Breastfeeding is the natural way a mother uses her milk to feed her new born. Breast milk is the perfect first food for babies. It is easy to digest, prevents constipation, lowers the risk of food allergies and provides anti bodies that provide the child from a number of infectious diseases. Nursing also promotes healthy oral development, satisfies suckling needs, enhances mother/baby bonding, offers an ideal opportunity for skin-to-skin contact and can lead to more intelligent children.
Mothers who choose to breastfeed also benefit because nursing reduces the risk of bleeding from the placenta site, offers regular opportunities for rest and speeds uterine contraction. Many breastfeeding mothers also experience faster post-baby weight loss than mothers who bottle-feed. Problems associated with breastfeeding are:
Mastitis: , also known as a breast infection, can occur if a plugged duct is left untreated. Mastitis can also occur if there are cracks in the nipple, allowing bacteria to enter. Symptoms of mastitis include sore breasts, fever, and redness in the breast, yellow secretion from the nipple, flu-like symptoms and overall fatigue. A woman with mastitis should drink plenty of fluids, rest often, wash her hands before and after breastfeeding and allow breast to air-dry after feedings to prevent cracking.
Sore nipples: Sore nipples are the result of incorrect nursing positions, nursing schedules and/or sucking by the baby. Nipples can also become sore if they are infected. If nipples become sore, nurse on the least sore side first, massage the breast to prevent engorgement, align the baby so his jaws do no apply pressure to sore spots and apply oils or ointments to help prevent soreness.
Engorgement: Engorgement is a painful, full feeling in the breasts that occurs two to five days after childbirth. Engorgement is caused by the rapid increase of blood supply to the breasts and the pressure of new milk in the ducts. The breast feel full, tight, hard and tender. They can also feel hot to the touch and the skin often appears shiny. Engorgement can be relieved by giving the baby short frequent feedings and expressing milk between feedings to decrease pressure. Massaging the breast during feedings and applying moist heat half an hour before each feeding can also help.
Plugged Duct: If a milk is not completely emptied while feeding, the duct can become plugged, causing soreness and a lump in the breast. tight bras can also cause plugged ducts. To prevent plugged ducts, be sure to remove tiny drops of tiny milk from the nipples and massage the breasts firmly to stimulate milk flow. If a duct becomes plugged, offer that breast first when sucking is strongest.
POSSIBLE LIFESTYLE CHANGES, HELP AND RECOMMENDATIONS
* Eat a well balanced , varied diet and take multivitamin daily.
* Limit caffeine intake and eliminate alcohol.
* Do not smoke.
* Try to relax while feeding to encourage the let down reflex.
* Rest relieves stress and replenishes your immune system.
* Alternate warm and cold compresses on your breasts. Cold compresses relieve pain; warmth increases circulation, which mobilizes infection-fighters in the inflamed area. Lean over a basin of warm water, stand in a warm shower, or soak in a warm bath. Warm water or a warm wet towels is more effective than the dry heat of a heating pad. For cold compresses, use crushed ice in plastics bags or bags of frozen vegetables, covered with a thin dishtowel to protect your skin.
* Gently massage the area of tenderness. This increases circulation, helps to loosen any plugged ducts in the area, and mobilizes local immune factors. Try doing this while soaking the breast in a warm shower or bath.
* Breastfeed frequently on the affected side. If it hurts to nurse the baby, start the feeding on the breast that is not sore, and to switch to the sore side after your milk lets down. Breastfeeding is usually more comfortable when the milk is flowing. It’s important to empty the inflammed breast. As in other parts of the body, fluid that is trapped can get infected.
* Vary the baby’s position at the breast, so that all the ducts are emptied.
*Drink lots of fluids, as you would if you you have the flu. Fever and inflammation increase your need for fluids.
* Boost your immune system with good nutrition.
* Use warm water on the infected area of the breast before breastfeeding to help stimulate let-down (the milk ejection reflex).
* Breastfeed or pump frequently, using both breast. Lactation consultants recommend first breast-feeding from the unaffected breast until let-down (milk ejection reflex) occurs and then switch to the breast with mastitis. Breast-feed only until the breast is soft.
* Sleep without a bra. At other times, wear a looser fitting bra that does not put pressure on the affected area. Or if possible go without bra.
* Don’t quit nursing at this point. Weaning increases the risk of a breast infection turning into a breast abscess that requires surgical draining. Continue to nurse your baby is the best treatment for engorgement, mastitis and breast infections.
* If baby refuses to nurse on the affected breast, it may be because inflammation of the milk glands increases the sodium content of your milk, giving it a salty taste. Most babies either don’t notice or don’t mind, and go right on nursing. Some may object to the change and fuse or refuse to nurse from that side. Try starting the feeding on the unaffected side and finishing on the salty side. As the inflammation subsides, your milk will soon return to its usual taste.
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