Illnesses are a common occurrence in infancy, and breastfeeding is essential in tackling them.
We all get sick sometimes. Even though it may look scary and distressing, It’s a part of the process of growing up. Having a child in distress may be serious, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms. Breastfeeding is an essential tool in helping your little one tackle these challenges and to have a healthy and happy childhood. Some mothers may struggle with the activity during this time, but it’s important to know that there are solutions to their breastfeeding problems. In this article, we take a look at tackling some of the most common health conditions in a newborn.
The breastmilk is a powerful medicine
Aside from powerful nutrients, the breastmilk also contains a wide array of antibodies that help jump-start the newborn’s immune system and help it fight off infections. This is the reason why it’s doubly important to breastfeed the little one as early and as often as possible. If regular breastfeeding is impossible due to the baby’s distress, milk expression or breast pumping, then feeding the newborn with a syringe is advisable.
However, getting those nutrients and antibodies is very important for the baby in overcoming the crisis.
Jaundice and Colic – common health conditions
Jaundice is the ‘yellowing’ on the skin due to a build-up for a chemical called bilirubin, which is naturally present in our bodies in trace amounts. It helps the breaking down of aged or abnormal erythrocytes. Most people know it as a common symptom of hepatitis, but in newborns, it’s a common occurrence.
It can appear due to a variety of factors and to some extent, almost every baby experiences a bit of jaundice in the first few weeks after birth. As the breastfeeding process progresses, the jaundice is expected to recede – due to bilirubin being excreted out of the body through the urine. It is important for the baby’s doctor to monitor the infant closely, and determine the best course of action.
In cases where there is an excessive buildup of bilirubin, the doctor may assign phototherapy which helps break down the chemical and reduce jaundice.
Each baby has its temperament and cries differently. But when the crying is excessively loud and uncontrolled and the baby is fussy, it may be a sign of colic. Around 20% of all newborns experience colic in their infancy. The colic might be due to the bloating of the belly, due to gas swallowing, which might even exasperate it. Breastfeeding may help reduce the stress in the baby, and other techniques like laying it across your lap and gently rubbing its back may help it release the excess gas in its stomach. The reasons why colic appears are still unknown, but usually, the colic bouts pass after the first few months.
However, if the colic bouts refuse to subside, it may be a symptom of a more serious condition such as a hernia. In such cases, contact the baby’s doctor immediately.
Acid Reflux? Don’t panic!
Even though it is relatively infrequent, newborns may also suffer from acid reflux (when stomach acid flows up the esophagus). Signs and symptoms include refusal to nurse, regurgitating material after feeding, slowed development (in terms of weight gain), as well as constant and inconsolable crying. Regurgitation is common in infants with more than 60% regurgitating at least once a day in the first few months. However, in cases where the baby’s doctor diagnoses GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), breastfeeding is even more important. Baby formula is a far more complex compound for digestion compared to natural breast milk.
Even though trouble might be always close at hand when it comes to raising a child, breastfeeding is a powerful shield for many of the common threats to the baby’s health.
Sometimes, there might be external challenges related to breastfeeding (such as low milk volume), some life and dietary adjustments for improving milk quality and volume may help in tackling them.
Having a happy and healthy baby is the greatest reward for the parents, leading to better child development and a more fulfilled childhood.