Q. When can a mother start breast feeding?
Ans. Breast feeding should be started soon after the birth of baby-preferably within 1 hour. Breast milk is a thick, yellowish liquid, which is rich in nutrients and enriched with protective factors to prevent infections in baby. It should be provided to baby continuously for first 2-3 days and should never be discarded.
Q . What should be the frequency of breast feeding?
Ans. A new mother should ensure that the baby is fed atleast 8-10 times within 24 hours as new born generally feed frequently at night and tend to sleep for longer hours during the day in the first few weeks. However, feeding schedule can be as per demand, usually 2-3 hours.
Q. How does a mother know if breast feeding is sufficient?
Ans. After a good feed, babies tend to sleep for 2- 3 hours. They should atleast have 6 wet nappies in 24 hours and gain 20-30gm weight per day after 1st week if the feeding is adequate. A new mother should not worry as all babies tend to lose some weight initially but regain birth weight by 10th day.
Breast fed babies tend to pass golden yellow soft stools. A baby may pass stools many times in a day or once in few days.
Q. How long should I breast feed my baby?
Ans. All healthy babies should be exclusively on breast feed for first six months. The supplementary diet should only be included after 6 months as per doctor’s advice. In conditions where baby is born prematurely or some other defect, special feeds/supplements should be provided as per the pediatricians’ advice.
Q . What diet should mother take to improve breast milk supply?
Ans . A lactating mother must drink 3-4 litres of water in addition to other fluids like milk products and soups etc. She needs to have a healthy balanced diet without any specific restrictions. Mother must get adequate rest in between the feeds.
Q.Do all babies get jaundice after birth?
Ans. Most of the babies develop jaundice or yellow discoloration in first few days of life and some will require treatment. You must consult baby’s pediatrician if baby appears yellow. Sunlight or normal tube lights have no role in treatment of jaundice.
Q. What are the danger signs I need to know?
Ans. A healthy baby shows spontaneous activity, looks pink and has warm skin, hands and feet. They demand feed every 2-3 hourly and pass urine every 3-4 hrs.
Danger signs are:
-Excessively sleepy and not feeding or irritable without any obvious cause
-Feels very cold or hot to touch
-Fast or jerky breathing
-Abnormal jerky movements
-Not passing urine for long periods
Q . Can I use kajal, Ghutti etc? Can I apply anything on umbilical cord?
Ans. Do not put anything in baby’s mouth, eyes, ears or nose other than what your doctor has prescribed. This will prevent many infections in the baby. Don’t apply anything on cord. It will get dry and fall off in few days.
Q. When should I start bathing my baby? Which oil should I use for massage?
Ans. Bathing is started after cord has fallen off. Avoid pouring water on baby’s face. Eyes can be cleaned with boiled cotton swabs (separate for each eye) if needed. Special attention should be paid to skin folds. Any natural oil like coconut oil can be used for gentle massage. Baby and mother should be able to enjoy the process. Excessive oiling as well as powders can cause skin problems and are not recommended.
Q. What should be the room temperature for baby?
Ans. Baby should be comfortable with warm hands and feet. Tip of nose should also feel warm. Clothing can be adjusted as per weather conditions. With air conditioning, 25-26*C is generally comfortable. In winter, keep baby’s head, hands and feet covered.