Image medication guide for breastfeeding moms articleBreastfeeding mothers are often concerned about the safety of drinking medications or receiving vaccinations while breastfeeding. Some medications are able to pass through the breastmilk and be indirectly ingested by the infant while some medications do not. To make things simpler, here is a quick list of medications that are safe to drink, medications that must be taken with caution and medications that are avoided while breastfeeding.

Image Cleft Palate ArticleCleft lip and cleft palate are some of the most common congenital oral and facial deformities in newborns. It could be due to a genetic predisposition or exposure to harmful substances during pregnancy such as nicotine from smoking or second-hand smoke, alcohol and antiepileptic drugs. These substances can affect the normal development of the face and lips leading to incomplete closure of the lip and palate. Infants with cleft lip and/or palate will have difficulty in feeding, hearing, speaking and can also have defects in their teeth. Thus, these infants need special feeding techniques such as feeding in the upright position like the clutch hold position, special feeding bottles because they can't create an effective sucking pressure due to the incomplete closure of their mouth. Treatment should be started as soon as possible through surgery. The initial non-surgical management options are nasoalveolar molding and lip taping to reduce size of the lip defect which should be started at 2 weeks of age then surgical repair must be initiated by 3 months of age to optimize feeding and speech development.

Here are some breastfeeding tips for babies with cleft palate that you can do at home:

21 Image 1 Family Planning MethodsDid you know that exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months can be a natural contraceptive method? This process is known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) which is a contraceptive method where the mother is informed and supported in using breastfeeding as a contraceptive method. The sucking stimulus during breastfeeding activates the secretion of hormones that suppress ovulation or being fertile after giving birth. Studies also show that LAM is 98% effective in preventing pregnancies for up to 6 months as long as:

● Exclusive breastfeeding is performed day and night
● Infant is less than 6 months
● The mother did not experience any menstrual bleeding during the 0 - 6 months period

For mothers who still want to consider other contraceptive methods during lactation, the choices are non-hormonal contraceptives such as physical barriers like condom or Intrauterine Devices (IUD) and progestin-only containing pills. Combined hormonal pills with estrogen may decrease breast milk production - thus, it is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers.

Neonatal Jaundice

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Newborn or Infant Jaundice is a yellowing of a baby’s skin and eyes. It is very common and can occur when babies have a high level of bilirubin, a yellow pigment produced during normal breakdown of red blood cells. This usually occurs because a baby's liver isn't mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. The good news is that in most cases, newborn jaundice goes away on its own as a baby’s liver develops and as the baby begins to feed, which helps bilirubin pass through the body. In most cases, the condition disappears within 2 to 3 weeks. Jaundice that persists longer than 3 weeks may be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Breast milk is not harmful for a baby with jaundice. Jaundice is temporary for healthy infants. However, if the baby has an underlying medical condition, he or she must receive medical treatment but breastfeeding is still their best option for nutrition.

13 Image 1 How to Express Breast Milk

Expressing breast milk is important for mothers who experience breast engorgement or when the breasts are full which may cause pain and discomfort and for mothers who want to continue exclusive breastfeeding while working away from home. The expressed breast milk can be stored in a clean container and stored in cool storage for up to 72 hours. It can be given to the baby through cup feeding which is the preferred method over bottle feeding to prevent extra air from being ingested which may cause excessive gas and to preserve the baby’s sucking mechanism when the mother is able to directly breastfeed. Feeding bottles are also unsafe, difficult to wash and can easily be contaminated. The following are the steps on how to express, store and cup feed your baby:

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Breastfeeding problems such as sore nipples, skin problems, mastitis and nipple problems may hinder effective breastfeeding or cause discomfort to the mother. The following are some of the common breastfeeding problems, their causes and how to manage them.

Sore or cracked Nipples

Sore nipples can be seen as crack, wound, bleeding or pain of the nipples. It is due to the baby’s improper attachment while breastfeeding, position and other bacterial or fungal infection. This can be managed through the following steps:

  1. Massage the breast from top to the nipple using coconut oil to soften the area or visible crack.
  2. Wipe expressed breast milk from the nipple every 15 minutes.
  3. Breastfeed your baby on the unaffected breast and make sure that the baby is properly attached to the breast.
  4. Position your baby horizontally, bring him/her close to your body and carry or support the baby up to your breast.
  5. Sit at a relaxed position while breastfeeding. Putting a pillow at the back may help support your lower back for comfort.
  6. Gradually breastfeed your baby on the affected sore nipple because this is the only way for it to heal faster. Breast milk contains antibacterial substances which can hasten the healing process and fight against infection.
  7. You may try other comfortable breastfeeding positions. Remember to continuously breastfeed your baby.