This Q & A has been compiled from a live chat conducted on BabyChakra with a Certified Professional Midwife and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, Dr Vijaya Krishnan on August 7, 2015. The questions therein, are actual questions asked by mothers.
Q: For natural mothers, if a mother doesn't have enough milk or is unwell or has breast sores can the baby be given formula milk?
A: Mothers who are unwell with the routine cough, cold and fever, make their own antibodies, which then trickles down to the baby, which is good for baby. Nipple sores - the cause is usually a bad latch - that needs to be seen and corrected by a good lactation consultant.
Q: When should milk supplement be given and which one
A: Honestly milk supplements are not needed. All milk supplements carry milk solids which are not great for baby's gut in the first year of life. It is much better to wean baby into other forms of food so baby can taste various tastes and textures, rather than putting the baby onto supplemental formula or cereals for that first year of life.
Q: So what is a good age to start offering alternate liquids like fruit juices or semi solids?
A: Fruit juices not recommended until at least for a year. Extremely sweet and are a cause for caries later on, as we cannot 'brush' babies
Q: What foods are recommended typically for first stage weaning at 5 months or so?
A: Semi solids or even solids in bitable, chewable quantities, fruits etc are better and help baby 'eat' like an adult and develop better eye hand skills, and eating habits for a lifetime. This can be started after baby can sit unsupported on her own. Any small bites of food, dahi, rice with daal, ragi, daal paani are good.
Q: And in absence of breastfeeding, when the baby has grown up on formula milk?
A: Solids only after 6 months. There are gaps in the baby's digestive tract that predisposes baby's lifetime allergies when we wean them earlier. Once babies get used to sweet taste, they do not want to taste vegetables and such. No sugar or sugar products and a very tiny amount of salt, if any is what is recommended for babies.
Q: What is the best way to wean a baby from mother's milk?
A: It is try and try. Some babies will wean easily. Others will take a lot of time. Telling baby 'no more doodh' or some such and offering other foods, a sipper of water to drink can be one way. Night time weaning is the hardest. There is a blog by Amanda McMahon called Attached Moms - check it out, there is great experiences of night time weaning there and maybe you can find some good advice.
Q: Is it ok to feed after a long gap?
A: Feeding after long gap is harder on both you and the baby. Baby is more used to the fast flow of the bottle or other foods so you offer.
Q: I have 10 months baby, I work for full time. So my breast milk has almost stopped now.
A: Yes if baby doesn't feed, it will stop.
Q: My baby is a bit addicted to feed. How can I make him stop?
A: Sometimes they want to soothe themselves, and they can do it only at the breast.
Q: Is it ok if I feed only in the morning and then in the evening after a long gap?
A: It is completely okay. Baby will still get the benefits of however much you are able to offer. The longer the baby breastfeeds - as in number of years, the better long term health benefits for both you and baby.
Find this interesting? Read the Part 1 of the Q&As from this Chat.