Having a newborn baby is stressful and overwhelming, sometimes leading the mom to engage in things that might affect lactation. Breastfeeding seems so natural and easy, but most moms find it hard - especially first-time mommies, who may not know about certain no-no's.
However, both the mom and the baby get accustomed to the process over time. Many may not know that there are several vices and cravings that a new mom cannot overindulge in while she is breastfeeding her baby.
Breastfeeding is essential for a new-born because breastmilk is the only source of food for the baby. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months due to the many benefits associated with breast milk. These include antibiotic properties that assist in fighting infections and it also plays a big role in the formation of stronger bones in infants due to its calcium properties. It can also help mom shed the extra baby weight and breastfeeding is therefore beneficial to both the mom and the baby.
Yes, indulging in some mommy wine time or anything else might help to take the edge off, but is it really worth it? Will the baby be affected if you overdo it? Overdoing these 15 things while breastfeeding will definitely make your baby sick and we are sure that this is something you don’t want to happen.
15 Pumping Has Its Risks
Some moms opt to pump milk for their young ones, probably because they have busy schedules that do not allow them to come home to feed the baby.
However, the American Journal of Public Health recently released a commentary listing the dangers of pumping.
One is that when a baby is exclusively fed from the bottle, he doesn’t learn how to feed naturally and tends to overfeed, which in turn causes sickness. Storing the milk will also break down the immunological lipids and cells contained in it. The milk further collects contaminants because it comes into contact with foreign objects before it gets to the baby’s mouth and while thawing the milk, key nutrients are also lost.
Babies fed by the bottle have a greater tendency of getting ear infections due to the posture they stay in while they feed. Some scientists claim that pumping and feeding a baby on formula is one and the same thing because neither gives the nutrients or the comfort that breastfeeding does.
14 Using Artificial Sweeteners
You’re definitely longing to get back into shape now that your baby is here. You want that pre-baby body and since going to the gym isn’t really a good idea at the moment, you decide that a shortcut won’t really hurt. Before you drink that diet pop or use an artificial sweetener in your diet, you need to consider the impact it might have on your baby.
A mom could assume that as long as she uses the sugar substitutes conservatively, there can be no side effects. However, the sugar substitute is sugar nonetheless and substitutes have not been regulated under the present food standards because they can cause health issues.
You should, therefore, tone down the guzzling intake of that sugary stuff to prevent exposure of the substance to your baby. Most people prefer Aspartame to saccharine since the latter crosses over in high amounts to the baby. The best solution is to quench your thirst with healthier options such as juice, water, or milk, which reaps nutritional benefits for both mom and baby.
13 Getting A Tattoo
Sounds absurd! This is the weirdest decision to make while breastfeeding. Plus, how many artists out there will even agree to tattoo a breastfeeding mom? Probably none! A mom could be so excited and contemplate tattooing her baby’s name on her arm, but before you rush, it might not be the best idea.
If the mom desperately needs the tattoo, she has to either quit breastfeeding.
This is because there are risks associated with getting a tattoo while you breastfeed and they are dangerous. One thing is that your body could repel the ink, causing an infection and this will, in turn, weaken both the mom’s and the baby’s immune system.
Hepatitis and HIV cannot be ruled out and can be passed to your baby. Another risk is that the mom could develop an allergic reaction that stalls milk production completely. This is definitely not worth the risk and a mom should wait until the baby no longer breastfeeds.
12 Drinking Too Many Cups Of Jo
A cup of coffee can be what a mom needs after many sleepless nights due to the baby crying. One cup of coffee is fine; however, there’s a limit to the amount of caffeine a breastfeeding mom should ingest. Most doctors advise that caffeine is taken with caution when a mom is pregnant and as she breastfeeds. Caffeine is contained in black tea, decaf coffee, and chocolate, which has enough caffeine to cause trouble for babies sensitive to caffeine, primarily in the abdomen.
Babies who are caffeine-sensitive are usually overactive, fussy, cry a lot and have trouble sleeping. They also display colic symptoms, have acid reflux, and are wide-eyed. Another side effect is that the baby will not nurse well, therefore affecting the mom’s milk supply. The milk supply will, in turn, go down with time due to reduced breastfeeding. While caffeine may be your miracle worker, it will probably bring out the worst in your infant.
11 Disregarding The Risk Of Mercury
The majority of healthcare organizations advise that breastfeeding moms have fish in their diet, but it is important to remember that not all fish is safe. Some contain high levels of mercury, which can be dangerous for your baby.
Mercury is a chemical stored in the fatty tissues of various fish, including mackerel, shark, and tilefish that originates from the Gulf of Mexico. However tilapia, salmon, Pollock, cod, catfish and canned tuna are safe for breastfeeding moms to consume and they contain protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming fish with high mercury content can cause damage to a baby’s nervous system since the mercury is transferred through breast milk to the baby.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that the adverse effects that are associated with consuming fish with high mercury levels could include fetal neuro-development, a fatal stroke, and serious coronary heart disease.
It is therefore advisable for a mom to get information on which fish are safe to consume while breastfeeding the baby.
10 Too Much Stress
Bringing up your bundle of joy is probably not going as you’d planned and there are a lot of factors that can cause stress during this not-so-easy period. However, you need to do your best to relax. Too much stress can affect both the mom and child. Stress can alter breastfeeding in two ways: the milk contents and the milk supply. If a mom is stressed, she releases adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. These hormones will have an adverse effect on the mom’s body and emotions over time.
Stress will not affect the mom’s milk supply directly. This is because milk production is determined by how often the infant feeds. Stress will, however, indirectly affect the milk supply if a mom doesn’t take the time to eat well, drink adequate water or lack the time to feed her baby at regular intervals. A breastfeeding mom should relax and first focus on her baby.
9 Taking Over-The-Counter Medication
We have all been culprits of over the counter drugs. Besides, our society is what we can refer as overmedicated. Drugs are not so hard to come by and every time you have a cold or a cough, you rush to the drug store. Pregnant women’s immunity goes down and it probably won’t get back to normal right after childbirth and it could take some time. New moms will, therefore, experience the usual seasonal colds and flu from time to time. Such a bummer!
Taking over-the-counter drugs will seem like an easy solution to get rid of cold symptoms. However, as much as the drugs are meant to treat that cold, they will make breastfeeding difficult. Some of these drugs will stifle the mom’s milk ducts, therefore affecting the baby’s milk supply. It is important to always talk to your doctor for either a major or minor ailment before you take any over-the-counter drugs, especially while you are breastfeeding.
In addition, a mom should notify her doctor that she is breastfeeding before he prescribes any medication.
8 Eating Certain Fruits And Veggies
Fruits and veggies are essential to a breastfeeding mom’s diet and most moms are encouraged to eat a lot of fruits and veggies for both their benefit and the baby’s. However, not all fruits and veggies are safe and next time you’re shopping look for fruits such as strawberries, pineapple, kiwis, citrus fruits, prunes, and cherries. Vegetables to stay away from include onions, broccoli, sprouts, green peppers, brussel sprout, cabbage, and cauliflower.
If you have to eat the vegetables, cook them. This is because their raw state can be quite bothersome to your young one. These fruits and vegetables cause the baby to have a case of colic or gas. This can be characterized by excessive crying by your baby due to gas and rejection to feed. This will eventually dry up your milk supply forcing you to resort to the bottle. If possible, avoid these fruits and veggies.
Your baby could also be having an allergic reaction that can be characterized by diarrhea, congestion, and eczema. The reaction is probably caused by the food items eaten by the mom and she can use trial and error to nail the culprit harming her baby.
7 Feeding A Friend’s Baby
Talk about helping a friend in need! Recently, according to abc7ny.com, the Internet went berserk after a woman posted a photo breastfeeding both her son and her friend’s son. The caption further read that the mom has been feeding her 16-month-old son and her friend’s 18-month-old son for around a year. She further expresses her love for the “milk siblings,” calling it a special bond between the three of them.
Granted, the mom was just being a good friend. However, there are risks involved when you make a decision to feed babies that are not yours.
Each mom’s milk has been specially formulated to satisfy the needs of her infant.
Sickness, disease, bacteria, and infection can be passed easily from the breastfeeding woman to the baby. It is therefore important that you consult your doctor about such an important decision, and request that your friend provide her medical history before she begins breastfeeding your young one.
6 The Untouchables
This is a no-brainer. Drug use and addiction are society’s curse and it would be dumb to assume that they have no negative impact on a momma’s health. However, not all drugs are notorious for uniform danger to either unborn or nursing babies, but some are particularly concerning and dangerous. Meth, for instance, is very dangerous and a mom who abuses certain substances should NEVER breastfeed.
These substances will cross over into the breast milk causing agitation, crying, and fussiness. As if that’s not bad enough, the precise ingredients used to make these are usually unknown and most probably poisonous by nature.
A mom was once charged with murder for breastfeeding her newborn while on a certain illicit substance, and the baby died. For its part, the white stuff will negatively impact milk production, cause tremors, hypothermia, hypertension and agitation in breastfed babies. The green plant is classified as a hard drug and despite minimal testing on the drug, it is best to restrain from smoking it while breastfeeding.
5 Exposure To Lead
According to CNN, the Flint, Michigan lead water catastrophe was infamous for bringing home the drastic effects of lead exposure, especially to the most susceptible to include infants, both nursing and pregnant women, children and the ailing or elderly.
Infants and kids enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) are routinely checked for lead, but a ton of others never get tested.
Lead is an earth metal that can cross into our food, air or water supply.
On sight, Flint’s water looked tainted; however, lead isn’t necessarily visible, cannot be tasted or smelled. Any mom concerned that she could have been exposed to the metal should be tested and her lead levels will determine whether it is safe to breastfeed her baby or not.
In the meantime, a mom can pump and dispose of the milk until the lead levels have reduced to a point where it is safe to breastfeed the baby. Routine checks and follow-ups are essential for both the mom and baby.
4 Mommy Time
You may have been waiting for what seems like forever to get back to your glass of wine. So, now that your baby is here, a little wine won’t hurt, or so you think. Breastfeeding mothers should not drink in excess since the baby’s liver is not yet mature and the alcohol takes time to metabolize. Alcohol will freely move from a mom’s breast milk to the infant.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends minimal drinking and no heavy or habitual drinking. Once a mom nurses, that is the best time to indulge in a glass of wine since the alcohol will get out of her system before the next feeding session. A mom can also pump milk right before drinking the alcohol.
The alcohol will cause weakness, partial weight gain, drowsiness, slowed motor development, fatigue and a clashing mother-baby interaction since the baby will sleep a lot. So, before you go back to the bottle, consider the side effects it may have on your newborn.
3 The Appetite Suppressor
Smoking is a tough habit to stay away from. A puff can probably relax your mind, but smoking by breastfeeding mother’s changes baby’s sleeping patterns. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which can be easily passed through breast milk from a mom to her baby. Secondhand smoke on the other hand, will affect the infant’s respiratory system, increasing the chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Another side effect of smoking is that cigarettes leave a smoky nicotine smell and taste that expose the baby to cigarette smoking at a tender age.
Smoking significantly lowers iodine and vitamin C levels, increasing the risk of iodine insufficiency, vitamin inadequacy and induced brain damage.
Cancer.org advises women to quit, but if that is completely impossible, they should not discontinue breastfeeding since it still reduces the risk of SIDS and other respiratory diseases.
If a mom has to smoke, she should do it away from the baby and immediately change her clothes to prevent infant exposure to secondary smoke. If a mom can’t kick smoking to the curb, she can see a doctor who can provide alternative solutions to help with her addiction.
2 Stay Away From Supplementing
A supplement or a cup of herbal tea is probably your idea of a mood swing or memory solution. It may never even cross your mind that it could be a red flag for your breastfeeding baby, but it should. Herbal remedies and supplements do not require a medical prescription. Nonetheless, they are drugs and any drug has to be carefully considered since you can easily find it at your local pharmacy.
St. John's Wort, for instance, is a natural remedy that most people use for curing depression. However, the herb should not be used by breastfeeding mothers.
Gingko is another supplement that breastfeeding mothers should keep their hands off.
Herbal tea is used by some women as a substitute for caffeinated tea and it is safe to consume herbal teas found on grocery store shelves. However, it is best to steer away from those found in health food stores due to their extreme amount of specific herbs, which may cause problems for nursing infants. It is advisable to first seek a medical practitioner’s go ahead.
1 Not Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding may seem like a walk in the park and despite moms enjoying the process, many factors prevent moms from exclusively breastfeeding until the sixth month. Infants who do not breastfeed are exposed to many dangers including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), gastroenteritis, otitis media, diabetes, leukemia, as well as childhood obesity. Sounds scary!
A mom’s failure to breastfeed will increase the chances of infection in her baby, lowers the mother-baby bonding, loss of closeness and comfort with mom, as well as a weakened immune system since the baby relies on external food sources.
Babies who do not breastfeed will also take more time to sleep, and have a difficult time while teething because breastfeeding works as pain relief. The children, in the long run, might also have poor jaw and teeth development.
The risks not only affect the baby, but if the mom fails to breastfeed, risks include ovarian cancer, premenopausal breast cancer, failure to shed the weight gained during gestation, type 2 diabetes, and a feeling of grief, loss, and incompetence, eventually causing depression.
Not breastfeeding once or twice is no cause for alarm, but consistently failing to breastfeed could make your baby sick.