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“While breastfeeding may or may not be the right choice for every parent but its the best choice for every child.”

Dr Sadaf Ulde will be talking to us about breastfeeding and its benefits and misconceptions…

         Mother’s Milk is like a package of ice cream, antibiotics and all possible immunization ever you will be giving your child packed in two packages that’s topped with loads of unconditional love. Right from the time, the child has his first cry the colostrum that’s mostly superstitiously wasted in India becomes an important part to provide your child not only with immunization but have a strong bond with mother that helps a child to grow as a secured person. Breastfeeding is a blessing for both mother and child avoiding of the same can be an invitation for a lot of progressive, deep pathological disease and may also affect the growth and development of the child. Many mothers openly embrace this form of feeding. In an ideal condition mother’s should be breastfeeding the child of the average of 6months (which is exclusive).

In my early practice, I was lucky to be mentored by Dr. R. K Anand leading pediatrician of Mumbai who is also a great promoter of breastfeeding. He once told me if any doctor discourages breastfeeding he has not learned his subject well. If you want to really help mothers and their children this should be an important education you should give them whatever I am sharing with you are his blessings.

Many new mothers who want to breastfeed come with certain FAQ’s which we would like to address

OPTIMUM TIME TO START BREASTFEEDING.

As soon as the baby is born, the doctor will hand her to you. Hold the naked baby against your chest for direct skin-to-skin contact. Depending upon the temperature in the delivery room, both of you will be covered lightly with a sheet, with or without a blanket. Most babies, especially those whose mothers have not been doped, are alert for about 40 minutes to an hour after delivery. Take advantage of this period. Try to see if she might be interested in breastfeeding right away. You will find that some babies turn their heads to one side and start looking for the nipple. Some succeed in getting hold of the nipple and start suckling. You will be thrilled to see this happening. If she does not attempt this on her own, you can gently bring her mouth nearer one breast and see if she wants to suckle. Do not force her if she is not interested.

This early contact with your baby is important for bonding with her and for giving her the valuable colostrum.

It has been observed that the suckling reflex of a newborn is at its height 20 to 30 minutes after birth. If the infant is not fed at this time, the reflex diminishes rapidly to reappear adequately 40 hours later. It may be further delayed if the mother is ‘overdoped’. On the other hand, if the baby is put to the breast within half an hour after birth, she takes the breast properly and early weight loss, which is so common in newborn babies, is minimized.

Nursing soon after delivery also has a laxative effect on the meconium. The early evacuation of meconium tends to decrease the reabsorption of bilirubin (the yellow pigment responsible for jaundice). This pigment is liberated by the breakdown of cast-off red blood cells present in the intestines. Decreased reabsorption of bilirubin reduces the appearance of jaundice. Even if jaundice does appear, effective evacuation of meconium reduces its severity.

What Is Rooming-In? The practice of rooming-in means that the baby is kept in the mother’s room throughout the hospital stay. Contrary to popular belief, the mother who has her baby beside her feels less anxious about her and sleeps better. Even if she is sharing a room with another mother or mothers, she is not unduly disturbed.

The risk of your baby picking up infections from other babies in the nursery is very high. If one baby has acquired an infection, she is infectious even before she manifests any symptoms of it. At that time, she can pass on the infection to other babies kept together in a crowded nursery.

Even if the nursery is not crowded, the nurse may not always have the time to take each baby to her mother every time she cries; this may interfere with breastfeeding. Babies who do not get an adequate amount of the antibodies-rich colostrum in the first few days are at great risk of getting an infection. Moreover, the nurse herself may be carrying germs that she may pass on to the babies under her care in the nursery. Each time a baby is to be touched, it is essential that the nursing staff wash their hands properly. But it could be that this is not done properly.

It is true that a mother may also have germs that she may pass on to her baby. But the point worth noting here is that the mother makes antibodies against such germs in her breast milk, which she then passes on to her baby to protect her against getting infected. Even when other mothers share a room with their babies, the distance between two babies is much more than in the nursery.

Rooming-in, more than anything else, helps in proper initiation and maintenance of the breastfeeding that provides the baby with all the anti-infective factors, and this protects her from catching an infection.

What about visitors infecting the baby? My experience of working and teaching in a public hospital which caters to the poorer socio-economic stratum, as well as in a private hospital, indicates that poor exclusively breastfed babies kept exposed to visitors have less risk of getting infections compared to babies kept in the nursery of a private hospital away from visitors. However, to play it safe, you may put a notice outside the room or on the cot, requesting people not to visit the baby if they have a cold or a cough or any other illness, and to avoid touching the baby.

Rooming-in facilities reduce the workload of the hospital staff who then have more time for the babies whose mothers are ill. It gives you a chance to respond to your baby right from the beginning. You can feed her or hold her when you want to. It increases your chances of successful breastfeeding. A study has shown that mothers who had the rooming-in experience were more self-confident with their babies. By the time they were discharged, they could understand the indications given by their babies’ crying better than mothers who did not have this facility.

In this series of articles, we shall be talking about Breastfeeding positions and feeding after c-sec…

Keep on feeding

XOXO
SuperMOM Mitali