NEW DELHI: Becoming a mother can be both exhilarating and daunting. Not just first time mothers but even those who have experienced the joy of motherhood earlier can go through a period of self-doubt wondering whether she is doing the right thing to keep her newborn safe.
Doctors say two simple interventions - exclusive breastfeeding and maximum skin-to-skin contact, have been found to pass dramatic health benefits from a mother to her newborn child.
An estimated 2.5 crore neonates are born in the country every year, 30% of which are pre-term (between 28 to 30 weeks) or of very low birth weight (VLBW), making them highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations and infections and thus demanding extra-care.
Breast milk is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals and carries antibodies from the mother to help the baby combat life-threatening disease. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachi-donic acid (AA) are key fatty acids needed for the growth of the human brain. Human milk contains 30 times more DHA than cow's milk.
Dr Anupam Sibal, paediatrician, Apollo Hospital, said human milk is rich in choline, taurine and zinc, which are highly beneficial for brain growth. Human milk contains almost double the quantity of lactose compared with milk of other mammals.