Still celebrating Breastfeeding Week 2019….
Q: Good day Dr. Ketch, please my question is…what supplements can a nursing mother take to enable free flow of breast milk? Is coffee good while breast-feeding?
A: How can we help mum to establish or re-establish breastfeeding? To answer that I’ll reproduce part of a post I had made on this subject.
Mum needs loads of support from her medical team (be that the nurses that provide support for lactation or the doctor who does same). This support can range from teaching her how to latch baby on properly to the doctor prescribing medications that encourage milk production. 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.
Effective breastfeeding requires loads of patience. You have to put baby to the breast as often as possible (at least every 3 hours) or failing that, use a breast pump to extract as much milk as possible. It is thought that some of the galactogogues ‘improve’ the taste of breast milk making the baby spend more time on the breast.
Remember that the sucking process/nipple stimulation encourages milk let-down. Being relaxed and thinking about you and your baby in a nice cozy environment, breastfeeding and bonding may also help this process along.
You may want to assume the regular position you used to adopt when baby was breastfeeding and ensure that baby gets skin to skin time with you. It may be easy for baby to immediately go back to breastfeeding, other times, it may take a while. You need to know when the baby is sucking and indeed whether he’s getting enough. Your baby should make at least six (6) wet nappies per day. If baby is not getting enough breast milk at the beginning of this process, you may have to supplement with formula. Use a cup and spoon to avoid nipple confusion.
Be sure that you are getting enough fluids yourself and eating nourishing foods.
Coffee and other foods and drinks that contain caffeine should, definitely be avoided when breastfeeding as much as possible. Caffeine in coffee energy drinks, some soft drinks etc. This makes the baby irritable and by extension, makes sleep difficult for the baby.
Other foods to avoid or limit their consumption while breast-feeding
Alcohol: This should be avoided at all costs.
Cigarette (yeah, yeah, I know it’s not food) should also be avoided as it reduces the production of breast milk.
If baby reacts to what the mother ate, efforts should be made to pinpoint what the mother ate before the incident started and then eliminating that from the diet to see if the diarrhea or allergy stops.
Make sure that you eat well: lots of fruits and vegetables and complex carbohydrates. Cut out the junk that will not help you achieve your weight loss goals and in addition have empty calories. In addition, drink sufficient fluids daily.
Be careful before taking any drug as most find their way into your baby.
For more on breastfeeding, please click on the links:
All the best!