Things Extremely Important for a Breastfeeding Mother

As exciting and beautiful it is to be a mother, it is twice as crucial to be alert about the ways to take proper care of the newborn baby. Since the sole source of the child’s earliest nutrition is the mother, she needs to pay heed to the amount of breast milk she produces for the baby, whether it is safe and nutritious for the baby. Keeping a check on her daily diet and including foods that enrich her produced milk is a sure recipe for well-being of the baby.

How can the mom ensure that the breast-feeding proves healthy for the offspring?

Just as the mother gears up for the baby right from the knowledge and the preparations get stronger progressively with the increase of the baby bump, she should eat right, sleep right and live right for everything she does impacts the baby. Since the mother nurses the baby with the milk she produces from nutrients in her bloodstream, the quality of the milk and therefore the mother’s diet ensures the benefit that the baby receives from the mother directly. The fat, protein, sugars and water the baby receives goes into the growth and development. It affects the immunology of the baby and hence right after birth latching of the baby to the mother due to skin-to-skin contact is deemed as healthy.

The milk of the first few days’ right after the delivery is called colostrum though little in amount is replete with nutrients to meet the baby’s earliest need of developing a digestive tract to digest breast milk further. Making this readily available for the baby is the earliest step to be taken after the birth.

How long can you keep breast milk fresh?

The milk of the mother if extracted using a breast pump, can be used for up to two days only if it is stored in a refrigerator. This is an effective method for the working mother to refrain from switching to supplements and thereby not compromising with the benefits and nutrient goodness that the baby needs. If breast milk is frozen, it lasts up to six months but should not be thawed or heated in the microwave before used. This does away with the essential immunity yielding properties that makes breast milk the substantial food for newborn babies.

Should a breast-feeding mother indulge in marijuana and narcotics usage?

This is a strict no! Nothing harms the baby like narcotics and substance abuse by the mother does. Narcotics and drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, lysergic acid (LSD) stay within the blood of the mother and since the breast milk is the mother’s natural produce it is sure to make way to the baby. Hence, the mother needs to be off drugs, even alcohol and betel nut consumption. Even smoking is fervently discouraged. The food intake of the mother should be kept on check just as the mother should take care to keep off drugs before conception, during pregnancy and more so after the delivery of the baby. Even caffeine consumption by the lactating mother disturbs the baby’s sleep pattern making the baby irritated.

Method of using a breast pump

For working and employed mothers as well as for mothers desirous of bottling and carrying the breast milk for a day’s outing with the baby, this is an extremely convenient solution. Using the technique of pumping, this is not only simple but also portable. In various kinds, electric or manual, single or double, it offers a healthy choice to the mother. It is safer to prevent contamination from breast pumps used by many women. Since the baby may not be adjusted to the feeding bottle, a mother is advised to begin weeks before she is to be back at work. Also, an electric pump is faster just as a double pump saves the mother’s time letting her enough time to take a nap or reclaim her much deserved leisure.

When and how to stop breast feeding?

In case of mastitis or breast infection the doctor advises to give up breast feeding the baby for fear of infection. The time to wean a baby used to pawning at the mother’s breasts is when a year has passed since the baby’s birth. Most mothers do not discontinue breast-feeding even if the baby is older than 12 months and carry it on for over two years. Natural decrease in time and frequency of feeding is a sign of impending weaning. If the mother is to receive medical treatment that is not compatible with breast-feeding it is ok to wean the baby. A mother may consult a lactating consultant to seek advice regarding weaning a baby familiar to breast feeding if she finds it a discomfort to stop nursing her baby.

Challenges that a mother faces during breastfeeding:

  1. One that you will hear most about is chaffed, painful, sore nipples from prolonged feeding of the baby. However, proper latching on of the baby does offer relief. An ice bag helps just as letting the nipples dry in between feeding does wonders to swollen nipples.
  2. The mother also worries if she will produce enough breast milk necessary for the baby. In fact women with small breasts are often concerned about producing sufficient amount of milk as the women with large breasts. Such discomfort is needless as irrespective of the size of breasts, women produce milk that is enough for the baby in a way that the quantity gradually decreases as solids take over a liquid diet.
  3. Painful enlargement of breasts may take place when the blood vessels and ducts are plugged and fluid is congested within making it both uncomfortable as well as necessary to milk the breasts with the aid of a breast pump or warm massage.
  4. A grim scenario is the entering of bacteria through cracked or chapped nipples leading to mastitis. This infection has the symptoms of the flu with fever and fatigue.

Under what conditions is breastfeeding discouraged?

The birth mother if suffering from untreated active tuberculosis, of if she is receiving chemo therapy for curing of cancer, or if she is HIV positive is severely restricted from nursing the baby with breast milk as it might prove fatal for the baby. Another dire medical circumstance is when the baby is a victim of the rare condition of galactosemia and is incapable of digesting the natural sugars galactose present in the mother’s milk. New mothers under prescription drugs of Parkinson’s disease, migraine or arthritis medication are kept away from feeding the baby with their natural milk.

Nutritional foods for the post-pregnancy period:

Though it may seem crucial to lose the belly fat accumulated during gestation, what is the need of the hour is to ensure that the nutrients are received by the baby. Providing the nutrients from the mother gradually deplete the mother’s supplies, hence the mother must replenish her quota of necessary nutrients too. Salmon loaded with DHA leads to development of the baby’s nervous system.

Dairy yields calcium to the new-born as well the mother. Lean beef rich is in iron and vitamin B-12 is advised by the doctors. Beans, pulses, legumes are a great vegetarian option. Brown rice is stored with carbs for the baby’s growth. Eggs meet the mother as well as the baby’s protein requirements. Cereal and leafy greens are a great solution for health and prevention of dehydration. Last but definitely not the least is adequate water intake.

Scientific studies have proven that breastfeeding reduces the risk of respiratory problems, diarrhoea, food allergies, and even leukaemia. Proper nursing of the little baby improves cognitive development, strong physical health, sharpens mental faculties justifying World Health Organisation’s recommendation that newborn children need at least six months of adequate breast-feeding. Besides these, it significantly lowers the risk of obesity and diabetes, which are grave concerns for human beings presently. Hence, breast milk is the ideal nutrition for a new-born baby and is fervently advised my Paediatricians and Obstetricians round the globe.

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