Maternal health

My nipples are sore and/or cracked and I have been suggested to reduce the duration of breastfeeds to allow them to heal. Will this solve my problem?

NO! The problem can be solved by correcting the cause which created it - normally a sub-optimal latch. Reducing the lenght of feeds will not help and might severely compromise your milk supply and your baby's growth. A lactation expert can help you identify the cause of your problem and correct it.

I have been diagnosed breast infection (mastitis): can I continue breastfeeding?

YES! You can and you should. Breastfeeding not only is safe in case of breast infection but will also helpyou heal faster. Frequent emptying of the infected breast is very important. Consider having your baby's latching checked by a specialist to make sure he/she can empty your breasts effectively. A shallow latch might be partially responsible for the breast infection: ineffective emptying of breasts can lead to engorgements - untreated engorgements can lead to mastitis.

I have got a flu. Can I breastfeed?

YES! You can and you should. You baby has in any case been exposed to the pathogens responsible for your flu. Your milk will provide him/her the immunity factors needed to fight the germs and protect him/her against the disease. Breastfed babies do not fall sick or they catch a much lighter form of the disease compared to non-breastfed ones.

What about other communicable diseases? It breastfeeding safe?

Breastfeeding is safe with most of the common communicable diseases, as the child has been in any case exposed to the pathogens responsible for your disease and breastmilk will give him/her immunity protection. Nevertheless different protocols exist for different communicable diseases and these can vary according to a particular mother and child's specific circumstances (eg: child's overall health status, gestational age, etc.): in case of any communicable disease other than simple flu/cold you should ask a doctor and a lactation consultant's advise in order to evaluate the safety of breastfeeding in your individual case and select the medications which are most compatible with breastfeeding.

I am on medications for a specific health problem and the doctor advised me to stop breastfeeding. What should I do?

Nowadays we can select from a pretty wide variety of medications for the same health problem. When a prescribed medication is not compatible with breastfeeding there is normally at least one alternative which will not be harmful to your baby. Before giving up the benefits of breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant and ask her to help you find alternatives to your current medication. She will consult your own doctor and your child's pediatrist and evaluate with them costs and benefits of several options in order to select the medication which will help you the most without affecting your baby.

What should a breastfeeding mother eat in order to keep herself and her baby healthy?

A wide variety of healthy, locally grown, seasonal, fresh foods: plently of fruits and vegetables, grains, protein rich foods like pulses, eggs, a bit of dairies (if well tollerated by the child), fish and poultry (if the mother is not vegetarian), small quantity of fats. Always better not to exceed with sugars. Avoid junk food. A normal healthy diet with a little extra caloric intake is all that is needed.

Do I need to take a multivitamin complex while breastfeeding?

No. A varied, balanced diet, rich of fresh and seasonal foods normally sufficies.

Should I drink a lot of milk in order to produce milk?

NO! There is no connection between the milk you drink and the milk you produce. Dairies are indeed the most common cause of allergies and intolerances in newborn children: better limiting their consumption.