If you want to raise a responsible and confident nation, breastfeed your baby. Babies who are exclusively fed on mother's milk for the first six months of their lives, have better immunity, improved eyesight and faster growth, compared to bottle-fed babies, said Dr Raghuram Mallaiah, neonatologist and paediatrician at Fortis La Femme.
According to Dr Mallaiah, even HIV positive women can breastfeed their babies. Mother's milk does not only provide the best nutrition to babies, but it helps in mother-infant bonding also, the Medico pointed out. He said breastfeeding also helps mothers in many ways. ''It helps you in getting back in shape and protects you from certain types of cancers like ovarian cancer and breast cancer. A lot of research has been done on the subject, which proves that women who breastfeed their babies, have 70 per cent less chances of getting ovarian and breast cancer.'' On being asked if the women who had epidural or Caesarean section, produce less milk, Dr Mallaiah said it is just a myth. ''Milk production does not depend on complications in delivery or the kind of delivery you had. It depends on your body type and the hormones,'' he added. Talking about formula milk, the expert said it is not bad, per se. However, substituting mother's milk with formula milk is detrimental to baby's health. ''When the mother needs to go out, she should express her milk and refrigerate it. Mother's milk can be used for 24 hours,'' he added. Parents should never give cow's milk to the newborn. The proteins in cow's milk are of very high degree and complex, which are not easily digested by the babies, said the medico. Talking about his brainchild Amaara, the only human milk bank in Delhi, the doctor said, ''We provide 500 litres of human milk in a year to different hospitals.'' Premature and neonatal babies get benefited from the human milk bank. ''We encourage mothers of such babies to express their milk for the babies,'' he added