Breast feeding: Important guidelines | By Nighat I Durrani

151

Breast feeding: Important guidelines

IT is important to understand cataract for a common person. The human eye is just like a camera fitted with a transparent convex lens behind the pupil, helps to focus clear images on the retina (most sensitive layer like a camera film) to transmit to the brain via optic nerve.

This is how exactly the visual process is completed. The pupil regulates the visual process exactly like the adjustment of the camera lens.

The lens is covered by a protective capsule. The lens gets clouded due many reasons: lack of essential nutrients in food especially in baby milk and the normal advancing age, scientifically known as age-related cataract.

It produces symptoms of difficulty for driving, reading, writing and perceiving clear images. It is exactly like the spectacle lens which goes dirty and we are unable to see things clearly. Poor vision may also result of falling into depression.

There is no proved treatment for preventing cataract but the researchers have evolved some eye medication for slowing down the progressive changes using suitable eye-sight glasses in order to maintain the workable vision till it gets fully matured for surgery.

Normally, it develops gradually in one or both eyes in the maturing age, responsible for 51% of world blindness while childhood-related cataracts are responsible for 5–20% of moderate to severe disability.

Risk factors include diabetes, smoking, prolonged exposure to sunlight and alcohol. It is approximately 5% in the United States by the age of 80 and nearly 60% of blindness in parts of Africa and South America.

Allah (SWT) is most gracious to provide the humanity with the breast milk, most wholesome and a complete nourishing food source for the growing infant and a safety against various diseases.

According to Quranic verses (2:233), The Almighty Allah (SWT) advises in Surah al-Baqarah, Verse 233 that a mother should normally feed the growing child with the breast-milk for at least 2 years.

It certainly secures the growing babies from many ailments like cataract in the older age.  Moreover, the breast feeding establishes a strong bond of love between mother and the feeding child and the child feels happy and secure.

The Breast milk though small in amount is completely sterile and contains required protein, minerals, antibodies, enzymes and make the breast milk easy to digest and keep the baby hydrated.

These enzymes also destroy any micro organisms in the stomach and provide extra-protection for baby’s immune system.

The scientists have observed that the infant mortality rates (IMRs) amongst breast-fed infants are 4 time lesser than the artificially fed infants.

According to the Korean National Health the development of breastfed babies is faster as compared to those fed on artificial source of feeding.

In fact, breast feeding establishes a strong bond of love between mother and child as the child feels happy and more secure.

It has been proved that breast feeding women are less prone to breast cancer than those women who are least interested in breast feeding.

They also conducted a survey on 2197 women, aged 50 years and above from 2010 onward.

They founded that there are lesser chance of developing age-related cataract in the long run.

However, clinical trials have shown that there is no benefit from vitamin supplements except a weakly positive evidence for a protective effect of nutrients like lutein and zeanthin. (easily available as a component of multivitamins).

Some factors are certainly helpful in avoiding sedentary life style, obesity, fatty diets, exercise, however encouraging fruits and vegetables should be essential part of the their diet are helpful and significantly reduce the risk of developing cataract in the advancing age.

There are important constituents of human milk present in every feed such as amino acids, white blood cells, hormones and proteins to activate immune system necessary for the normal development, which can’t be replicated by any other milk.

In addition, it contains complex sugars as prebiotics, (good bacteria) in baby’s gut to prevent infections and regulating baby’s appetite. Vitamins and minerals in the milk also support healthy growth of baby’s teeth and bones.

Soon after the birth the breast milk is extremely necessary for the nourishment and protection of vulnerable new baby.

In the beginning the breast produces very small amount of milk; though it lacks in quantity yet it makes up in quality, sufficient for newborn’s needs.

Moreover, it is a source of natural vaccination because its level of antibodies are very high, to protect your baby from diseases. Besides minerals, it is also rich in vitamins A, E and K as compared to artificial milk.

During the first week of baby’s life, around two to four days after delivery, the breast milk changes in quantity as more milk is coming, changing to mature milk, higher in fat lactose (a natural sugar), making it an ideal food for the rapidly growing newborn, till the baby is four weeks old.

The composition of milk changes from day-to-day and feed to feed and the level of all constituents start rising.

These changes are a gradual process of nature and the breast really keeps producing such high-quality of mature milk in the coming days.

Moreover, we introduce solids at six months with iron and necessary nutrients which make up a large part of the diet.

The cow milk has the same fat content as human milk, but the human milk contains more fatty acids not found in the cow milk This is just normal as the breast milk supply adjusts to your baby’s needs.

In a nutshell, more breast feeding for longer period had lesser chance of developing cataract in the advancing age, the study concluded.

—The author is a former Registrar of Pakistan Nursing Council Islamabad and a Senior Nursing Teacher & examiner of Nursing Profession.