cosdoc

Over the years there are certain questions that young mothers ask again and again. There are many myths associated with rearing a baby. Some are harmless while many can have dangerous effects on the baby. In this blog I will attempt to answer some of these questions.
A newborn baby needs to be kept warm specially in the winter months. Appropriate clothing is needed. It should be one layer of clothes more than what the mother is wearing. A cap is very useful. Wrap the baby well but not too tightly. Give the baby room to breathe and move. Temperature of the room should be comfortable for the mother. I find that we tend to make the room too warm, at times even suffocating!
There is just one milk that we can give to the baby. That is mother’s milk straight from the mother’s breast. Everything else is a poor substitute. The baby should be put on the breast as soon as possible after the delivery and then fed every two hours thereafter. This is one aspect of post delivery problems that cause maximum confusion. Very often a bottle is started because the mother is exhausted or in pain following a caesarian. This should be abandoned as soon as possible. The young mother needs help to get the baby to latch on and an experienced nurse could assist. If a top feed is unavoidable a katorie and spoon is better than a feeding bottle. But this too should be abandoned as soon as the mother is able to nurse. The baby should be fed every 2 to 4 hours on demand. Indeed establishing exclusive breast feeding after birth is very important. The baby should be exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months.
Bathe the baby daily. This is good advice for the mother too!! All too often mothers are told not too take a bath for many days and massaged with ghee resulting in unpleasant odour. I often hear of babies being bathed with milk. This is a bad idea. Plain water is good enough with maybe a little soap in the skin folds. The baby should be bathed by the family members and not by a so called expert nursemaid. Firstly these ladies are untrained and bring with them a lot of strange myths and practices. One such practice is to squeeze the breast nodule that every full term baby has in an effort to extract milk which they say is poison. This is complete nonsense. The injury caused by squeezing of leads the the formation of a breast abscess that would need antibiotics and at times even an incision and drainage. The general hygiene of these nurse maids is also suspect and they may be carrying all kinds of diseases. So handing over the most vulnerable member of our family to a stranger is not a good idea.
Breast Feed
For the first 6 months milk is the best feed for the baby. Of all kinds of milk obviously breast feed is the best. There is no close second. Every effort should be made to keep the infant breast fed in the first 6 months. There are some points that one must know
Breast milk is the right composition.
It is always fresh when suckled from the breast.
It is always the right temperature
It is always sterile
It is always available
It contains antibodies which protect the infant from infections
It contains DHA which is important for brain growth of the infant
It costs nothing.
Breast feeding protects the mother too by reducing the chance of breast cancer
The biggest stimulus for secretion of breast milk is emptying of the breast by the infant. Therefore it is important not to satisfy the baby’s hunger with a top feed because the baby will not make an effort to empty the breast and breast milk will dry up. Very often the mother gets self doubt about the quantity of milk she is producing. This further gets reinforced by well meaning relatives who encourage her to start a top feed. The breast milk then begins to dry up and her doubt becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The only indicator of insufficient milk is improper weight gain of the baby. It is not excessive crying or rooting by the baby which is merely a reflex. Since no one wants to deal with a crying infant some know all suggests a top feed and soon multiple top feeds reinforcing the prophecy.
In today’s life when many mothers are working it is not always possible to be with the baby for 6 months Breast milk can be pumped out and stored in a refrigerator in sterile feeding bottles and can be used up to 24 hours later. Therefore if the mother is unavailable throughout the day a sufficient number of expressed breast milk feeds should be left for the infant. The bottle containing the stored milk can be stood in a container of warm water until the milk reaches body temperature which can be tested by allowing a drop to fall on the back of the hand.
Care of breast to ensure successful breast feeding
This can start from the third trimester of pregnancy .Sometimes nipples are inverted and effort should be made to evert them using gentle suction. The obstetrician can help enumerate the techniques. The male partner’s help can be enlisted. After birth the infant should be encouraged to latch on properly. Sometimes the nipples become sore and may develop cuts. To prevent this the nipple should be dabbed with lanolin or creams such as nipcare or Massey after feeding the baby these can be removed before the next feed with a boiled cotton soaked in plain boiled water .Care should be taken to not use soap or drying substances around the nipples to prevent cracks. Lastly if cracks do develop they are painful and the infant should be fed through a sterilized nipple shield.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>