Archive for the ‘ Parenting ’ Category

Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

Are you a first-time mother? Motherhood is a roller coaster ride of emotions: you’re pleased and happy for your baby’s arrival, but you’re also fatigued, sleep-deprived, and overwhelmed by your new routine. The challenges of motherhood often replace the challenges of pregnancy. The mental and physical trauma of a difficult labor, lack of sleep and difficulty breastfeeding can take a toll on your health. The World Breastfeeding Week 2021 aims to encourage and support breastfeeding mothers and babies. Let us protect breastfeeding and consider it a shared responsibility. Good nutrition, adequate sleep, help from family and lactation experts are the key to a successful breastfeeding journey.

While many women believe that nursing comes easy to everyone, this isn’t always the case. Hectic lifestyles, poor work-life balance, stress, and unhealthy food plans are just a few of the variables that might make nursing difficult. However, with the right support and guidance you can overcome the initial breastfeeding challenges. Persistence and patience will help you sail through the breastfeeding journey smoothly.

Successful Breastfeeding

Here is a look at some useful tips from experts that help start a fulfilling breastfeeding journey:

  • Breastfeed within 1 hour of birth
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Eat a nourishing diet
  • Rest well
  • Stay hydrated
  • Keep trying and do not lose hope
  • Ask for help

While it’s fine to ask your friends and family for advice, don’t compare your breastfeeding experience to theirs. Every woman is different, and your ability to breastfeed is influenced by numerous factors.

Benefits of Breastfeeding – Mother & Baby

Breast milk is the best food for babies in the first year of life. Here are a few health benefits for babies:

  • Breast milk has hormones and the right amount of protein, sugar, fat and most vitamins to help your baby grow and develop.
  • It has antibodies that help protect your baby from many illnesses like ear, respiratory or diarrhoeal infections.
  • Breast milk is easy to digest reducing the risk of colic, gas and digestive discomfort in babies.
  • Breast milk has fatty acids, like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), that may help your baby’s brain and eyes develop.
  • Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk for sudden infant death syndrome (also called SIDS).
  • Breast milk changes as your baby grows giving your baby the right nutrition at the right time. The initial days after giving birth, your breasts make a thick discharge known as colostrum – this is highly nutritious and fully of antibodies for your new born. After a few days it changes to breast milk.

Know How Breastfeeding Benefits New Moms:

  • It increases the amount of oxytocin hormone that helps your uterus contract.
  • It burns extra calories helping you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
  • It may help lower your risk for diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • It can help you bond with your baby.

Most Common Breastfeeding Problems

Most women experience some breastfeeding discomfort during the initial days. Most of them can be easily solved with timely guidance. Here are the most common obstacles:

  • Breast infections:
    An infection is often characterized by a lump or soreness in the breast tissue. Mothers can experience yellowish discharge from the nipples, as well as flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and body aches. The breasts can also be warm or hot to the touch. If the pain and fever persists, contact your doctor for further assistance.
  • Cracked or sore nipples:
    Improper positioning and poor latching can lead to cracked or sore nipples. Try changing your nursing position or using a topical cream to alleviate pain.
  • Engorgement:
    This is a build-up of milk can cause your breasts to become hard and painful. Mothers should stay on a regular schedule to empty breasts, expelling milk through a pump or manually. Also, placing a warm or cool compress on the breast will encourage blood flow and reduce soreness.
  • Latching issues:
    A child may frequently latch-on and let go of the breast or resist nursing all together. When a baby is unable to remove milk from the breast, it can result in low weight and a significant drop in milk production. Meet a lactation consultant for further help.
  • Leaking:
    An inconsistent feeding routine can lead to unexpected leakage. This occurs when milk is released without stimulation from a child. Try to follow a regular feeding schedule and use disposable nursing pads if required.
  • Plugged ducts:
    When a milk duct fails to drain properly, it can become inflamed and clogged with fluid. Frequent breastfeeding (up to every two hours), can relieve pressure from the affected duct. Also, be sure to massage the area and wear loose comfortable clothes.

Breastfeeding Support

Do you have trouble with correct latching, suffer from pain during nursing or have other doubts? Help from medical professionals can be invaluable for breastfeeding. Don’t give up, but get informative and comforting guidance from an expert.  Meet highly experienced lactation consultants at our Centre for Mother & Child. Our team offers supportive guidance to breastfeeding mothers online and offline. Please find below link for further information:

World Breastfeeding Week

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

1st to 7th August 2020 is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week. The theme for 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional, and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months for your newborn and continued breastfeeding for two years as a supplement along with other foods. Breast milk has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. There is nothing better for the health of your baby.

Nutrients in Breast Milk
The following is a brief overview of the components of breast milk and the nutrients they provide for your baby:

  • Proteins
    Human milk contains two types of proteins: whey and casein.  Approximately 60% is whey, while 40% is casein. This balance of the proteins allows for quick and easy digestion. 
  • Fats
    Human milk also contains fats that are essential for the health of your baby.  It is necessary for the brain, retina, and nervous system development.
  • Vitamins
    Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, and pantothenic acid can be found in breast milk at levels that depend on the mother’s diet.
  • Carbohydrates
    Lactose is the primary carbohydrate found in human milk.  It accounts for approximately 40% of the total calories provided by breast milk. Lactose helps to decrease a large number of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach.

Breastfeeding – Benefits for your baby

Know why breast is best for your baby:

Breastfeeding protects your baby
Breast milk is full of live ingredients, including stem cells, white blood cells, and beneficial bacteria, antibodies, enzymes, and hormones, which all help fight infection and prevent disease. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, colds, and flu as well as ear and chest infections.

Premature babies
Feeding your baby your milk offers the best protection against potentially fatal conditions including sepsis, chronic lung disease and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). 

Colostrum: the superfood for your baby
Colostrum the initial thick breast milk is rich in minerals like magnesium; which supports your baby’s heart and bones; and copper and zinc, which help develop their immune system.  

Helps your Baby sleep
Research shows that breastfed and formula-fed babies are just as likely to wake for milk during the night. However, breastfed babies get back to sleep sooner due to oxytocin hormone present in breast milk.

Brain development
Research suggests that children who’d been exclusively breastfed show a much higher cognitive development than children who have not been breastfed.

Benefits for the mother

Helps contract your uterus
When you breastfeed, it causes your body to release oxytocin, a calming chemical sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” and it helps your uterus to contract back to its regular size.

It can help reduce the risk for PPD
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 10 to 15 percent of new moms and brings feelings of sadness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and trouble bonding with their babies. Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of Postpartum depression.

It could reduce your cancer risk
When you’re breastfeeding, your hormones are altered and your periods are delayed. This reduces your exposure to oestrogen hormone and lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding can protect your heart
Women who breastfed for at least four months had 20 to 30 percent lower risks for hypertension and heart disease.

Breastfeeding Myths and Facts

There are many myths and facts associated with breastfeeding especially passed on from elders. Let us bust these myths and facts:

Myth: Many mothers can’t produce enough milk
Fact: Almost all mothers produce the right amount of milk for their babies. Breast milk production is determined by how well the baby latches and the frequency of breastfeeding.

Myth: You shouldn’t breastfeed if you’re sick
Fact: In most illnesses, the mother can continue breastfeeding. Your milk will produce antibodies to pass on to your child to build his or her defenses. 

Myth: You should eat bland food while breastfeeding
Fact: Breastfeeding has no food restrictions. Mothers must follow a healthy well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.

Myth: It’s hard to wean a baby if you breastfeed for more than a year
Fact: There’s no evidence that it is more difficult to stop breastfeeding after one year, but there is evidence that breastfeeding up to two years is beneficial for both mothers and children.

Breastfeeding in India

Only 54.9 % of children under the age of six months have been exclusively breastfed, according to the latest National Health and Family Survey (NHFS-4). For the healthy growth of a child, the child must be breastfed and consume no other solid or liquid food until the infant completes six months. The latest survey also shows that 56% of the rural children below six months were exclusively breastfed, while it was only 52.1% amongst urban children.

Are you a new mom? Are you struggling with your breastfeeding journey with little help in these difficult times? Breastfeeding needs support, care and timely guidance by an expert. Seek help from lactation consultants virtually at our Centre for Mother and Child from the safety of your home. Please find below the link to book your online appointment:

Parenting in the times of CoVid Lockdown

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

With the nation-wide lockdown firmly in place, families are struggling with having their children at home all day. Happily, for many, school exams are cancelled and the pressure to study has been taken away for now. Yet for some the spectre of summer exams still looms.

Here are a few important things to remember now, and to take with you for the future.

  • IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Parenting during these times has taken on a whole new meaning with 24×7 access to social media. A barrage of WhatsApp messages telling of websites and apps that will not only keep your child busy but will also energise his/her brain on holiday. For parents who are already struggling to keep children busy, are these forwards helping?  Maybe, maybe not.
  • DISCIPLINE – For a child, some things should be non-negotiable e.g. food timings, study schedules, daily exercise, and proper behaviour. Let the child figure out the rest. Rigid formats can be a wet blanket. Not everything gets done every day, but let the child decide the schedules and how to get each of the activities done, based upon their preference.
  • COMPASSION – Allow your children to use this time to explore as they please. This could be a golden period that they might never get again.  Don’t be very strict about all the rules, all the time, about what they should do through the day.
  • DO THINGS FUN – Then there are the things you can do together for fun, like cooking, playing video games or indoor board games. Reading out stories to them, if the children are very small, is also a good way of spending time with them
  • SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY – Teach them about social responsibility, by telling them, that we are staying home for the good of the nation and its people, and not just our loved ones.
  • DO NOT COMPARE – We expect too much of ourselves – cut yourself some slack. Don’t constantly compare yourself or your child to others. No one is a perfect parent!
  • TURN OFF THE CONSTANT ADVICE – ignore advice that doesn’t sit right with you, or that you simply don’t have the energy to follow! Do what you think is best for you.
  • ALLOW THE CHILDREN TO GUIDE YOU –Allow children to be happy in their own way. Ask your child what they need to feel happy. Letting your children being a part of some of your decisions lets them know that what they think and feel matters to you. Seeing the children happy is one of the best feelings in the world!
  • TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST – If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t look after anyone else. The same is true now, and always. Your emotional reserve needs to be functioning at its highest level so you can be there for your children when they really need you. Taking time out for yourself in order to avoid over-committing and over-extending is also a really good habit to demonstrate to your children. Children learn from not only what the parents say, but also by watching what they do. Happy Healthy Parents make Happy Healthy Children.
  • WELCOME THE NEW GENERATION – Generation Z is the post-Millennial generation defined as those born at or after the turn of this century. It should definitely be easier for Generation Z to stay indoors and be connected via the virtual world than the previous generations. Generation Z is different from previous generations in that they are more global and diverse. They have countless platforms and channels where Generation Z can connect and contribute.  Humanity has always looked to its youth for innovation, but today it’s happening faster and more frequent than ever before. As technology and connectivity rapidly evolves, so will the emerging generations.

-This blog is written by Dr. Shaunak Ajinkya, Consultant, Psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Read his entire profile at: