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August marks the CDC’s National Breastfeeding Month. With that in mind, here’s a look at four tips that all breastfeeding mothers should aim to keep in mind

Stay Hygienic

When breastfeeding your child there are a number of hygienic precautions to be mindful of.

When expressing milk, make sure that you’re hands are clean.

When collecting milk, aim to use hard storage containers with airtight seals over plastic bags or or formula bottle bags, as those can more easily open up or spill.

When storing breastmilk or giving breastmilk to a childcare provider, make sure that that the milk is labeled with the child’s name and the date. This will prevent any accidental switches, while making sure that you are using the oldest milk first.

When bottle-feeding, avoid mixing. This goes for adding fresh milk to frozen milk (vice-versa) and saving used milk for another feeding. Once a bottle has been used for a feeding, it’s best to switch to a new bottle for a future feeding.

When it comes to thawing out frozen breast milk, avoid microwaves and ovens (as they tend not to heat liquids evenly and can damage the nutrient quality of the milk). Instead, either transfer the breastmilk to a refrigerator to gradually thaw or try swirling it through a bowl of warm water (making sure that it’s not too hot!) for a more rapid thawing. Make sure that you don’t refreeze milk once it’s already been thawed.

Consider Vitamin D Supplementation

Breastfeeding is a great, natural way to provide infants with most (if not all) of the essential nutrients and immune factors that they need, however, in many cases breastfeeding does not always supply the requisite amount of Vitamin D that a child needs. Although most infants are able to synthesize Vitamin D via sun exposure, recent studies indicate that some infants may still succumb to a Vitamin D deficiency. In rare cases, a Vitamin D efficiency can lead to Ricketts. As human breast milk typically contains Vitamin D concentrations of 25 IU per liter and the daily recommended concentration of Vitamin D for infants is 400 IU per day, it’s recommended that nursing mothers pick up supplements. These come in over-the-counter and prescription varieties.

Watch out for Breast Milk Switch-ups

Although the chances may be slim that this will happen, it’s important to watch out for. If your child accidentally accidentally is fed the milk of another mother, she runs the risk of being exposed to infectious diseases, including the likes of HIV. If this does indeed happen, please refer to this CDC checklist for how to proceed.

Get Vaccinated

A healthy immune system starts in the womb. One of the best ways to prevent disease in an infant, is by making sure that you have certain vaccines. It is recommended that pregnant mothers are vaccinated for Whooping Cough, Hepatitis B, and the Flu. If you do not already have these vaccines, the ideal time to receive these when pregnant will vary. For more information on vaccines, check the CDC’s vaccination list. As with all of the above, make sure that you check with your physician.

 

You might also be interested in hearing about the Benefits of Prenatal Yoga.

 

Dr. Peter McIlveen