Contributed by –Dr. Snehal Singh
There is no other joy as wonderful as bringing new life in this world. The first cry of the baby is the sweetest sound a mother has ever heard. The tiny bundle of joy is so fragile and needs extreme care and attention. Breastfeeding is one of the very essential attributes that makes a healthy and happy baby. We all are aware of the listless benefits that a mother’s milk offers. Breastfeeding is considered as the best nutrition for babies and has been recommended for centuries.
But, how many us know that breastfeeding is equally healthy for the mother as well? New moms as they start on the beautiful journey of motherhood are filled with doubts and questions. A lot of them are about breastfeeding. This guide gives an insight to the benefits of breastfeeding, the risks and precautions and lifestyle advice for moms.
Health Benefits Of Breastfeeding For The Mother
Breastfeeding is beneficial for the child and the mother. Breastfeeding in a lot of ways can help uplift the physical and mental wellness. The most important benefits that breastfeeding offers are:
- Breastfeeding can reduce your stress and lower the risk of postpartum depression
- Breastfeeding mothers are at lesser risk of obesity
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of diabetes and cancers of breast and ovaries
- Many breastfeeding women actually feel more energetic and find it easier to lose the weight gained during pregnancy
- It gives a feeling of satisfaction with completeness, apart from bonding with the baby
- Breast feeding also secretes the happy hormones that acts as a mood elevator
Precautions New Mothers Should Take To Ensure Healthy Quality And Supply Of Breastmilk
New mother needs a lot of care of her health. A breast feeding mom should take care of several things to ensure good health. A nutritious diet is the one the basics for good health. A pregnant woman should start taking care of her health since the pregnancy. It not only boosts the baby’s health but also the mother. To ensure good quality breastfeeding a good diet is necessary for lactating mothers.
- Include wholegrain foods for energy
- Milk and milk products
- Rich sources of proteins
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Have adequate water
Here are some precautions for mothers to ensure healthy supply of breastmilk:
- Attend to your infant and feed whenever needed, particularly during early months. Milk production is stimulated more when the infant breastfeeds
- If it is difficult for a working mom, express breast milk to feed the baby during the day
- Avoid using pacifiers and nipple shields
- Keep milk formula away during exclusive breastfeeding period – ideally six months
- If mother is sick, get immediate medical advice
Recommendations For New Mothers On Breastfeeding In Public
Breastfeeding in public can make some mothers feel uncomfortable and self conscious. But, it is important to remember that it is important for your baby. It can seem awkward and weird in the start. A little preparation can help the mothers to overcome the awkwardness. Few suggestions for new mothers on breast feeding in public places are mentioned below:
- New moms can practice breastfeeding in suitable positions at home before doing it in public
- Try out proper clothes to find what you are comfortable with
- These days, special clothes like breast feeding aprons, specially for breastfeeding are available
- You can use a sling or infant carrier to hold the baby while travelling, it also makes breastfeeding easier
- Many places like shopping malls have separate rooms or lounge for breastfeeding
- When in public, you can turn away while your baby first latches on to the breast
- You may want to consider using something to cover up your baby and your exposed area
- Also, make sure to take all safe handling and hygiene precautions while breastfeeding in public places
Hygiene Regulations For Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is extremely sensitive and improper care can make both the mother and child prone to various infections. It is important to maintain some hygiene standards while breast feeding to avoid any ugly accidents. Some important hygiene tips during breastfeeding are:
- Keep yourself clean and take bath daily
- Make sure to wash hands
- Avoid using any harsh soaps, lotions, powders or perfumes; particularly in the nipple area
- Clean your breast and nipple area after with a clean napkin or cotton after breastfeeding to avoid infections
- Wear clean clothes
- Prefer cotton clothes and change them if they are stained with milk
- Also, use nursing pads that can be changed often to keep clothes free from stains
What Are Some Of The Complications The Mother Can Face Whilst Breastfeeding?
Sometimes, breastfeeding can cause discomfort and problem for the mothers. But, proper management can help in dealing with such problems like infections. It is suggested to seek medical help immediately to avoid any complications. Some ways to handle common problems during breast feeding are:
- Sore nipples –Avoid using chemicals around nipples and wash them with plain water. Apply mild nipple cream to soothe the nipples.
- Clogged ducts – Warm compresses or showers and massaging the breasts can help. Express some milk to find relief in pain.
- Breast infections–Some clogged ducts may get infected and cause severe pain, flu-like symptoms and fever. It may not be safe to continue breastfeeding, it is best to follow your doctor’s advice.
- Yeast infections –Sometimes, yeast infection can affect the skin over the breast. It may appear pink itchy and flaky. It increases the risk of infection in the baby as well, which appears as white spots in the mouth or on the inner side of cheeks.
What Are The Lifestyle Changes A Breastfeeding Mother Needs To Make?
Last but not the least it is important to understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices for the new mother. As the new mother is no more just responsible for her life but also the little one’s. Both the lives are interwoven so intricately that a slight ignorance can cause huge problems. Some of the healthy lifestyle changes include:
- Healthy routine is the key to good health for a breastfeeding mother
- Plan a diet with three healthy meals and some nutritional snacks in between
- Include some form of exercise like walking or yoga in your routine to stay fit
- Disturbed sleep pattern of the mother is common. Try to catch up with your sleep when the baby sleeps
- Meditation and relaxation techniques also help
- Those returning to work need to plan a routine carefully and seek for any modifications at work
Embarking on the journey of motherhood, do not forget to take care of yourself. Being a mother is the best job in the world but it can at a lot of times seem really difficult. A little preparedness can help in keeping both you and your baby healthy and happy.