Breast Milk Promotes Faster And Healthier Growth Of A Baby’s Organs - Pediatrician and Neonatologist
August being a breastfeeding awareness month, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their babies for at least six months before they introduce supplementary foods to them.
According to research, breast milk, unlike any other form of milk protein like Formula, protects children against early infections, hence reducing their mortality rates. Additionally, it enhances the growth of their organs while also protecting mothers from diseases such as breast and ovarian cancer and heart disease.
To explain why it is crucial for mothers to breastfeed babies, The Brunch Talk Show presenter Olive Najjuma hosted Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka, a pediatrician and Neonatologist at Nsambya hospital. She is also a member of The National Newborn Steering Committee (NNSC) and the National Maternal and Perinatal Review Committee (NMPRC).
Dr. Victoria explained that God designed breast milk specifically for human beings and did for cow milk.
“Most Formulas are modified from cow milk to make them similar to breast milk, such that mothers who cannot produce enough breastmilk use it as a supplement. But feeding babies entirely on Formula exposes them to infections like diarrhea, eczema, allergies, and sometimes pneumonia and asthma because of a non-human protein introduced too early to their systems,” she explained.
Dr. Victoria continued that human milk was designed to promote the growth of human organs. “Babies are born with underdeveloped intestines and the ingredients in breast milk, help their intestines and brain to grow fast. So, whereas formula helps the baby generally grow, the human brain of a child feeding on human milk will grow better.”
The neonatalogist added that breast milk reduces the complications that may develop in premature babies by aiding in eyes, brain, lungs, and general growth.
Even though some baby Formula makes infants fat, Dr. Victoria said it does not mean they are growing well. “These babies will likely develop complications in the future, such as obesity and diabetes due to the high calories in this milk,” she said.
To reduce the mortality rate among premature babies, Nsambya Hospital established a breast milk bank in November last year since these babies cannot grow without human milk. Dr. Victoria, who works at the hospital, said the milk is voluntarily donated and given out freely to babies in need.
The capacity of the bank is 250 liters, but it now holds 10-15 liters of available milk. The milk is donated to preterm babies, those that have lost their mothers, and those that have undergone intestinal surgery. However, It is not given to mothers who simply do not want to breastfeed because they fear developing sagging breasts.
To donate breast milk, the hospital ensures that a donating mother has enough milk for her baby so that the surplus is donated. She is screened to ensure there’s no trace of diseases resulting from her lifestyle such as drinking, smoking, and drug use.
She is checked to ascertain whether she has ever had a blood transfusion, is on medication, has body tattoos, and has HIV tests to verify her status.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1 pm on RX Radio.