods and tuning into our sense of what is right for our son Leander, after all ‘every baby is different’.  In my next post I’ll share the start of that journey with you…

You are a brilliant parent and all your baby needs that’s all you need to know!

With love for a BRILLIANT parental journey,

Manos

PS – I offer personalised nutrition plans for nursing mothers and weaning babies.  Please contact me for more information.

(*) It is not my intention to add to the already oppressive message that you MUST breastfeed…but simply advise, best where possible, but if this places mum in an unsustainable and dangerous position then she should certainly not hesitate to examine other options.

Further Reading

Introducing Solid Foods Too Soon

Is baby ready for solids?

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2 thoughts on “Exclusive Breast Feeding – We did it our way…

  1. This is awesome, right on! I taught nutrition and health in Peru and we focused so hard on getting moms to exclusively breast feed for six months and then introduce food but keep breast feeding for at least a year. I love seeing moms make this decision!

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