How to Resolve Your Breastfeeding Delimmas
This Breastfeeding Week, Resolve All Your Breastfeeding Dilemmas As A Lactating Mother
Breast milk is the first source of nutrition for a new born that not only provides the baby the nutrients that promote growth but also protects him or her from a variety of diseases. This is why the first week of August is promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the World Breastfeeding Week, an occasion to spread awareness regarding the benefits of breastfeeding. This initiative that began in 1992 is aimed at addressing the common queries and concerns of lactating mothers and to educate them regarding the essential things to know about breastfeeding. Addressing the questions of breastfeeding mothers is extremely important for ensuring the well-being of the child. Therefore, here are the answers to some of the most commonly raised questions pertaining to breastfeeding that can help new mothers in making better decisions for themselves and their babies.
Are there any foods that can improve lactation and help with the situation of low milk supply?
During the nursing phase, the diet of the mother directly affects the production of breast milk and you must be extremely vigilant about what you eat. In case you are suffering from a low milk supply, you can opt for food items such as oats that provide fibre and are known to improve lactation, as well as spinach and beet leaves that provide iron, calcium, and folic acid that promote milk production. Other foods that contain the nutrients that increase lactation include carrots, bottle gourds, basil leaves, and fenugreek seeds.
What should I avoid eating during my breastfeeding phase, so as to improve the quality of milk?
In case you are wondering why your breast milk supply is low or why your baby is having digestion troubles, you may need to eliminate a few food items from your diet. While citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, they may cause diarrhoea in infants, if consumed by the mother in large amounts. Also, avoiding peanuts is a good idea because it is a common allergen that may irritate the baby, while cutting down on your caffeine intake is recommended because it lowers the iron level in breast milk. If your baby is suffering from sleep related issues or mood swings then you may need to reduce your chocolate consumption because the theobromine present in chocolate can cause these symptoms.
What is the right time to stop breastfeeding my baby?
Breastfeeding throughout the first six months of the baby’s life is extremely essential for the baby’s growth. Therefore, it is highly recommended to breastfeed your baby until he or she turns six months old. After the first six months, you may continue breastfeeding till the child reaches the age of two years, depending on your preference as well as the eating habits of the baby. Along with breast milk, you can begin introducing complementary foods into your baby’s diet once they turn six months old.
How Long Can Breastmilk be Stored for?
How long the breast milk stays fresh and safe for consumption depends on the storage conditions. At room temperature, breast milk stays fresh for up to 6 hours whereas, in an insulated cooler, the milk remains fresh for 24 hours. Breast milk stored in the refrigerator should be consumed within 5 days whereas the milk stored in a deep freezer remains safe for consumption for up to 6 months.
Is it safe for me to breastfeed my baby in case I am suffering from hypothyroidism?
Yes, it is safe to breastfeed under normal circumstances even you are suffering from hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a serious condition marked by an underactive thyroid gland, which in turn reduces the metabolism of the body. Common symptoms include fatigue, poor appetite, and depression, thinning of hair, dry skin, and intolerance to cold. Sometimes these symptoms, which are like those of anaemia, may be wrongly ascribed to normal postpartum weakness, post pregnancy depression or even breastfeeding and can be diagnosed using a simple blood test.
Thyroid supplements – used to treat hypothyroidism – are not contraindicated while breastfeeding. These supplements just bring the mother’s thyroid up to normal levels, making the mother feel better and increasing her milk supply.
Though thyroid hormone replacement, when given in proper dosage level, crosses into breast milk in only minute quantities, it has no adverse effect on the baby. As said earlier there’s no reason why a woman who is hypothyroid and on thyroid hormone replacement shouldn’t or can’t breastfeed under normal conditions.
All things considered, this holds true only if the blood hormone levels stay in the normal range. In the event that an excess of thyroid hormone is being taken and levels move toward becoming hyperthyroid, at that point thyroid hormone can pass into the breast milk. For this reason, if you are a nursing mother on thyroid hormone, you should take medication precisely as recommended by a physician.
These were the answers to some of the most common concerns regarding breastfeeding. In case you have any further queries concerning breastfeeding, you can consult Dr.Laxmi Shrikhande, expert gynecologist in Nagpur. Remember, breastfeeding is not just a duty but also an opportunity for new mothers to establish a beautiful and lasting bond with their babies. Breast milk is your baby’s first source of life and breastfeeding promotes good health in both the infants and the nursing mothers. Therefore, by choosing to breastfeed instead of opting for formula milk, you are making a wonderful decision for your child’s well-being.
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