Breastfeeding Safety

Breastfeeding Safety

A woman who is breastfeeding should take certainactions to protect her baby. Food, medicines, and activitiessuch as smokingmay affect the nursing child.

What is the information for this topic?

When a woman is breastfeeding, many substances thatenter her body can also travel through her breast milk to her child. Here aresome common safety concerns with breastfeeding:

Risks the Breastfeeding Woman ShouldAvoid

  • Alcoholpasses easily through breast milk to the nursing child. The more alcohol a womanconsumes, the greater its effect on the baby. Having a drink once in awhile is fine,but larger amounts of alcohol can make the baby drowsy. Try to limit alcohol intaketo just after nursing, rather than just before.
  • A baby may inherit food allergiesfrom the mother or father. Breast milk contains substances that coat thebaby’s intestines to keep allergens from getting into the bloodstream.As a result, breastfeeding can lessen the baby’s chance of becoming sensitized tofood. If the baby does develop a food allergy,the mother can stop eating foods that are common triggers for allergies. Thesefoods include dairy products, shellfish, wheat, and nuts.
  • If a breastfed baby has sleep problems, a nursing mother may want tothink about decreasing her caffeine intake. When the mother drinkscaffeine,a small amount of it passes into the breast milk. The caffeine maybuild up in the baby’s body.
  • Most medicines have not been tested in nursing women. So no one knowsjust how safe many medicines may be for the breastfed child. Experts do believethat most over-the-counter and prescription medicines are safe if taken in moderationand only when needed. Street drugs and herbal remediescan be passed to the baby through breast milk and shouldbe avoided. To be sure, a breastfeeding mother should talk with her baby’sdoctor before taking any medicines.
  • There are some medicines a nursing mother may take that are known tobe harmful for her baby. They include: bromocriptine, chemotherapy, ergotamine,lithium, and methotrexate. If a woman needs to take these for a short time whilenursing, she should pump her breasts and throw out the milk so that she keepsup her supply. Meanwhile, the baby can drink formula or previously frozen breastmilk.
  • If a mother smokes,her baby may be fussy and have vomiting or diarrhea. Women whosmoke produce less breast milk, and they often wean their babies sooner.The more cigarettes the woman smokes, the greater the effect on the baby.Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk forpneumonia,bronchitis, andSIDS. Peoplewho must smoke should do so away from the baby.
  • The new mother should wait to start a weight-loss program until at least6 weeks after delivery. During this early period, it is key that her baby gets a highlevel of nutrients from her breast milk. After that, it is usually OK to focus ongradual weight loss, while making sure to balance a healthy diet withmoderate exercise.
  • Silicone breast implants should not keep a mother from breastfeedingher baby. But if the implants leak, some experts believe there could be arisk to the baby. Further study is needed on this issue. If a woman withimplants wishes to breastfeed, she should talk with her doctor first.
  • Activities That Are Safe Forthe Breastfeeding Woman

  • The mother can, and should, start exercising 6 weeks after her baby’sbirth. It’s best to start with mild aerobic exercise and build up a little at a time overa few weeks.
  • It’s safe for the mother to have a permanent or dye her hair during themonths she is breastfeeding the baby.
  • In general, it’s fine for a woman who is sick to continue nursing herbaby. In fact, her breast milk will contain antibodies to her illness that willhelp protect the baby from catching the illness. However, the mothershould check with the doctor to make sure thatthe medicines and treatments she takes for the illness are safe for her child.
  • Healthy Nutrition Leads to Success in Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding mothers need a healthy, balanced diet.They should eat a variety of foods at regular mealtimes. Nutritioussnacks are best for between meals. Breastfeeding mothers needextra calories but should be careful not to overeat. Some keyguidelines for nutrition include:

  • choosing low-fat or nonfat dairy products
  • drinking at least 2 to 3 quarts of fluid each day
  • eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • eating protein-rich foods, such as legumes, poultry, fish, and lean meat
  • including healthy whole-grain foods in the diet
  • A woman who is breastfeeding has a significantly higherdaily requirement for most vitamins and minerals. Breastfeeding mothersshould continue to take prenatal vitamins daily.

    Breastfeeding is good for both mother and baby. Breast fedinfants are less likely to have allergies,stomach infections, middle ear infections,upper respiratory infections,and pneumonia.Women who breastfeed also reduce their risk for premenopausalbreast cancer,ovarian cancer,and osteoporosis.Breastfeeding also helps the mother to form a strong bonding relationship with her newbaby.

    Article type: xmedgeneral