By Puja Gupta
Breastfeeding protects newborns from many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition. It strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mothers. Looking at the present times when the world is fighting a pandemic, lactating mothers should take precautions to ensure her child does not get infected.
Ruth Patterson, Chief Lactation Consultant, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, sends out an advisory for all the lactating mothers.
Every new mother and a lactating mother needs to practice hygiene:
Practice respiratory hygiene during feeding, wearing a mask where available
Wash hands before and after touching the baby
Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces they have touched
It is further recommended that you speak to a lactation consultant to take necessary measures, now that doctors are providing teleconsultation services to patients.
Participate in virtual training programmes to understand and learn about breastfeeding techniques
If you are sick and choose to direct breastfeed:
Wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding
If you are sick and choose to express breast milk:
Express breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
A dedicated breast pump should be provided.
Wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
If possible, consider having someone who is well feeding the expressed breast milk to the infant.
Pay attention to your food and drink. A new mother should have nutritious food to nourish your body, and subsequently your baby. Stay hydrated and drink enough liquid. Water, juice, milk, whatever. Don’t let your busy schedule of taking care of your newborn prevent you from having healthy meals. Have a balanced diet which is rich, which means a diet which has a combination of protein, calories fat, fatty acids and vitamins.
Every breastfeeding mother should consume extra calories of 450 to 500kcals and Omega 3 Fatty acids. They can also add fatty acids rich foods such as nuts and seeds like flax seed, chia seeds and walnuts. For intake of vitamins, include yellow and green vegetables, green leafy veg, avocado, kiwi fruit, potatoes, lentils, bananas, liver, turkey, tuna, fish, meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products etc.
Proteins in the diet include a few pulses, nuts, beans, seed, dairy, lean meat from fish, chicken, meat, eggs etc. Over consumption of this is not going to alter the breast milk rich with protein). Mother should be well hydrated to avoid tiredness & thirst.
Things to know about breastfeeding:
Initiation for First Feed: This should be done as soon as possible after birth. Take advantage of the first hour of alertness. Early skin to skin contact helps to keep baby warm and transfer of skin-friendly bacteria
Types of feed: Colostrum – Birth to 3 days; Transitional Milk – 3 to 5 days; Mature Milk – 5 to 7 days until weaned
Breastfeeding techniques: The baby needs to latch on the areola (darker region surrounding the nipple)
It will be wrong to assume that breastfeeding is painful. Breastfeeding should not be painful. If it’s painful, then the latch is incorrect. Unlatch the baby and try again
Timing: Baby should suck actively on the breast for at least 15 to 20 minutes one breast at a time
First month the feed is ï¿½on-demand’ or every 2 to 3 hours. (IANS)