Q: Hello Dr. Thanks for the wonderful works you’re doing on social media. Please, in addition to breast milk, what can I give to my 3 months old son because my wife is finding it difficult to cope with her business
A: Congratulations on your new baby!
Breast milk is the best food for baby for the first six months, generally speaking. I’m a great advocate and will be telling you how your wife can make it work. The supply of breast milk is based on its demand. And so, if demand for it is high, supply will be high and vice versa. The more efficiently milk is removed from the breast, the more milk production is stimulated. And so, there needs to be a conscious effort to get baby to suck more.
If your baby sucks, the let-down reflex ensures that your wife’s breast fills up with breast milk. Flat nipples can appear to be a challenge for breast feeding, especially for first time mothers but remember that babies are supposed to latch on to the areola (the black area surrounding the nipples) and not on to the nipples. Your wife should try pressing on the areola with thumb on top and fingers underneath and push back against her chest wall while pressing in with her thumb and fingers. This helps elongate the areola and so, provided she positions the baby properly on the areola, breast feeding can go on with no issues.
Here are other tips that could help increase milk supply:
- Be sure that baby is attached properly and get him to suckle on the breast very often. Remember that breast milk production is a function of the breast milk let down reflex which is activated when baby sucks.
- If she can find a private space within her office/business space where she can express milk, encourage her to go for it.
- Let her increase the number of feeds per day. She could work with a timetable of a feed every 2 to 3 hours. In her case, as many times as is possible when she gets back from the office.
- She should switch breasts during a mealtime. Let the first breast ‘empty’ before switching baby to the other breast. This can be repeated several times during a feed.
- She should massage her breast and stroke towards the baby
- Perhaps over the weekend, let her room in with your baby and get him to feed as much as possible. The letdown reflex will be greatly stimulated and so, she could even pump some for when she will be at work and freeze.
Personally, I found that using my hands to ‘milk’ my breasts produced sufficient amounts of breast milk for my always-hungry-can’t-seem-to-get-enough-food-baby. She may want to try that.
Drugs and foods that encourage milk production are called galactogogues. A number of local foods have been touted to help eg Pap (akamu, ogi), green leafy veggies like spinach, oats, garlic and ginger, nuts like almonds etc Go ahead and try out what works for you.
I hope y’all had a great day!