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10 things you should NEVER do while breastfeeding

Birth control pills, pacifier and formula feeds -- here's a list of things to stay away from.

Breastfeeding is essential for your baby, and if you have decided to go ahead with it, you have advice pouring in on what to eat, how to hold your baby and much more to make it a smooth experience. However, there are times when unintentionally you can end up doing things that can affect lactation. Reduced milk supply is a matter of concern as it would mean less nutrition and lack of nourishment for your child. Here are few things that you should not do when breastfeeding:

Take birth control pills: While breastfeeding is thought to reduce the chances of conception but it isn t a foolproof method. So if you wish to take birth control pills, know that these pills can affect lactation to some extent. Some birth control pills are estrogen-only pills, and these can make a significant dip in your milk supply. However, for some mothers even the combination pills can have the same effect. So, it is best to know about other methods of contraception and practice the same. Here are eight methods of contraception to help you avoid unwanted pregnancy.

Resort to top feeds: Introducing top feeds or supplementation as early as four weeks can also have an effect on your milk production. Remember not all mothers might produce milk adequately during the initial days. What she might produce is colostrum, which is important for the baby s growth and development and it is essential for the baby to have this milk. More the baby breastfeeds, more milk will be produced by the milk glands, says Sonali Shivlani, international certified lactation expert. So supplementing your baby with top feeds early would mean signalling your breast to produce lesser milk. Here are 10 foods that can help you improve your milk supply.

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Consume over the counter medications: While you have a low immunity during pregnancy, remember your immunity doesn t get better right after childbirth. Suffering from seasonal cold and flu is common among new mothers. However, taking over-the-counter medications to treat cold and cough can make breastfeeding challenging. Some of these over the counter medications can suppress the milk ducts. This would mean less milk supply for your baby. Always consult a doctor for any minor or major ailment before taking medications, especially if you are breastfeeding. Here are 10 breastfeeding myths busted.

Make and stick to feeding 'schedules': Most lactation experts believe that demand feeding is one way to improve breastfeeding as this helps your breasts produce more milk as soon as it empties. However, some parents believe in having feeding schedules for their child, like feed every two hours or three hours throughout the day. This is another reason for a decline in breast milk supply. Unless your breasts are emptied by feeding your child, it doesn t get filled, and over the time your milk glands start to secrete less milk as you never use the stored milk appropriately. To ensure proper breast milk supply, feeding at least 10 to 12 times a day, during the first few weeks after birth is essential. Frequent feeding will help in improving breast milk supply, says Sonali. Here are five benefits of comfort suckling that you should know.

Introduce a pacifier: Parents who prefer to have a feeding schedule usually miss out on the feeding cues and give the baby a pacifier when she cries. Now this leads to nipple confusion. A baby suckles differently at the breast and the pacifier. Using the pacifier too often and for too long could make her suckle less at the breast. This would then mean less milk production and a decline in your supply over a period. Here are 10 things you should never buy for your baby.

Avoid feeds at night: Most Indian parents try to help the child sleep through the night rather than feeding at night. There is a limit to how much milk your breasts can store between two feeds. If you go without feeding your child for too long at night, your milk production will drop, says Sonali. Also, prolactin, the hormone that is associated with breast milk production, is secreted more at night, and so there is more milk production to meet your baby s needs. Even if you want to help your baby sleep throughout the night, two to three feeds are essential to help your breasts produce milk and give your baby the required nourishment. However, never overdo this; remember night time feeding can also lead to nursing caries in children.

Take too much stress: Breastfeeding has a soothing and calming effect on the mother, but postpartum depression can make it challenging. It could lead to stress and depression, making the cortisol levels go high. The stress hormone cortisol is known to be notorious in many ways and for new mothers it can lead to low breast milk supply. So keep calm and avoid stress to help your baby get proper nourishment. Here are eight ways breastfeeding helps the mother stay healthy.

Ignoring your health: Many women develop health conditions post pregnancy like diabetes, thyroid, hypertension, etc. If you have developed these problems during pregnancy, it is going to be difficult for you to tackle it post childbirth, unless you take medical help. Not taking care of your health will adversely affect your breast milk supply. Here s how you can prevent saggy breasts after breastfeeding.

Consuming certain herbs: Herbs like salvia, pudina and even other Ayurvedic concoctions, consumed for their health benefits, can affect your milk supply. So talk to your doctor once before going the natural way during your breastfeeding days.

Indulging in too much caffeine, alcohol or smoking: All your vices might definitely give you a temporary high but will harm your breastfeeding routine irreparably. This is because caffeine, alcohol and tobacco can all affect your milk supply adversely. All of these hinder your milk ducts from producing an adequate amount of milk for your child s requirements.

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