If a child cries more often, many mothers, grandmothers or maidservants start assuming that the baby has been remaining hungry and is not getting enough breast milk. They often forget that a baby is not always crying due to hunger. She probably wants to be held and cuddled for more body contact. She may need to suckle the breast simply for comfort. She may have a wet nappy or colic or may be feeling hot or cold or just not feeling well.
A large number of mothers also start assuming wrongly that they are not producing enough milk if the child’s hand goes to her mouth and she starts sucking her fingers. The sucking is due to the rooting reflex. If anything touches the baby’s cheeks, including her own fingers, she tends to turn her mouth in that direction. This is called rooting.
Mothers also worry that the baby is not getting enough milk if she feeds for a prolonged period or if she finishes her breastfeed fast. Some babies are fast feeders; others are slow. Also, as babies grow older, they may finish the feed in a shorter time compared to the early days when they suckled for a longer periods.
Some mothers wrongly start assuming that they are not producing enough milk if the breasts feel soft. Congested breasts is a phenomenon of only the supply and demand of breast milk are well adjusted between the mother and the baby, the breasts should and do feel soft.
In any case, the mother should note the colour of the urine and count the number of times the baby passes urine and only then decide if her baby is getting enough milk or not.
Frequent suckling at the breast and not bottle feeding is more important to ensure adequate supply of breast milk than medicines to increase your milk output. Metoclopramide, given as a 10 mg tablet, 3 times a day, for 10 days or longer, may help to increase the milk supply. But make sure that the baby is not simultaneously fed with a bottle.
If the elders at home want you to take some special diet to increase your milk supply, you can do so.
Frequent suckling can provide enough milk for two babies. In short, one breast, when frequently emptied, can provide enough milk for one baby.
Premature babies who can swallow but cannot suckle are given expressed breast milk in a cup or a bondla/jhinuk. Our experience has convinced us that it is more practical to feed with an ordinary cup, small glass or a bondla (also called paladai) than with spoon. There is no risk of aspiration into the breathing passage in feeding with a small glass. The mother holds the baby in her lap, lifts the head higher than the rest of the body and gradually lets her take the glass.
Sometimes, if a baby is too weak to swallow, she is given expressed breast milk through a stomach tube.
It is important for the baby to start suckling at the breast as soon as she is able to do so.
Premature babies need more proteins. It is nature’s wonder that the breast milk of the mother who delivers prematurely has a higher protein content than a mother who delivers at full term.
Consult a lactation consultant for personalised advice. Look for one in your area.
Source: Book - Guide to Child Care by Dr R K Anand
To consult Dr R K Anand in person, click here
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