Every year, International Breastfeeding Week is observed from 1 st August to 7th August around the world. During this week, many medical colleges and hospitals encourage the importance of breastfeeding. Whether the child is born through normal or cesarean delivery, breastfeeding is very important within 1 hour of birth. This is called colostrum which is very important for the newborn. Mother’s milk is very important for the nutrition of the baby. It protects them from future infectious diseases and works as a vaccine for the newborn. Breastfeeding helps the mothers as well to deal with breast cancer, uterine cancer, postpartum depression and helps in postpartum weight gain.
To improve breastfeeding and milk production, it is important to focus on the diet for lactating mothers. Mother’s calorie requirement and nutrient uptake should be up to the mark. Breastfeeding mothers should consume 500 calories extra than a regular diet.
According to research, only 55 % of children are breastfed in the year 2020. This needs to increase to 65 % by 2025. So that, India can achieve the local goal of breastfeeding
According to WHO, 3 out of 5 children do not receive breastfeed during the initial 1 hour of birth.
The Exclusive Breastfeeding Rate (EBF) is improved from 46.%% to 56.9 %. Improvement is seen in urban areas This has reduced the mortality rate of newborns from diarrhea.
At Medicircle, we are presenting the Ask The Expert Series for health awareness to understand facts and find solutions related to them. We have come up with a series of Sehat Ki Baat, Karishma Ke Saath. Let’s interact with Expert Karishma Shah about Diet for Breastfeeding mothers
Karishma Shah is a Renowned Nutritionist and Plant Diet based Food Coach. She is also a Weight Loss Expert, Diabetes and PCOS Educator & Certified in Psychology of Eating
Dr. Saloni Pahwa is a Pediatrician and is associated with the SMC center. Her specialization is consultation, vaccination, and nebulization for newborn care and childhood infections. She is professionally trained and is a gold medalist at Wadia Hospital.
Veg V/s Nonveg food for breastfeeding mothers
Dr. Saloni Pahwa says, “It is recommended during pregnancy and lactation must ensure to have veg or nonveg food depending on their choice. They should ensure to have a home-based diet because it should be healthy. Breastfeeding mothers need additional healthy calories. In the case of non-veg, lean and white meat should be consumed. Avoid red meats so that there are no digestion problems, Organic home-based diet is the best option for breastfeeding mothers.
Hydration is also important by increasing the water and liquid intake up to 3.2 liters/day for adequate milk production. Healthy home-based diet is the key for breastfeeding mothers.”
Fluid intake for breastfeeding mothers
Dr. Saloni informs, “Normal adults should consume 9 - 10 cups of water in a day. This additionally increases to 13 - 16cups of water in a day.
Tips for Refrigeration of breast milk
Dr. Pahwa says, “Express breast milk can be kept for 6 hours at room temperature. Refrigerate Expressed breast milk can be kept for up to 24 hours. Breast milk can be kept in the freezer even up to 1 year.”
Calorie intake for breastfeeding mothers
Karishma Shah says, “The nutrition consumed by the lactating mother reaches the child in the form of breastfeeding through milk. Mothers need to take a healthy diet. To increase calorie intake for new mothers, it should come from healthy sources of food-
Lactogogues improves the quality and quantity of milk which are as follows-Oats Ragi which is rich in calcium Millets Jowar Grains
This should be included in the form of energy balls, porridge, and sheera. Do not increase calories with junk food like chocolates. Include proteins and carbohydrates with homemade food.
Allergies in babies
Dr. Pahwa says, “Breast milk allergy is unknown. The immunity from breast milk helps protect from allergies and infectious diseases. A child’s immunity is from the mother. Allergies occur usually after a certain period in a child when immunity takes over the body. The initial 6 months of breastfeeding lays down the foundation for the child’s immunity. If there is a genetic history of allergies like seasonal allergies, food color allergies, dust allergies, it becomes very important to breastfeed the child as this protects them from future allergies.
Milk-related allergies are usually cow-related protein allergies or dietary-related diseases after 1 year of age. If the child is exclusively breastfed till 6 months and supplementary breastfed till 1 year of age, it protects them for children. Lactose intolerance occurs after 2 years of age in children. Most children are born with lactose deficiency enzymes. Do not stop breastfeed in children and newborns as there is no related breastfeed milk allergy known. There are few conditions in which breast milk is contraindicated-Genetic disorder Metabolic disorder Glucose or lactose metabolism
Kindly continue breastfeeding your child as there is no allergy related to breast milk. The nutrients obtained from mother’s milk cannot be obtained from any formula.
Allergic reaction due to mother’s diet
When a mother is consuming Chinese or unhealthy food, the child may get gassy or colicky. But, there is no related allergy due to the mother's diet or breastmilk allergy found.
Foods to avoid while breastfeeding
Karishma states, “There are things which must be avoided-Caffeine intake- Limit it to 1 -2 cups a day Substance abuse like smoking and drinking Heaty products like papaya, dates, spicy food Methi seeds in form of energy balls can be included Avoid raw foods Eat cooked food
This results in acidity and bloating. This can cause acidic reactions in children. Indigestion can increase due to a lack of exercise. Try consuming water and a healthy liquid diet like-Lemon water Coconut water Kokum water Dhaniya water This helps the digestive system and keeps you hydrated “
Unable to breastfeed the baby - Here is the solution
Dr. Pahwa says, “There are milk banks as well available now. In the case of the mothers, who have extra milk production, they donate milk. So, you have the option of going to milk banks and getting humans to breastfeed for the baby if you can't breastfeed your child.
The second option is the milk formula.”
Advice from expert
Dr. Pahwa states, “Breastfeeding is not an individual responsibility. It is a shared responsibility and requires a lot of support. Breastfeeding is a tough job for mothers. There can be many problems like latching, sore nipples, and many issues. Encourage and support the new mother for breastfeeding. Relieve her from other responsibilities so that she can dedicate the time for breastfeeding her baby in the initial six months. Breastfeeding helps inChild’s development Nutrition Protection
Preparing yourself for a feeding program with your family. Be ready to learn and practice. It is family and community support for the proper development of a child. Be motivated the breastfeed a child for 1 year. ”
Karishma says, “Remember these points-Involve your family Beat the postpartum depression Create a support system in form of family Preparing for the comfort of mother Preparing for the upbringing of the child Reduce stress and pressure Reassurance to be “Back into action” Support at the right time Mental health care Create a space for open conversations Strong connection with baby
(Edited by Dr. Rati Parwani)