After a sombre year, people all over the world are finally ushering in the festive season with more joy and hope. For many, it will also be the first time they see their extended families and loved ones in over a year. Family gatherings obviously come with feasting, food and drink, however, if you are breastfeeding your baby, then there are some foods that you might want to steer clear of.
The key to a good breastfeeding diet is simply to be on a nutritious and healthy meal plan. After the rigorous process of watching what they eat, new mothers can finally relax and eat almost everything they had to give up for nine months. But this must be done in careful moderation because a newborn baby's diet is still entirely dependent on their mother's milk. Hence, it is important to make sure that mothers eat meals that are rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin D.
The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is long, but thankfully breastfeeding moms can eat almost anything as long it is in moderation. The following foods should be consumed in small amounts if a woman is breastfeeding.
All food items with alcohol and caffeine content should be kept to a bare minimum. Alcohol especially is tricky, because even after having waited for 2-3 hours after the consumption of a drink, a baby can be exposed to it through breast milk, and this could potentially harm an infant's development, growth, and sleep patterns. And as for caffeine, while it is much safer than alcohol, it is recommended that nursing mothers limit their intake to about 300 milligrams per day.
Chocolate can be included back in the diet, as long as it is consumed in small quantities. This is because chocolate does contain theobromine, which is a stimulant and there is a small possibility of it leading to a breastfed infant being restless and fussy. Since any nutrient from the food the mother consumes gets transformed into breast milk, care should be taken to consume avoidable food items in very small amounts.
Stress producing foods or high calorific foods should be avoided: Carbonated beverages, Caffeine, packaged fruit juices with excess sugar, Peppermint or gums, salad dressings with high sodium should be completely avoided. Processed foods are quick and easy to prepare especially when you have a baby.
However, these foods contain preservatives and additives that are toxic for the baby which should be avoided. An expecting mother is suggested to get proper rest and keep stress at bay. While postpartum stress affects many new mothers, experts suggest that managing stress and anxiety is crucial to the well-being of both the mother and her infant. Stress may lead to reduced lactation and breastfeeding issues.
Avoid binge-eating during this time, despite the erratic hours that new parents are bound to experience. Carbonated drinks and junk food cravings should be substituted with healthier food options like nuts and fruits.(Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics, Fitness & Nutrition Expert)
Read More► Negative Calorie Food
According to the World Health Organisation, breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. However, nearly two out of three infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months a rate that has not improved in 2 decades.
Shelly Singh, the Senior Consultant at Rosewalk Hospital, shares why breastfeeding is crucial for both mother and child.
There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and baby, some of which extend lifelong. The biggest reason is that nature intended it this way. Breast milk contains just the right amount of macro and micronutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties and antibodies from the mom.
The mother's mature immune system prepares antibodies against common microbes and these antibodies are released in the mother's milk. They coat the lining of the baby's gastrointestinal system and protect them against illnesses, often for life. Moreover, breast milk at the right temperature is not infected, unlike bottles and nipples, which could often be infected if not handled with care.
Breastfeeding mothers lose weight sooner than those who don't breastfeed. They burn around 500 extra calories per day and become fitter earlier. The uterus of breastfeeding moms contracts and returns to its pre-pregnant size earlier as well. Blood loss following delivery is also less due to the same reason. There are lesser chances of anaemia and urinary tract infection in breastfeeding mothers. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers.
As the mom bonds with the baby with this skin to skin contact, there are happy hormones that are released which leads to less chances of postpartum blues and depression. There is a greater feeling of self-esteem and confidence which is emotionally rewarding. Breastfed babies cry less and this shapes their behaviour for life. These mothers are able to read their babies' cues more and tend to be more relaxed.
Whatever be the financial status of the woman and household, breastfeeding is less expensive and safer than formula feed.
Benefits to The Baby
Babies whose moms breastfeed them have less diarrhoea, constipation, gastroenteritis and preterm necrotising enterocolitis. They have a stronger respiratory system and fewer chances of colds, pneumonia and other related illnesses. There are lesser chances of ear infections like otitis media and of infections like bacterial meningitis, and eye infections. They are also likely to have better vision.
These babies will grow up to be healthier children in later years too with less likelihood of allergies, asthma, eczema, obesity, childhood diabetes and will have a host of other advantages.
So Why Not Breastfeed?
The obvious benefits are healthier, fitter moms with fitter, emotionally balanced babies and children, physically and mentally sound for a lifetime. And, it is a more pocket-friendly, eco-friendly and natural option, resulting in a win-win practice. Give up the thought of the bottle and give your baby that nectar.
Read More► How to Deal With 'Long Covid-19' in Kids
Jakarta, June 30 (IANS) Indonesia has launched a Covid-19 vaccination program for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and children aged 12 to 18, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin announced here.In his announcement on Tuesday, Amin said he welcomed the vaccine rollout for the above mentioned categories, who are all listed as vulnerable to Covid-19, adding that inoculation is a game changer in dealing with the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.Since the entry of the more contagious Delta variant, the number of Covid-19 infected children in the Southeast Asian country has increased by 12.5 per cent, according to data provided by the Indonesian Pediatrician Association.Indonesia's national agency of drug and food control BPOM recently allowed the emergency use of the Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 17 at a medium dose. Meanwhile, the Indonesian association of obstetrics and gynecology POGI recommended Covid-19 vaccination for pregnant women, especially those with high risk of being exposed. In a statement on June 26, President Joko Widodo had announced that Indonesia has set a target of administering two million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine daily in August in efforts to curb the surge in the number of new cases.He attributed the ongoing resurgence to the highly contagious Delta, Alpha and Beta variants.Indonesia has administered 36,581,555 Covid vaccines till date, including 12.91 million second doses.Since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. the country has registered a total of 2,156,465, with 58,024 deaths.The pandemic has spread to all of Indonesia's 34 provinces.--IANSksk/
New York, April 12 (IANS) Women who breastfeed more during their reproductive years are less likely to gain weight and build up fat around their abdomen or around the heart, and thus lower their risk of cardiovascular diseases, according to a study.
Various studies over the years have demonstrated that women who breastfeed have a lower risk for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But the mechanisms behind these risks were not fully understood.
The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, focussed on the presence of excess fat, specifically visceral and pericardial fat in lactating women for 30 years.
"After accounting for lifestyle behaviours and other risk factors across the life course, the lower visceral and pericardial fat among women with longer lactation persisted," said Erica P. Gunderson, Professor at the Kaiser Permanente's Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine in the US.
"... yes, breastfeeding more is actually beneficial to a woman's health and can help to prevent cardiovascular disease," said Duke Appiah, Assistant Professor at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Centre in the US.
Visceral fat is typically stored within the abdominal cavity near the stomach, liver and intestines. It can potentially increase the risk of developing heart attacks, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, breast and colorectal cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Pericardial fat is a deposit of fatty tissue located on the outside of the heart, and also may influence certain cardiovascular conditions.
Because these fats are related to insulin production and other cardio metabolic factors, weight change could influence the relationship between breastfeeding and these fats. An increase in pericardial fat also puts additional weight on the heart and can affect its contractivity, or how it beats, which also could influence other cardiovascular diseases, the researchers noted.
For the study, Appiah used a long-term study of cardiovascular disease that includes more than 5,000 adult women who were aged 18 to 30 years. The participants were monitored for more than 30 years.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants, and it provides protection against many illnesses. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat -- everything your baby needs to grow. The benefits of breastfeeding, skin to skin contact and rooming in of a new-born with the mother in most cases, far outweighs the small risk of contracting neonatal Corona infection from the mother, writes Dr Sudheshna Ray, Consultant Obstetric and Gynaecologist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai.
"This is especially true for developing countries like India. Neonatal death in India is caused mainly from malnutrition and bacterial or other fatal viral infections. Top feeds increase the risk of infection as it needs a substantial care on sterilization and handling support. Moreover, Top feeding is expensive," Dr Ray adds.
Most importantly it can never match the immune agents that are present in BM for short and long term immunity to new-borns and toddlers. It is highly likely that if a Covid positive mother has already developed antibodies towards the virus in her blood, those would be carried to the baby through the breastmilk which itself can be protective to the breastfed infants.
She informs: "We do not know whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via breast milk, but the limited data available suggest this is not likely to be a source of transmission. The likelihood of infection is more through handling of the baby and direct droplet spread while feeding. This needs to be minimised by taking adequate precautions like strict hand hygiene, maternal protective masks which are well fitted and properly handled, minimum handling of the baby and distancing when not feeding. If possible, expressed breast milk should be fed to the infant by a healthy caregiver, who is not at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19."
The precautions that a COVID positive mother should take during breastfeeding
Washing hands before breastfeeding or handling the baby for at least 20 seconds.
Coughing or sneezing in tissue and disposing it off immediately and also sanitizing/cleaning hands after it. <br>Sanitiser should have 60 percent alcohol
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces which comes in touch with mother
Wearing masks while breastfeeding or handling the baby whenever possible (in case it is not available, WHO still recommends to breastfeed the baby as benefits outweigh the risks)
There is no need to wash breast before every breastfeed. In case mother has just coughed over her exposed breast/chest then she should gently wash the breast/chest with soap and water for at least 20 seconds prior to feeding
Another way of feeding the baby could be pumping out the breast milk from the mother and send it across to the baby and feed the baby by a spoonor tube feed
As per Dr Ray, breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers as well. It forms a special bond between mother and the new-born baby. Breastfeeding also decreases health risks like breast cancer and ovarian cancer. It even burns extra calories and helps many mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight.
"New mothers need to be given proper guidelines by their respective doctors. New mothers should also keep in mind all the social distancing norms and avoid celebrating the child's birth with a large gathering of people as the risk of the baby contracting the virus from others is more likely than contracting it through breastfeeding.
The WHO says that breastfeeding may protect the new-born baby's health and thus should be continued. However, it is important for new mothers to maintain respiratory hygiene, hand hygiene and cleaning of surfaces. Breastfeeding must be encouraged for all mothers including those who are Covid positive," concludes the expert.
New York, April 19 (IANS) During the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, breastfeeding and the provision of human milk to infants is recommended by national and international organisations because it is effective against infectious diseases-- It strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother, say researchers.While the current coronavirus continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.In the study, published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania provides guidance regarding breastfeeding and COVID-19 and reaffirms why it is of paramount importance to promote and protect the use of human milk and breastfeeding."While it is unknown if COVID-19-positive mothers can transmit the virus through milk, in limited studies the virus has not been detected in human milk," said study author Diane Lynn Spatz from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.According to the researchers, during this current pandemic, there have been reports of formula shortages and price gouging the cost of infant formula. "We should use this pandemic as a way to increase the visibility of the critical role of human milk and breastfeeding for all families at all times and educate the public about the importance of the use of human milk and breastfeeding as lifesaving medical interventions," She added.The World Health Organisation has advised that mothers with any symptoms who are breastfeeding or practising skin-to-skin contact should take precautions."Practice respiratory hygiene, including during feeding. If you have respiratory symptoms such as being short of breath, use a medical mask when near your child," the WHO said.--IANSbu/na
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