THE LACTATING MOTHER- DO’S AND DON’TS

Are you a new mother??Searching for some proven tips on breastfeeding??

GENERAL DESCRIPTION-

Lactation- It is best described as the secretion of milk from the mammary glands or the period of time in which the mother lactates to feed her baby.

This is a natural process with all post-pregnancy female mammals.

In humans this process of feeding milk is known as breastfeeding or nursing.

It should not be avoided as itis a natural phenomenon, which benefits both the mother as well as child.

There are many advantages of the mother’s milk in the ancient scriptures.

It is a best method to give the love to the child. A child understands the mother by one means i.e. breast-feeding.

  • According toAyurveda breast milk is known as a nectar. It is considered as the knowledge pots for the child.

Some facts about the lactation supports this comparison-

  • The Mother’s milk is naturally sterile and it protects the baby from many infections and diseases.
  • It is always available at right temperature, suitable for the child.
  • Mother’s milk contains- IgA ad lectoferrin, which is not available in such a high concentration if compared to any other milk. It helps to enhance immunity of the child against a variety of bacteria and thus protecting the infant from many diseases.
  • The various digestive enzymes that is present in human milk make it more suitable and easily digestible for the baby.
  • Milk lactose present in the milk inhibits growth of E. coli, and poliovirus, thus protecting the baby.

AYURVEDA AND BREASTFEEDING-

According to Ayurveda,breast-milk is Upadhatu of Rasadhatu and is directly influenced by the quality of Rasadhatu is produced by the food we eat.

That is why the mother’s diet is responsible for any health problems in the child.

Assessment of the quality of milk-

1. Take a drop of milk fall into a container of water and if it disperses then the milk is of good quality

2. If the milk Sinks-Heavy with Kapha (hence, Kapha provoking items have to be removed from the diet)

3. If the milk floats- Due to airy Vata (the child will pass gaseous stools and suffer from gripes).

Intake of Ayurvedic Formulation Dashmoolarishta will help in this case.

4. Yellowish tinge of the milk- This is because of Excessive Pitta.

Shatavari is the best herb in this case that should be given to the mother.

Useful Tips for lactating mother-

  • For scanty breast milk-Try the mixture of almond milk and herbs.
  • Soak 10 almonds in water for overnight. Then peel them, put them in a blender, add a cup of hot milk and puree them.
  • Pour the almond milk into a glass and stir in a pinch each of ginger powder, cardamom and saffron and a teaspoon of date sugar (available in most health food stores) or honey. Drink it two times a day i.e., morning and evening, to help strengthen the quality and quantity of your breast milk.
  • Women with pitta or kaphadoshas drink 3-4cups of pomegranate juice (available in most health food stores) daily to regulate lactation.Vata constitution women should avoid pomegranate juice as Vatadosha can get aggravated.
  • Shatavari Kalpa – It is a formulation very useful as ‘galactagogue’ for mothers after delivery. Using it on regular basis is very helpful in maintaining quality and quantity of milk.Powder of Shatavari should be taken in the dose of 1 GM daily along with milk to maintain the quality of lactation.
  • Other Formulations of Shatavari and Ashwagandha -ShatavariGhrita, AshvagandhadiChurna, etc., can also be taken for maintaining the quality as well as quantity of milk.
  • For the cases of cracked nipple, local application of ‘ShatadhoutaGhrita’ on the affected nipple is very useful.

PATHYA OR THINGS TO BE DONE??

  • The best diet for lactating mother should be simple and vegetarian diet.
  • Ghee and oils- Take these in adequate amount in order to subdue the vitiated VataDosha, which gets aggravated during the process of childbirth, nourishing of the traumatized tissues and improve digestion, facilitate the evacuation of bowels.
  • Start breastfeeding your baby immediately right after he/she is born.
  • Colostrum is the breastmilk produced during the first 2-3 days post-delivery. It is highly nutritious, provides protection and also sufficient for the baby.
  • In case of more milk secretion- Extra milk should be squeezed and discarded. If not discarded then there are chances of breast abscess due to congestion caused by extra milk.
  • Breast Feeding time should be after every two hours. Keep on trying even if the flow of the breastmilk appears to be slow or completely blocked.
  • Semi solid food should be started from the age of 4th month even if there is profuse milk secretion.
  • Exclusive Breast feeding- Give your baby only breastmilk till the he/she is 6 months old.
  • According to Ayurveda at 6monthAnnaprashan Samskara is done i.e., the first food item given to the child and it should be semi solid paste of well-cooked rice with sugar and cardamom.
  • Breast-feeding should be done till the age of 1year and then gradually stopped and replaced by the regular solid food.
  • The baby should be with the mother in the same bed. This is called ‘bedding -in’.
  • After taking a nice warm bath breastfeed your baby as it helps to improve the milk flow.
  • One should never delay or be punctual at the baby’s feeding time i.e.,even if your baby is not crying you should proceed as per the schedule for the feeding. it helps a lot in a long run.
  • Crying indicates the last and final sign of hunger. Other indications are your baby starts to push out his/her tongue; lick his/ her lips; bring his/her hand near the mouth and licks it; or opens the mouth in left and right directions.
  • Some studies have revealed that newborn babies take the feed better when they are wearing a clean and dry diaper i.e., they are more comfortable. It is advised to change the diaper before starting the feed.
  • Keep yourself and your baby clean- It is advisable to wash your hands and wipe the breast region with a damp cloth before and after each breast-feeding session. Sometimes baby’s health issues may be due to carelessness on your part.
  • Drink plenty of water– drink a glass of water, juice or any healthy hydrating fluid before breastfeeding as it increases your milk flow.
  • Instead of leaving your baby with a nanny and formula milk, your baby could always use the breast milk in bottle
  • Highly fibrous diet and healthy diet which include all sorts of proteins and vitamins should be followed in order to avoid constipation or gas in your baby’s stomach.
  • Drink milk regularly, less spicy diet as your breast milk may have slight taste of the food you eat. Your babies can also sense flavor and may dislike it.
  • One should learn the holding position before discharge from the maternity home. One should also learn how to store and express breast milk.

APATHYA OR NOT TO FOLLOW-

The milk secretion may decrease by the regular intake of the canned foods, hot, pungent, and spicy food recipes and it should be avoided.

  • The infection to the mother during lactation period can be easily transferred to the child so the exposure to polluted and infectious climatic conditions should be avoided.
  • Medication- Be Careful while taking drugs during lactation, since many drugs are excreted through the milk and might exert an adverse effect on the baby.
  • In the cases of breast abscess, when the milk is infected Breast-feeding should be stopped. Further squeezed out the milk and discard it to avoid further congestion.
  • If you are experiencing pain or sore nipples- Consult a doctor  regarding your problem and ask him/ her about the right ointment for your nipples, and meanwhile use a breast-shield.
  • Avoid eating any painkillers or medicine unless your doctor prescribes it
  • Your mood plays an important role in this process. Breastfeeding should be avoided when you are feeling angry or depressed. This is one of the most important tips that should not be ignored. The baby can sense low mood of the mother and this can directly impact your milk flow.
  • No Pre-lacteal feeds i.e. Don’t give glucose, jaggery, sugar, plain water or honey before the first breastfeed.
  • Do not give your baby gripe water, balkadu, glucose water or tonics for teething.
  • Never get too impressed with the convenience of any bottle-feeding mom or avoid bottle milk.
  • Avoid spicy food or strong flavored food items as it may affect the breast milk.