KOCHI: Like every year, World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) is organising World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) from August 1 to 7 and this year’s theme being 'Empower Parents, Enable Breastfeeding', there are certain essential points parents should keep in mind while breastfeeding. The babies should be breastfed as soon as possible after birth. The infants should not be fed with sweetened water, gripe water, honey, animal or powdered milk before six months. Avoid use of bottles or pacifiers because they are likely to make baby sick. It is safe for the baby to be close to the mother and sleep with her unless she is on sedatives. Breast feed during day and at night at least eight times, whenever baby shows hunger cues.
relax and glow, let the oxytocin flow
There is a reflex called the prolactin reflex for milk secretion which is enhanced by sucking, emptying of breast and frequent night time feeds (4 to 5 times each night). It is hindered by incorrect position, incorrect attachment, painful breast, prelacteal feeds and formula feeds. Another reflex called oxytocin reflex is responsible for milk ejection during feeding. This is enhanced by thinking lovingly of baby, sound and sight of baby when the mother is relaxed. This reflex is inhibited by worry, stress, pain and doubt.
ATTACHMENT, THE KEY TO SUCCESS
Poor attachment of infant’s mouth to breast can lead to crack nipples and subsequent problems like breast engorgement, mastitis and breast abscess. Good attachment involves wide opened baby’s mouth, outward turned lower lip, baby’s chin touching
mother’s breast and majority of areola inside baby’s mouth.
POSITION FOR SUCCESS
Correct positioning will
ensure effective sucking and prevent sore nipples and breast engorgement. Mother should be in comfortable position. She may sit on a chair, bed, stool or ground with back properly supported. She should slightly recline backward and should not lean on the baby. She can feed the baby in lying or semi-reclining posture. Baby is held in such a way that the whole of body is supported; baby’s head, neck and back are in same plane; baby’s body faces mother, and baby’s abdomen touches mother’s abdomen.
NOT ENOUGH MILK?
One has to make sure that mother's perception about adequacy of milk is true. Baby is having adequate breastfeeding if the baby passes urine 6-8 times in 24 hours, goes to sleep for 2-3 hrs after the feeds, gains weight and crosses birth weight by 2 weeks.
If baby is not gaining weight adequately, mother should feed the baby more frequently, at least 4-5 times during night. Take adequate drinking water, rest and sleep especially during day time. Make sure that the attachment is proper. Any painful condition in mother such as sore nipple, mastitis should be taken care of. Back massages are especially useful for stimulating lactation.
The author is consultant neonatologist, SUT Hospital, Pattom Palace. Views expressed are his own.