Mugdha Joshi answers all your lac­ta­tion queries

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Dr Mugdha Joshi is a BHMS, MSCDFSM, CNCC, PGCPDN, & In­ter­na­tional Board Cer­ti­fied Lac­ta­tion Con­sul­tant (IBCLC). She is also a qual­i­fied Ho­moeopath & Nu­tri­tion­ist, spe­cialised in Pe­di­atric Nu­tri­tion. She also con­ducts Pre­na­tal Breast­feed­ing Classes and is open to home-vis­its and video con­sul­ta­tions. She’s the founder of Health4urChild and Green­moms In­dia.

Ev­ery Au­gust, the first seven days of the month are cel­e­brated as World Breast­feed­ing Week, which aims to high­light the huge benefits that breast­feed­ing can bring to both the health and wel­fare of ba­bies, as well as a wider push for ma­ter­nal health, fo­cus­ing on good nu­tri­tion, poverty re­duc­tion and food se­cu­rity. The theme for World Breast­feed­ing Week 2018 is ‘Breast­feed­ing: Foun­da­tion of Life.’ Breast­feed­ing is a uni­ver­sal solution that lev­els the play­ing field, giv­ing ev­ery­one a fair start in life. It im­proves the health, well-be­ing and sur­vival of women and chil­dren around the world. A plethora of stud­ies have shown the stark health im­prove­ments brought about by breast­feed­ing around the world. Breast­feed­ing your baby is the per­fect gift you can give your baby. It’s na­ture’s way of nur­tur­ing the child. Breast milk is much more than food. It’s po­tent medicine and, si­mul­ta­ne­ously, a pow­er­ful medium of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween mothers and their ba­bies. It is cus­tom-made by each mom and changes over time to meet her baby’s needs. It’s as­ton­ish­ing. Dr Grantly Dick-Read, a Bri­tish ob­ste­tri­cian and a leading ad­vo­cate of nat­u­ral birth, rightly said, “A new­born has only three de­mands. They are, warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts and se­cu­rity in the knowl­edge of her pres­ence. Breast­feed­ing sat­is­fies all three.” It’s no se­cret that breast­feed­ing can present some chal­lenges for moms, es­pe­cially at the be­gin­ning. Sore nip­ples, ba­bies who won’t latch, milk sup­ply wor­ries, ba­bies who scream any­time they are near the nip­ple — the list goes on. Many peo­ple, even some doc­tors, won­der what there is to learn about breast­feed­ing. If a mother has milk, she can breast­feed and one who has less sup­ply will need to sup­ple­ment. Gen­uine low sup­ply is­sue is seen in less than five per cent of mothers around the world. But many mothers may strug­gle to feel con­fi­dent in their bodies’ abil­ity to pro­duce milk. Ba­bies who are for­mula fed, typ­i­cally space out feed­ings or sleep longer be­tween feed­ings as com­pared to those ba­bies fed breast­milk be­cause non-hu­man milk is dif­fi­cult for ba­bies to digest. Mothers may per­ceive the need to breast­feed more of­ten, es­pe­cially through the night, as a sign that their milk is not ad­e­quate, ei­ther in qual­ity or quan­tity. This may lead to early, un­nec­es­sary sup­ple­men­ta­tion, which may then be fol­lowed by a real de­crease in milk pro­duc­tion; the baby stays asleep longer while break­ing down the less-di­gestible pro­teins in a breast milk sub­sti­tute, and the mother’s body does not re­ceive the sig­nal that more milk needs to be made. Re­mem­ber, the more the stim­u­la­tion on the breast, the more is the milk sup­ply. Breast­feed­ing is 90 per cent de­ter­mi­na­tion and 10 per cent milk pro­duc­tion. Though breast­feed­ing is said to be beau­ti­ful and nat­u­ral, at times it can be frus­trat­ing. But, don’t give up and keep on try­ing. You may not get it at first, but it is some­thing that you and your baby learn to do to­gether. Re­mem­ber, breast­feed­ing is like a new job. It’s hard in the be­gin­ning, gets eas­ier with prac­tice and in the end, will pro­vide you with ex­pe­ri­ences that last a life­time.

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