Breastfeeding -2

Dr. Parang Mehta, MD.

"Is my milk enough?"

Many mothers worry about whether they are producing enough breastmilk for their growing baby.  They also worry about whether their milk is "suiting" their baby, and whether it alone is enough for their baby's well being.

Usually needlessly.

There are very few situations where a mothers milk is unsuitable for a baby.  And even thinly built, poorly nourished women produce as much milk as their baby needs in the first few months. Mother nature is wonderful!

A baby who is getting enough milk sleeps well, passes urine frequently, and is happy and playful when awake.  The surest sign of adequate milk is a steady gain in baby's weight over time.

A baby who is not getting enough milk will not fall asleep after feeding, or will get up soon.  The urine is scanty, dark, and infrequently passed.  The child looks miserable, thin, and cries a lot. And if weighed regularly, the record shows a poor gain, or even a loss, of weight.  Any of these signs should lead to a consultation with a specialist.

One breast or two?

There isn't any rule about this.  Try feeding the baby at alternate breasts at alternate feedings.  If the baby is not satisfied at one, offer the other breast, too.  But remember to start with the other side at the next feed.  It is important that both breasts be emptied regularly, to keep up the production of milk.

Mixed feeding

Giving bottle feeding along with breast feeding causes what is known as "nipple confusion".  The baby has to suck vigorously at the breast to obtain milk.  In contrast, milk flows from a bottle, and the baby has to pinch the nipple closed with the gums in order to swallow.  A baby that enjoys breast feeding usually does not take to the bottle. The babies that accept bottle feeding often give up sucking at the breast, leading to the drying up lactation.

If mixed feeding is essential, because the mother is working but wants to breastfeed, a cup and spoon should be used for the formula.  A spoon does not interfere with breastfeeding, does not cause infection and diarrhoea, and is easy to manage, once the initial learning period is over.

More info about breastfeeding --     Breastfeeding-1

Last Revision: February 15, 2016

Nipple shields

Often prescribed, incorrectly, for inverted nipples.  Protuberant nipples are not really necessary for successful breast feeding.  When a baby suckles, it takes the nipple and most of the areola deep into the mouth.  Retracted nipples may delay fully efficient suckling by the bay by a day or two, but most babies manage well, if not confused by shields.  

Nipple shields have drawbacks.  They reduce milk supply to the baby, and cause a reduction in milk production.  Absence of direct suckling prevents the milk "let-down" reflex.  The child gets used to the shield, and may refuse direct breast feeding later.  And finally, unless very strict precautions are followed, diarrhoea is a very real danger.

Hair loss

Many people believe that breast feeding causes hair loss.  Nursing women do notice a lot of hair falling out about the second or third month after delivery, but this is not because of breast feeding.  The fact is a condition called telogen effluvium.  

Telogen effluvium is brought about by a stressful event, like childbirth.  A large number of hair roots go into a resting phase, called the telogen phase.  About two months later, these start actively growing again, and the old hair shaft is shed.  The problem occurred at the time of delivery, and went unnoticed; when the hair loss was seen, it signalled the normalisation of the process.  The hair will soon grow back; baldness is not going to occur!

Contact Information

Dr. Parang Mehta,
Mehta Childcare,
Opposite Putli, Sagrampura,
Surat, India.     Tel: +91 9429486624.