Breastfeeding is a special way to bond with your newborn. There are many health benefits to breast feeding your child, too. Not only can breastmilk help strengthen your baby’s immune system and help ward off bacteria, viruses, illnesses and allergies, but it can you help slim down following childbirth. However, when you’re breastfeeding your child, it’s important to keep in mind that what you consume can get passed to your baby through breast milk. That’s why it’s important to avoid things like alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine throughout the breastfeeding phase.
The same rule applies to drugs and medications. While most medications are safe to take when you’re breastfeeding, certain medications can have adverse health effects on you or your baby, even if the same medications were considered safe for you to take throughout pregnancy.
Consult with your physician or child’s pediatrician before taking drugs of any kind, regardless of whether they’re over-the-counter or prescription drugs. To learn more about breastfeeding safety and about whether certain medications are safe for you and your baby, make an appointment with Women’s Care Florida today.
Today, the long-term effects of certain medications on your baby when you’re breastfeeding remain unknown. For this reason, try to take medications only when completely necessary, and limit yourself to the lowest recommended dose for the shortest period of time. This can help lower the risk for serious side effects on both you and your baby.
Use short-acting vs long-acting medications
Short-acting medications are those that are eliminated by your body relatively quickly. When possible, ask your doctor to prescribe short-acting medications, and ask about alternative treatments if long-acting medications are your only option.
When taking short-acting meds, take them immediately following a nursing session so the drugs can leave your system before the next nursing session. On the other hand, take long-acting meds just before your baby’s longest nap or sleep session to significantly lower the risk for adverse side effects.
Monitor your baby for reactions
After taking medications of any kind, monitor your baby closely to look for unusual reactions, such as extreme irritability or drows-iness, skin rashes, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive crying. Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if you notice one or more of these symptoms after they’ve been exposed to your medication through breast milk.
Consider expressing and storing breast milk
If your physician prescribes a long-acting drug, or a drug that could cause harm to your baby, consider expressing and storing your milk supply until you’re done taking the medication, or until the medication has completely left your system. Consult with your doctor about how long certain medications will take to leave your body, and ask for assistance from a lactation consultant if you need help expressing breast milk.
Talk to your doctor before starting birth control
Certain types of birth control pills with high doses of estrogen can decrease your milk supply and interfere with breastfeeding. Consult with your doctor before starting birth control to confirm the medication you’re taking won’t affect breastfeeding in any way. Alternately, consider using condoms, a diaphragm, or another birth control method that won’t interfere with your milk supply.
Want to learn more about breastfeeding and its health benefits for you and baby? The board-certified physicians at Women’s Care Florida offer comprehensive obstetrical services and are dedicated to providing the gold-star standard in women’s healthcare. Contact WCF to schedule an appointment and to learn more about how we can help you and your baby.
Human breast milk is typically high in nutrition, and offers more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients than most commercial baby formulas. To maintain the consistency and quality of your breast milk, you must eat healthy, whole foods that provide your body — and its milk — the nutrients it needs to help your baby stay strong and healthy.
The physical demands of caring for an infant require you to eat well so you can maintain energy levels and lower your risk for illness. Behaviors such as skipping meals, failing to eat the right foods, and drinking too little water can have adverse effects on your milk supply, and on your own health.
Here’s what you need to know about the link between nutrition and breastfeeding:
Making milk requires extra energy and calories
The bodies of nursing mothers must work harder to produce milk, which means you’ll be burning more energy and calories as a result. Listen to your body’s hunger cues, and eat whenever you feel hungry.
Protein is important for breast milk production
Women who breastfeed usually require nearly twice the amount of protein as non-pregnant women who aren’t nursing. Plus, protein helps maximize your breast milk supply. Consume more protein from healthy, lean sources, such as beans, lentils, poultry, and fish.
Whole foods are the best nutrient sources
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy products are loaded with valuable nutrients that benefit both you and your baby. Avoid consuming boxed, processed foods while nursing, and increase your intake of healthy whole foods.
Caffeine can make your baby irritable
Put off drinking caffeinated beverages throughout nursing, and stick to drinking water instead. Caffeine can make its way into breast milk and make your baby cranky and irritable; plus, it dehydrates your body and impacts milk supply. Focus on drinking more water throughout the day to flush out waste and keep your body hydrated.
Talk to your OB-GYN about developing a healthy, balanced meal plan that works best for you. Women’s Care Florida is devoted to helping you and your baby benefit from breastfeeding. Contact us today to make an appointment, and to learn more about our women’s health services.