Women are incredible &Feeding Breasts are the ‘Trees of Life’. Mom’s breasts being the roots and branching out into a tree in their feeding baby’s mouth. Mother’s Milk is the Liquid Love & Breast feeding is a Gift that lasts a Life Time. It signifies a beautiful connection of mother’s pleasure and infant’s privilege. Breast Feeding is a whirlwind journey, not always easy, but worth it.
According to Ayurveda & Acharya Bhela, Sthana (Breast) is termed as ‘Pranayatana’ meaning where Prana (Life) resides & is the store of Amritha, Nectar (Honey) for the growing Baby. Nature has designed the breast nearer to the heart at the site of Anaahat Chakra (4th Chakra) which signifies that the breasts are an instrument of love, and nurturing, meant to give love outwardly through breast milk and to connect in an intimate way.
Formation of Breast Milk & Ayurveda:
The Ahaara Rasa, Essence of Digestion, form Sthanya in breast. Hence Sthanya is termed as the Upadhatu of Rasa Dhatu when food gets digested, the aahar rasa is formed. That madhura and Prasad part of Aahaara rasa flows into whole body and this flowing part is called as Sthanya. The ejection of breast milk is mainly due to suckling reflex of the baby. When the pregnant lady eats the shadarasa yukta aahaara, it is then divided into 3 parts. The 1st part is utilized for nourishment of her own body, 2nd part is used for formation of breast milk and 3rd part is for development and nourishment of foetus. The first milk, colostrum is rich in various nutrients, extremely needed for new-born. So, it is advisable that the mother should start feeding as soon as possible after birth of baby.
|| Matureva pibeth stanyam tatparam deha vrudhhaye ||
Breast Feeding is essential for the rapid growth and development of the Baby. It is the best gift that a mother gives on to her baby. Breast milk is optimal food for almost all infants in the first year of life. Ayurvedic text describes the ‘Ksheerapa’ stage of child, in this the children up to 1 year of age have their main diet as milk. In absence of breast milk baby can be fed with goat or cow’s milk. This animal milk should be processed with some drugs and sugar, so that the animal milk becomes light and easy for digestion.
Characteristics & Importance of Sthanyam (Breast Milk):
The breast milk which has Varna, Gandha, Rasa, Rupa, and Sparsha in prakrutha condition and which mix in water completely, such milk is beneficial to baby.
Sthanya is said to be a complete food for babies and is Sathmya i.e. It suits for all. Nursing or the Breast Feeding helps to create a strong emotional bond between a mother and her new-born. Breast milk is a complete nutrition for an infant and it also provides Digestive Enzymes, Minerals, Vitamins and other necessary ingredients, which are required for growth of child.
Functions of Breast Milk:
Breast Milk is naturally clean and sterile, protects the baby from many infections and diseases. It increases the immunity of a child against a variety of bacteria and protect the infant from many diseases. Breast milk is always available at right temperature, suitable for a child. It serves as good store of IgA and Lactoferrin. Sthanya is Vatahara, Pittahara and Rakta dosha hara, Abhighatajanya and gives instant relief in Eye Disorders. It is Laghu, Sheeta, Deepaniya, Sathmya, Snigdha and used for Nasya in Raktapitta and Aaschotana in Netraroga.
Disorders of Breast Milk:
There are 2 types of Sthanya Vikruti, Stanya Kshaya & Stanya Vriddhi.
In Stanya Kshaya, the breast doesn’t secretes adequate breast milk as breast becomes shrink. As a result of this baby becomes weak, lethargic and thin.
In Stanya Vriddhi, the breast becomes full with the milk, as a result swelling occurs and breast secrets much milk continuously.
Acharyas describes various treatment formulations in case of Stanya Kshaya as Cereals, Meat, Cow’s Milk, Curd, Sugar. Happiness, Absence of Anger, Sorrow, Fear and Avoidance of Excessive Walking. Use of Sthanya Janana Dravyas (Drugs capable of increasing quantity of Milk) as decoction of roots of Shashthika, Shali, Ekshuvalika, Kasha, Kusha, Darbha, Tila, Lashuna, Sringataka, Vidarikanda, Madhuka, Shatavari pestled with Milk.
The Importance of Breast Feeding:
- Breast milk helps keep your baby healthy.
- It supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper proportions.
- It is easily Digested – No Constipation, Diarrhoea or Upset Stomach.
- Babies have Healthier Weights as they grow.
- It is packed with disease fighting substances & protects baby from illness.
- First Milk – Colostrum has a substance called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (IgA), this guards against invading germs by forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes in the baby's Intestines, Nose, and Throat.
- The Amino Acid Tryptophan present in milk helps the baby to acquire sound sleep during night time.
- It protects against Allergies, Sickness, and Obesity.
- It protects against long list of Diseases, like Diabetes &Cancer.
- It protects against Infections, like Ear, Respiratory Infections, Meningitis.
- Breast Milk lowers the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests.
- Breast milk changes constantly to meet babies' needs.
- It promotes healthy growth of the baby.
- Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby.
- Breast milk is always ready and good for the environment.
- It is available wherever and whenever your baby needs it.
- It is always at the right Temperature, Clean and Free.
- No bottles to clean.
- Breast feeding has no Waste, so it is good for the environment.
- Breast Feeding can reduce Mother’s Stress level and Depression.
- Breast Feeding Mothers are protected against Breast &Ovarian Cancer.
- It is easier to return to their original weight before they got pregnant.
- Breast Feeding strengthens the bond with the children.
What are the ABCs of Breast Feeding?
A = Awareness. Watch for the baby's signs of Hunger, and breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry. This is called "On Demand Feeding”. The first few weeks, one may be nursing 8 to 12 times every 24 hours. Hungry infants move their hands toward their mouths, make sucking noises or mouth movements, or move toward your breast. Don't wait for your baby to cry. That's a sign he's too hungry.
B = Be patient. Breast Feed as long as your baby wants to nurse each time. Don't hurry your infant through feedings. Infants typically breast Feed for 10 to 20 minutes on each breast.
C = Comfort. This is key. Relax while breast Feeding, and your milk is more likely to "let down" and flow. Get yourself comfortable with pillows as needed to support your Arms, Head, and Neck, and a Foot Rest to support your Feet and Legs before you begin to breastfeed.
Caesarean Deliveries & Reduced Breast Milk:
Planned Caesarean Sections; Opting for Emergency Delivery based on the Tithi, Nakshatra, Jyothisya & the Calendar coupled with no intention of Breast-feeding is the emerging trend among women in modern times. These women have a higher proportion of Breast-feeding difficulties.
Breastfeeding within the first hour post-delivery has been cited as an important predictor of continued breast feeding. Skin-to-Skin contact has been suggested to improve breastfeeding initiation, maintenance and duration. Lower breastfeeding initiation and increased difficulties with Breast-feeding in women with C-section deliveries may be related to a physiologic influence on lactogenesis. The hormonal pathway that stimulates lactogenesis is disrupted by C-section delivery, either from maternal stress or decreased oxytocin secretion, and can hinder milk production.
“There is no such thing as - Am not getting Milk”. Breastfeeding is not an option, it’s a responsibility of every mother. Ayurveda advocates Breast Feeding as it is good for baby, good for mom & good for the Society too.