Home Health & Wellness 5 Precautions to Take While Breastfeeding

5 Precautions to Take While Breastfeeding

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Choosing to breastfeed your baby is a great decision that will support their health, and it’s important to take care of yourself during this time. Not only can you pass substances through your breast milk, but breastfeeding can take a toll on your body, especially if you’re stressed out or feeling under the weather.

Since breastfeeding can take a toll on your body and impact the health of you and your baby, here are five precautions to take.

Connect with a lactation consultant

The first and most important thing you can do is to consult with a lactation specialist to ensure you’re prepared to breastfeed and that you have the support you need if issues arise. For example, you might experience blocked milk ducts, or you may just need to know if you can take some cold medicine safely.

Breastfeeding and medication don’t always mix, but sometimes certain medicines are deemed safe to take. If you don’t know, especially if you’re a new mother, having a lactation consultant will give you peace of mind.

There are also other situations you may encounter where a lactation consultant can help, like if you need assistance learning how to pump or if you need advice on why your baby might not be eating much. These and many other situations are common, but nothing beats getting help from an expert.

Eat solid nutrition

In some cases, your baby can be noticeably affected by what you eat and drink, so it’s important to pay attention to your nutrition. You’ll want to avoid unhealthy foods, like fried food, fast food, and anything greasy or low-quality. This will support both you and your baby because your body needs quality fuel to produce milk.

A good place to start is a consultation with a nutritionist specializing in pediatrics. They can help you create a solid nutritional plan that will work for your specific needs and any dietary restrictions you may have.

Ideally, you’ll want to eat a little more than usual, around 300-400 additional calories per day. Nutrient-rich foods are recommended, like whole grain bread with peanut butter, bananas, apples, and yogurt. Eating lean protein, dairy, beans, and lentils are great options.

It’s said that since what you eat changes the flavor of your breast milk, it can help your baby accept solid foods later on, so it’s good to eat a variety of foods to support this process.

Avoid heating breast milk rapidly

The biggest material benefit of feeding your baby breast milk is the nutrients it contains, and that’s why it’s crucial to avoid heating the milk rapidly. When breast milk is heated on a stove, for example, the nutrients diminish. However, a more serious issue is that heating milk on a stove or in the microwave can create pockets of scalding milk that can burn your baby’s mouth.

To warm up the milk, simply create a bowl of warm water and place the bottle inside until it warms up to the right temperature. Alternatively, you can run the bottle under warm water, but it’s easier to just place it in a bowl.

Support your breasts

Naturally, since you’re going to be breastfeeding frequently, you can expect to have sore breasts and nipples periodically. You might find that wearing a supportive bra at night will help you stay comfortable and supported.

To prevent blocked milk ducts, it’s important to not wear underwire bras or restrictive clothing. This will also reduce the chances of infection.

Take care of your breasts, and if you aren’t sure how, talk to a lactation consultant about your situation.

Change your nursing pads

Anytime your nursing pads get wet, damp, or noticeably soiled, it’s time for a change. Additionally, you’ll want to take a shower every day, but don’t use soap on your nipples. If you do, it will remove the natural lubricant produced by the glands around your nipples, and that can contribute to dry and cracked nipples.

Have a plan for times when you may need help

Last, but not least, always have a plan for what you’ll do when you need help. If you’re a new mother, chances are you will need support periodically. Make sure you have your pediatrician’s phone number easily accessible. Just knowing who you’re going to call if the need arises will make you feel better.

Breastfeeding your baby is the best thing you can do to get them started in life, and it’s not always going to be easy. However, when you have a plan and a reliable pediatrician on your site, it will be a lot easier.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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