-A neonate is a new born baby till 28 days of life according to WHO.
-Top feeds are the feeds anything apart from breast milk of the mother for new born babies.
-It is very important for the baby to feed only on mother’s milk since birth till 6 months of age.
-Common top feeds that are given include water, honey, sugar water, formula milk, cow milk, buffalo milk etc. which are not good for the baby.
-Exclusive breastfeeding is defined as breastfeeding but nothing else including water till 6 months of age of the baby. The baby can receive ORS, drops and syrups of vitamins, minerals, medicines as per doctor’s prescription. Breast feeding is the healthiest and the most ideal way of feeding the baby to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
-Babies don’t have enough immunity to fight against infections they can get outside mother’s womb after birth due to absence of IgA antibodies which act against a number of micro-organisms harmful to the baby.
-Breast milk has high levels of IgA antibodies which protect intestinal lining of the baby. Breastfeeding helps in improving the baby’s immunity by passing these IgA antibodies through mother’s milk.
-Breastfeeding hence decreases the risk of infections after birth until the baby develops its own immunity gradually and naturally and also from Vaccinations, given after birth.
-The goal is to encourage the mother to feed as many times as the baby demands, educate her about recognizing the cues from the baby when the baby is hungry, encourage her to take nutritious diet, drink plenty of fluids and proper rest.
-It is known that the baby is hungry when the baby puts hand in mouth or when the baby directs tongue to the side when that side of cheek is stroked gently with finger.
-Baby can be breastfed as many times as the baby is hungry and demands for, rather than keeping a certain time gap between two sessions of breastfeeding.
-Latching in such a way that baby’s mouth covers entire areola is equally important while breastfeeding for good amount of milk intake by the baby. Good latching also prevents mother from getting sore nipples.
-Emptying both breasts by starting feeding alternatively with each feeding is also very important for good breast milk production.
-Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal unless the baby has any complications or disease conditions that require formula milk along with mother’s milk (mixed feeding) for additional nutritional support or if the mother is not able to produce enough milk for exclusive breast feeding.
TOP FEEDS : Giving top feeds to the baby is unnecessary and inevitably exposes the baby to micro-organisms of external environment, increasing the risk of infection.
-Enterocolitis is the most common condition seen in newborns who are given top feeds. The baby develops diarrhea, vomiting leading to dehydration, improper nutrition which disturbs the normal growth and development of the baby.
-If top feeding is inevitable due to a medical condition of a baby, it is important for the caregiver to maintain proper hand hygiene while preparing formula feed and use boiled and cooled water for the preparation of the formula.It is also important for proper sterilization of the feeding bottles and nipples.
– Dr.Divya Teja Pasupuleti