August 9, 2021 by Imara Mediplus0

The world is yet to discover all the myths and misconception ssurrounding breastfeeding. With
over three thousand distinct cultures around the world, it is difficult to know the beliefs each
culture holds about breastfeeding with regards to: how soon should one start breastfeeding after
giving birth? exclusive breastfeeding, how long should a baby breastfeed after introduction of
complementary feeding (Weaning)? and how does breastfeeding affect the mother’s body and
The good news is facts about breastfeeding are constant and cut across all these cultures.
Additionally, components of breastmilk and its benefits do not change with different cultures. Our
task therefore is to demystify some of these facts by answering some of the commonest questions
asked about breastfeeding.

1. How soon should a baby breastfeed after birth?

Breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth. This has been proven to increase
defense against infection, decrease risk of diarrhoea illnesses and other infections and increase
survival rate in children. (1) Unless a complication arises after delivery preventing breastfeeding, let
the little one feed within an hour after birth.

2. Why should I exclusively breastfeed?

Babies should be exclusively fed on breast milk forthe first 6 months. Other fluids and meals are
discouraged unless they have been medically indicated. Breast Milk is highly beneficial and early
weaning can make your baby prone to illnesses such as pneumonia, asthma, diarrhoea and some
digestive tract infections. Exclusively breastfeeding a baby is not only a lifestyle decision but a great
health investment. (2)

3. Is it okay to use formula alongside breast milk?

Combining breastfeeding and formula can be done out of necessity, as a personal decision or
sometimes for convenience. In many occasions supplementation is recommended in instances
where the baby has a medical condition hindering breastfeeding-(mothers are encouraged to express
breast milk in this case) the baby is not gaining weight steadily or when there is low breast milk
supply. Should any of these arise, consult with your primary health care giver on the best way to
supplement your baby’s feeding for the best outcome. This is a safe practice and the goal of it is to
ensure a healthy baby and happy mother.(4)

4. For how long should my baby breastfeed?

Babies should be exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Breastfeeding should then continue alongside
safe complementary feeding for up to 2 years of age or sometimes longer. The longer the baby
breastfeeds the more they stay protected from illnesses. For every feeding session, let the baby
breastfeed uninterruptedly until they are satisfied (3)

5. How does breastfeeding affect my body and health?

Breastfeeding is less likely to give you saggy breasts; it does not affect the shape or volume of breasts;
the changes that occur during pregnancy are more likely to cause that. Breastfeeding helps you
burn calories and hence lose extra pregnancy weight. The greatest benefit however is the bond that
is formed between you and your baby during breastfeeding; this is out of this world! Other than
that breastfeeding can help reduce the risk of High blood pressure, Diabetes, Cancer of the ovaries
and breast cancer. (2)

As we come to the end of World Breastfeeding Week,we desire to see us all take part in protecting,
promoting and supporting breastfeeding. At Inara Mediplus Hospital, we are open to discuss
Breastfeeding and Nutrition for your baby and family too.

Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Nation!

“A newborn has only three demands. They are: warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her
breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.”
Dr. Grantly Dick-Read

Article By: Dan Yego

Nursing Officer

Imara Mediplus Hospital.


  1. Abie, B. M., & Goshu, Y. A. (2019). Early initiation of breastfeeding and colostrum feeding among
    mothers of children aged less than 24 months IN DebreTABOR, northwest ETHIOPIA: A cross-sectional
    study. BMC Research Notes, 12(1).
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 22). Why it matters. Centers for Disease Control
    and Prevention.
  3. World Health Organization. (2019, February 11). Exclusive breastfeeding for optimal growth, development
    and health of infants. World Health Organization.
  4. Citroner, G. (2020, May 11). Ignore marketing when picking between breastfeeding or using formula.

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