Breast Milk Magic : Secrets for working MOMs

By Dr.Chaithra T M (Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology Advanced (laproscopic Surgery & Fertility Clinic)


Aim of the article is to encourage women to breast feed their babies for healthy future generations at the same time continue working. Breast milk is the best gift a mother can give to herself and her babies. It is the nectar of life.

Exclusive breastfeeding should be encouraged for first six months of life, and continued for at least 1-2 years of life. ings wo

Mothers should be encouraged to talk with their family and friends about breastfeeding. And she should to invite them to attend prenatal classes to learn more about breastfeeding. Time and competing demands are a reality of life. And new mothers can benefit from information on how breastfeeding can be successfully combined with other commitments in their busy lives.

Journey to be a mother

Aahhha a much awaited bundle of joy has come home (Newborn). The working mother after a 9 months of long unbalanced – balanced journey has to now mange a new masterly task of breast feeding. When you first face the question of joining back for job after 3 months of leave, you should ask yourself “Is the milk sufficient” (indirect indicator baby passes urine 5-6 times in the morning and 1/2 times in the night)? If the answer is yes nothing other than expressed breast milk feeding is good for your newborn, not even formula feeds. Don’t be under the wrong impression that expressing milk and storing 60-90 ml per day will reduce milk fed by baby. It will only increase the milk output.

Here are some tips

  • Start mental, physical & infrastructural preparations for your baby & breast feeding from your 5th month of pregnancy itself. Earlier you begin easier it will be like preparing nipples to make it soft, giving correct shape for the teet, breast feeding accessories like chairs, pillows, breast pump, steam sterilizers etc, etc (Can be wisely planned within small budget)… Once a mother knows what to expect and how to handle common concerns in advance, she can better prevent and cope with most breastfeeding problems that might occur.
  • KANGAROO CARE / ROOMING IN – Practice mother and baby staying together in the same room as early as possible if not medically contraindicated. More you spend time with your newborn better will be the milk output.
  • Take away the thought – of giving supplements like formula feeds, think that only one option you have is breast milk, so that has to be given unless prescribed by your pediatrician. Never give up! saying milk is not enough. Always encourage your newborn to suckle at breasts. (The more you suckle more you lactate). Think the one and only food you have for your kid is Milk and only Breast milk. (This will push your Hypothalamo – pituitary axis to provide adequate milk)
  • Have nutritious well balanced food rich in proteins, carbohydrates and plenty of water. Take supplements regularly as suggested by your gynecologist. Correct erect posture along with back and arm support is very important to avoid postural body ache and to enjoy breast feeding.
  • It’s okay to have low milk output on few days, next day it will be better. Sometimes you may need supplements – your gynecologist can help with readily available medicines or try some of the home available galactogouges ( one secret here best galactogauge is a tender affectionate time spent your newborn) like dil leaves, drumsticks and its leaves, methi, badam, bajra, oats – one thing which worked for you may not work for others so please try mix and match of different items.
  • First two-three days after delivery the milk output will be less(first day colostrum may be as less as 30 ml per day), just relax that is normal, gradually it increases. On 3rd or 4th day after birth will be usual complaint of breast engorgement due to galactopoesis, it can be managed with simple steps like proper supportive inner wears, hot fomentation and expressing the extra milk.
  • Meet your gynaec for identification of anatomic challenges in breastfeeding, share your previous breastfeeding experiences, so if anything can be rectifiable let’s do it. We would like to give you positive support for your breast feeding goals.
  • You can think of working as early as third month after your delivery, take help for babysitting from anybody possible. Start expressing milk at least 1 month before joining date so that you have adequate back up of stored frozen milk. Express the breast milk using breast pump{manual/ electrical – manual will make you feel tired and many mothers have given upand electrical is a bit costly). If cost is a factor you can borrow or buy second hand also.
  • Follow the principle of clean hands, clean bottles and clean feeds for expressed safe breast milk feeding. Store milk as per the details in the table. Breast milk pumping has a starting hitch, but becomes a habit and is easy once you start it. Store it in small amounts say 60-90 cc in food grade medical milk bags or glass containers. Thaw it carefully and use it whenever necessary. (Never heat breast milk, keep the bottle in luke warm water for 10-15minutes and bring to normal temperature gradually). Don’t forget to check milk temperature before feeding your newborn. (There are many Centre for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) government of India guidelines and videos available for storage and thawing, you can make use of it.

Human Milk Storage Guidelines

Image from CDC website

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