Benefits to the Mother
Breastfeeding benefits the mother in many ways, such as:
- It may help to shrink back the Uterus to Pre-pregnancy size
- It also induces to lose Pregnancy weight
- It reduces the risk of Pre-menopausal Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, and Osteoporosis.
- It decreases the risk of Uterine Bleeding and Anemia
One should consult a Pediatrician for all issues related to Breastfeeding.
A mother may face the following challenges while Breastfeeding:
- Sore Nipples: Breastfeeding mothers often experience sore nipples during the first few weeks of Breastfeeding. The mother should ensure that the baby latches on correctly. She should also make sure to nurse the baby with each breast fully enough to empty the Milk Ducts.
- Stress & Worries about Producing Enough Milk: Mothers often worry about not being able to produce sufficient milk. In such situations, mothers undergo an emotional turmoil and often resort to formula milk or water. However, one should nurse the baby with Breast Milk for the first six months, and avoid using formula milk.
- Dry & Cracked Nipples: Mothers may experience dry and cracked nipples while Breastfeeding. Avoid use of soaps or perfumed creams as it may tend to aggravate the problem.
- Breast Engorgement: Congestion of Blood Vessels in the breast results in Breast Engorgement. This traps the fluid in the breast making it hard, painful, and swollen.
- Breast Infection (Mastitis): When bacteria enter the breast through cracked nipples, it may result in Mastitis.
Other common challenged faced by Breastfeeding mothers include Inverted Nipples and Blocked Ducts.
Precautions during Breastfeeding
In some cases, Breastfeeding may cause harm to the infant. Breastfeeding is not advisable in the following circumstances:
- If the mother is HIV Positive
- If the mother is receiving Chemotherapy treatment for Cancer
- If the mother has active and untreated Tuberculosis
- If the mother is using illegal drugs, such as Marijuana or Cocaine
- If the baby has Galactosemia, a condition in which the baby cannot tolerate natural sugar present in Breast Milk
- If the mother is under medication for Migraine Headaches, Arthritis, or Parkinson’s Disease
Dr. Babita Jain, Senior Consultant & HOD Pediatrics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Gurgaon, encourages breastfeedings and clears out some breastfeedings and baby related myths. She also mentions the necessary vaccines the baby should get in intervals.
Mothers should seek medical help in the following eventualities:
- Unusual Redness, Swelling, Tenderness of Breasts
- No gain in weight of the baby
- Not being able to produce enough Breast Milk
- Unusual Discharge or Bleeding from Nipples
Dietary Requirements of the Mother
Breastfeeding mothers should take proper care of their diet. The food consumed by the mother passes on to the baby through Breast Milk. While Breastfeeding, one should stringently avoid the intake of alcohol. Excess intake of caffeine may cause irritability and restlessness in babies.
Breastfeeding mothers should also avoid fish high in mercury, and limit the intake of fish low in mercury. Mothers should focus on imbibing good nutrition, taking proper rest, and staying well hydrated.