A child breastfeeding. Every year, the first 7 days of August are used to celebrate World Breastfeeding Day. [Photo: Courtesy]
Babies have their needs and their own way to express them. Crying is the language babies use to communicate with the world, especially with the mother.
In some cases, it can be stressful for the mother struggling to understand this language, especially when babies refuse to breastfeed.
Under these circumstances, family members and other caregivers are alarmed and left wondering what the problem with the baby could be. It is even difficult to calm the baby since they do not speak.
Babies cry mostly when:
- Discomfort due to wetness or heat, tiredness, sickness/pain or when they need attention.
- When they want to breastfeed: Sometimes and especially at 2 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months, your baby grows fast. This makes them feel hungrier. Breastfeeding more often ensures the baby gets all the milk they need to grow.
Colic: Colic is when a healthy baby cries frequently for no clear reason. It is defined as crying for more than 3 hours a day at least 3 days per week for more than 3 weeks. Colic is not a disease or diagnosis but a combination of baffling behaviors. It's really just a catch-all term for excessive crying in otherwise healthy babies — the problem being, there’s no solution to it besides the passing of time. And it’s common, occurring in roughly 1 in 5 infants.
- Hold them by the tummy.
- Hold the baby to the mother’s chest to ease the pain.
- Hold the baby along your forearm.
- DO NOT give gripe water and such like preparations as they do not help.
- Ensure your baby latches well on the breast.
- Help your baby to pass wind/air after every breastfeeding.
- DO NOT supplement until you consult your doctor on ways to do so.
- Colic will go away. Most babies outgrow it by the time they are 3 to 4 months old and just because your baby has colic does not mean they are unhealthy.
Breastfeeding contributes to the survival, health and wellbeing of not just the baby, but all of us. It is therefore a shared responsibility.
The first 7 days of August in every year are set aside and marked globally as World Breastfeeding Week. At Julisha.Info, we take this special occasion to share with you tips on handling crying in babies and support your family in ensuring proper breastfeeding.
Everyone in the family, not only the Mather, can make sure that babies are properly breastfed by:
- Providing a comfortable sitting area for the mother and assisting her in taking care and control of older children as she breastfeeds the young one.
- Ensure your baby breastfeed adequately.
- Provide emotional and physical support for mothers to exclusively breastfeed by helping with household chores.
- Assisting the mother in feeding the baby with expressed breast milk when the mother is away for work or any other engagements.
- Support mothers to eat healthy to get all the nutrients they and the babies need, by helping them take at least 3 meals, 2 snacks between meals and 2 extra meals per day.
Benefits of exclusive breastfeeding
Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breastmilk. No other liquids or solids are given. Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development, and health. Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond.
- Breastfeeding gives all the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of life.
- Breast milk has enough water to satisfy the thirst of a baby even during hot weather.
- The milk has nutritional benefits that protect babies from common diseases such as diarrhea and respiratory infections.
- Breast milk is clean, safe, easy to digest and readily available for the baby.
It is important to note that the various reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding only and start to mix feed for babies can be overcome. Here are some key things to share:
Is it true that some mothers do not have enough milk?
NO. All mothers are capable of producing enough milk for their babies.
- You know your baby is getting enough milk when they are gaining at least ½ a kilogram every month in the first 6 months.
- A proper latch of nipples is key to trigger your milk production and keep the baby well fed.
Should a mother stop when a child refuses to breastfeed?
No, you should not since there are factors that might be triggering that and can be changed.
Keep trying, change breastfeeding positions, avoid distractions and change the baby’s routine.
The baby may appear to refuse to breastfeed due to sickness, sudden changes that upset him/her, or due to developmental milestones like distraction-4-8 months or self-weaning - 1 year and above.
Keeping your baby close to you with plenty of skin-to-skin contact will help your baby to breastfeed again.
Do you have any questions relating to breastfeeding? Please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.