Breast-feeding is a natural process. Love and affection for the baby is expressed by the mother through breast-feeding. Mammals like the cow, goat, etc. are 100% successful in breast- feeding their young ones. As the human mind evolved, man's natural instincts started decreasing and he began to depend more upon his intellect. The aim of this book is to impress upon mothers, the advantages of breast-feeding and that there is no substitute for it
Modem science has described the composition of various types of animal milk and has also proved that the mother's milk is the best food for the baby.
Ayurveda considers mother's milk as "piyush (amnlt)" i.e. nectar. It is affected by the mother's diet, daily regime, climate, diseases, psychological state of the mother, etc. Ayurveda also describes in detail the change in quality, colour, smell and taste of breast milk, the adverse effects of vitiated milk on the baby and the diseases which may occur in the baby due to altered qualities of the breast milk. Modem science has neither studied nor even consideredthese aspects and further research is required
Ayurveda imparts guidance on the diet and medicines which should be taken by the mother to correct the humours (dofihas) and the altered qualities of her breast milk. Ayurveda advises the mother not to stop breast-feeding even if the milk gets vitiated. In fact, it should be continued as even vitiated human milk is much better than animal milk.
Ayurveda emphasises upon breast-feeding the baby as it is rightly said, for optimum growth and development, every baby should drink the mother's milk. If the mother does not get sufficient milk or does not have milk at all then the baby should be breast-fed by a wet nurse who is healthy and has sufficient milk. This concept of Ayurveda is fantastic. Even if human milk is available at a milk bank, the baby will not get the satisfaction of sucking the . milk. A wet nurse is a live milk bank.
Three decades ago, there was a trend to bottle feed the baby with the milk of a cow or buffalo. In the last three decades, the feeder is considered as an enemy of the baby because if the bottle is not cleaned properly, the baby may suffer from vomiting, loose motions and other diseases. Here, it is not the fault of the feeder but of the parents who are unable to keep the feeder clean and sterile. Hence it is very essential to educate the parents on sterilization of the feeder, nipple, filters and feeding utensils. This book gives details on how to sterilize feeding utensils.
Nearly 50% of the babies are not satisfied on drinking milk with a bowl and spoon. If the baby is fed excessively or in a hurry, the baby may get choked and may suffocate. If the milk is given in small quantities then also the baby is not satisfied. When the baby is fed with a feeder, it has control on sucking and it takes adequate quantity of milk-at the right speed till it is satisfied. If the mother does not have milk, then the baby can be bottle fed for about 8 to 9 months. But if the mother has some milk, the baby should not be bottle fed merely because the baby will have to take more efforts to suck at the breast than the feeder. Due to this, many babies abstain from sucking breast milk. Gradually, secretion of the mother's milk decreases till it totally stops.
Though medical science has advanced greatly and despite availability of several types of tinned milk powder, yet none can be compared to the mother's milk. If the mother has less milk then the baby should be fed with the milk of a cow, buffalo or goat and after four to six months, supplementary diet should be started. A detailed study of the type of supplementary diet which should be started as per the baby's age has been done by modern science as well as Ayurveda.
This book should be read by all mothers, pregnant women and married women to prepare themselves to breastfeed their baby. The book should also be read by all family members, nurses and social workers to get guidelines so that they too can encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies.
To have breast milk is the birthright of every baby. Every mother should be proud to breastfeed her baby as she alone can give the best food to her baby. She should experience joy when the baby is sucking at the breast and get mental satisfaction that she has done her duty well.
We pray to The Almighty that may every baby enjoy the breast milk of its own mother which is akin to nectar and live a long, happy, healthy and useful life.
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