Along with the joys of motherhood comes the responsibility of nurturing the newborn. For good health of newborn, proper nourishment is utmost important . This nourishment is provided by Stanya or Breast milk , which is a complete food during initial period.
Stanya Sampat (Characteristics of Breast Milk)
According to Ayurveda, Stanya (Breast Milk) should be normal in smell, taste, touch and whitish yellow or white just like the colour of conch shell. This milk provides nourishment and good health to the child.
Composition of Breast Milk
* Lactose helps in absorption of calcium and enhances the growth of Lactobacilli in the intestines.
* Amino acids aids in neurotransmission and neuromodulation.
* Polyunsaturated fatty acids help in myelination of the nervous system.
* A number of protective factors eg. immunoglobulins protect from infections.
* Epidermal growth factor enhances maturation of intestinal cells and reduce the risk of allergy in later life.
Factors Stimulating Breast Milk
Ayurveda describes that milk is ejected by the thought, sight, touch, and affection for the child and also with the physical contact (suckling).This is called as Oxytocin reflex (Milk ejection reflex) in modern science. Oxytocin hormone is produced in response to the stimulation to the nerve endings in the nipple by suckling as well as thought, sight or sound of the baby.
Contraindications for Breast Feeding
The woman who is hungry, grief stricken, has vitiation of vital elements in body, is pregnant, emaciated, obese, suffering from fever, consumed incompatible diet should not breast feed the child.
Breast milk is the best nutrition a mother can give to her child . Feeding the child is the most satisfying and fulfilling experience for a mother . The child should be breastfed exclusively for first six months after birth . But when amount of breast milk decreases or is inadequate , it becomes very distressing.
Ayurveda describes decreased breast milk as ‘ Stanya Kshaya’ i.e Stanya means breast milk and Kshaya means decrease.
Absence or faulty secretion of breast milk following childbirth is called ‘Agalactia’ or ‘Agalactorrhoea’ .
The decreased secretion may occur from beginning and continue through entire period of lactation or it may be normal initially and decrease gradually .
Causes ( According to Ayurveda ):
* Anger , grief , fear , absence of affection for the child . * Fasting , intake of dry or non – oleaginous edibles and fluids. * Excessive exercise , emaciation , inadequate sleep and rest. * Excessive use of purifying measures. * Pregnancy during lactation.
* Sore nipples. * Smoking and alcohol consumption. * Taking oral contraceptives. * Providing other feeds in between breast feeding.