7 May 2013

Q&A's on Breastfeeding (Medical students)

1. Should I feed the baby every 3 hours?

For most babies, feeding should be ‘on-demand’ and not according to a fixed schedule. The baby can drink whenever and as long as he likes. In practice there will be some sort of pattern, but then again, it will change from time to time.

2. Should breastfeeding be interrupted if the mother has a cold or pharyngitis, or if she is prescribed an antibiotic or paracetamol?

Breastfeeding should continue! Unfortunately many mothers stop breastfeeding on the basis of incorrect medical advice. (There are a few drugs and antibiotics that are absolutely contraindicated in breastfeeding).

3. Should breastfeeding continue if the baby has an enteritis or is it better to switch to low-lactose formula?

Breastfeeding should continue uninterrupted. Low-lactose milk is not recommended in most cases of acute gastro-enteritis even for formula-fed infants.

4. How can you assess if a breast-fed infant is feeding sufficiently?

Wet nappies and stools; Baby’s behaviour (relaxed during feeding, satiated afterwards, alert and happy times between feeds); Weight gain.

5. Is it possible to give breast-milk to a premature infant?

Direct breast-feeding is impossible before 34 weeks because of the baby’s immature sucking and swallowing reflexes. Expressed breast-milk can be given via naso- or oro-gastric tube. Breast milk protects against NEC.

6. Is weight loss in the first days after birth a sign of breast-feeding failure?

Most babies loose about 5% of their birth-weight in the first 3 days of life. Birth weight is regained within one or two weeks, and the weight increases by 100 to 200g per week thereafter.

7. Is it normal for breastfeeding to be painful?

There may be some initial pain lasting for less than a minute. Persistent pain is usually caused by incorrect latching (attachment) and will soon lead to cracked and sore nipples. Thrush (candida) may also be a cause of pain.