All you need to know about breastfeeding

4-240x240Dr. Zinal Unadkat is a Lactation Consultant at Hinduja Hospital and Seven Hills Hospital. After 11 years of experience, she has developed a passion in helping mothers breastfeed. She has conducted various workshops with WHO AND UNICEF under the guidance of BPNI Maharastra.

Dr. Unadkat provides consultation to breastfeeding mothers with low milk supply, nipple problems and abnormalities, engorgement, mastitis, breast abscess, low birth weight and preterm babies, tongue tie, breast refusal, twins, working mothers and relactation.

Dr. Zinal Unadkat answered Sify readers’ queries related to the above in an exclusive chat.

Read the transcript below.

Will breastfeeding also help me get back to shape?
Yes. Very much.

What kind of exercises can I do when I am breastfeeding?
If you have had a normal delivery you can start walking upto 6 weeks and yoir choice of workout after 3 months but do not do something very intense. Do care about your diet and food intake when you are breastfeeding.

Is it true that that the main bond between mother and child begins and grows with breastfeeding?
Yes ofcourse!! Father can develop a bond with skin to skin contact.

Can a low birth weight boy achieve a normal height as an adult?
There is a possibility if the nutritional and micro nutrients requirement is taken care of.

Till when do we need to keep the low birth baby boy under medical supervision?
Till the baby reaches 2.5 kgs of weight and confidentially feeding on the breast.

We have a new member- a baby boy in our family recently but he is a lower than the normal weight. How can we ensure a normal growth for the low weight birth baby?
Most of the babies with low birth weight do catch up in their growth at par with the other babies within a year. with exclusive breast feeding for 6 completed months and giving the baby a lot of skin to skin contact and fulfilling the baby’s emotional needs.

What are the best foods for her because she is breastfeeding and any foods that she should avoid?
Ideally she should be eating more of natural foods like fruits and vegetables and homemade stuff without preservatives and colors. She should avoid the foods she is allergic to.

Building on the immunity with natural foods is very important to combat her allergies.

She also has some food allergies. Hope this wont get transferred to the baby through breast milk?
Ideally it doesn’t but milk energy can get transferred. In case the baby has some signs of allergy please consult the doctor.

My sis-in-law after breastfeeding her baby develops soar nipples.How can she prevent nipples from soaring?
Soar nipples is caused by improper latch. She need to correct the baby’s position and latch.

She can apply few drops of her later part of milk on nipples to sooth them. Airing of the nipples is very important in between the phase. Use of Lanolin ointments helps.

Hey Dr Unadkat. Does the menstrual cycle get affected or discontinued for a few months by breastfeeding?
Ideally No. It is related to pregnancy and not breastfeeding.

Is it fine to breastfeed a kid of 3yrs and 2 months?
Yes of course as long as he wants it or as long as you want it. It will help him increase his immunity.

What do I need to do from now or how can I prepare myself for healthy breastfeeding?
You need to be very optimistic and focused on your complete well being. Every mother v can breast feed. So don’t worry.

I have 3-4 cups of coffee/tea daily. Is caffeine bad for mothers to be? How many cups can I have?
Ideally excess of anything is bad. Limit yourself to maximum 2 cups of caffeine in a day.

I am 37yrs female recently married. Planning a baby very soon. I use to smoke and even take alcohol occasionally. But I have stopped now. Will it still have some adverse effects on pregnancy or my baby?
Ideally No. You should have a healthy smoke free and alcohol free life atleast 6 months before you plan to conceive. You should not be consuming these during your pregnancy. Please consult your gynaec for supplements like folic acid which you need to take before you plan a baby.

Low birth weight is related to lower intelligence, behavioural problems and even diabetes and weight gain as the child grows older. How true is this?
Low birth weight lower behavioral or intellect problems but diabetes is not related. Weight gain could be lifestyle relate or over pampering.

What might be reasons if the baby is not premature and has low birth weight?
Intrauterine growth retardation due to under nourishment, improper pregnancy care or any infection in the mother. Even smoking and alcohol can cause it.

Is it that all premature babies have lower birth weight?
Normal human pregnancy is of 40 weeks and other mammals have 18 months .So if anybody delivers before the destined time on all parameters the baby is weak including the weight.So it depends on how premature the baby is but weight is not hte most important criteria.

Hello. We have a family history of premature babies except one or two births. So is there no way to treat this?
The reason of prematurity could be different in every woman of a family. The best is to find out what that reason is and take good rest being in support with the obstetrician and prevent a premature birth.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding apart from nutrition for the mother?
Breastfeeding helps you lose weight and get fitter. On an average if you breastfeed 24/7 you lose 500 calories and 34gms of fat. IT ALSO PROTECTS YOU FROM ANEMIA, OSTEOPOROSIS AND CERVICAL AND UTERINE CANCER. The most important advantage nfor a woman is the bonding and emotional connect which breast feeding gives.

What kind of treatments are there for brain damage in infants or kids?
Treatment could be medical or surgical showing the kind of damage it is. Some hemorrhages and tumors need surgery. Some need intervention in the form shunts. But these babies need to assessed by pediatric neurologists or neurosurgeons before we decide the line of treatment.

Till what age is the treatment possible for brain damage in a kid?
Most of the brain damages if happened in pregnancy or during delivery are irreversible. But medications , patient therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy with a positive environment with a doctor’s support can help in the rehabilitation of that child and good outcome..

What can be the reasons for the retarded growth of brain in infants?
It could be maternal infection, intrauterine growth retardation, prolonged delivery, birth asphyxia, hypothyroidism or in congenital disorders. So the reason could be different in every baby. So evaluation of the baby to reach to the cause is important.

My brother-in-law’s 7yr old son does not talk completely but only utters a few words. His wife is soon going to deliver their second child. They are both worried about their second child brain development. Any advice Madam?
You need to get that child’s hearing and speech assessment done and to see the mental and intellectual age of that child. The second baby may or may not be affected. Please consult the an expert.

I m pregnant 7 months. Am under medical supervision but needed your opinion on how can I prepare myself for the newborn ?
Most important preparation is the mental preparation that you welcome the new baby in your world. You have to readjust and revamp your lifestyle, your schedules, your work to be with the baby. The baby needs you and your time. Eat healthy and be in a positive frame of mind.

Are there different methods to induce lactation?
Yes. The different mehgtods are: 1 Stimulation of the breast 2. Stimulation plus herbs 3. Stimulation plus herbs plus medications. For medications there are various standardized protocols which have to be followed under the supervision of the lactation consultant.

1-240x240 (4)Till what age is it possible for a mother to breast feed her adoptive child?
Till whenever she and baby wants. More the stimulation more the milk. So the key is to keep feeding the baby more often.

My husband and I are planning to adopt a baby girl soon. I am 44yrs female. I am aware that it is possible for me to breastfeed my baby if we get an infant. But how?
It is called as induced lactation. It is very much possible to breastfeed your adoptive baby. You just need face to face session with the lactation consultant.

Any advice on the care of my breasts till I breastfeed my baby?
Just take care of the hygiene and just enjoy it.

For how long will I need to breastfeed my baby?
Till your baby wants but till a minimum of 2 completed years.

Hi I have delivered a baby girl. She is 10weeks old. What is your advice for her to keep her healthy?
Continue exclusive breastfeeding till your baby completes 6 months and then continue atleast till 2 yrs of her age and introduce healthy home made nutritious food once she is 6 months old.

What other tests or examinations are done as the baby grows? Till how long do the tests go on?
Ideally what all tests are to be done the pediatrician attending to your baby decides so trust your doctor and follow the advises given. Every child is different.

Does the screening examination carry some kind of risk for the baby?

How do screening examinations help?
Screening helps in picking up any disease or congenital abnormalities which the babies are born with but not visible at the outset. For eg: heart disease, G-6-PD Deficiency or hypothyroidism.

Why new born health examinations are generally carried within 72 hours of birth?
Because certain disorders like physiological RH Incompatible jaundice or a heart disease or thyroid, are picked up within 72 hrs or birth.

I do not gain weight whatever I might eat. Will my skinniness come in the way of my child’s health?

I am 31yrs married female and too skinny M’am. Have minimal breasts. I am worried that whenever I get pregnant how will I breastfeed my child? Guide please.
All women have same no. of milk ducts in their breast irrespective of the size of the breast. So skinniness or weight never interferes in your or baby’s health but you need to have a healthy diet whenever you are pregnant.

How should we work on taking the right care of our newborn baby?
A mother should be following her instincts and gut feeling to raise babies. All that baby needs is love and warmth.

My wife will be delivering her first baby next month. What all should I remember as a father to the newborn child?
The most important is to support and encourage your wife to go through labour though painful but is beautiful experience. Th father should learn to give skin to skin contact to make the baby feel emotionally secure and wanted. You also need to communicate and talk to your baby. Babies understand what we talk.