Understand how exhaustion can interfere with breast milk production

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The first few months of a child’s life are challenging for families. Intensive newborn care accompanied by changes in routine can be even more exhausting for mothers. Physical and emotional fatigue, associated with stress, can interfere with milk production.

The release of breast milk during breast-feeding happens from oxytocin, a hormone that promotes contraction of the mammary glands. The Ministry of Health warns that high levels of stress, which lead to the production of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, can reduce oxytocin and make breastfeeding difficult.

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Prolactin, the hormone responsible for stimulating the production of breast milk, can also suffer interference as a result of exhaustion.

Experts say that the formation of a support network is essential to make the breastfeeding process easier.

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“The network will make the woman go through this moment of breastfeeding more peacefully, without being overloaded with household chores, for example. During breastfeeding, the woman becomes more fragile, more vulnerable and needs to be heard”, explains Renara Guedes, technical consultant for the Coordination of Perinatal Health and Breastfeeding of the Ministry of Health.

Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers and family members should be carried out during prenatal consultations. In addition to the family, the network can be formed by friends, employers and health professionals.

Breast milk is produced according to the child’s demand, so the more the baby suckles or the woman extracts her milk, the greater the production.

The Ministry of Health recommends that if the woman is to be separated from the child, whether due to work, illness or any other issue, breast milk should be expressed 6 to 8 times a day, including at night, which is when there is increase in prolactin in the female body to maintain milk production.

Measures can help with the main difficulties of breastfeeding

The moment of breastfeeding can bring doubts and a series of difficulties that are common to breastfeeding. Some babies have difficulties initiating breastfeeding in the first days of life. The causes may be associated with the child’s “handling” and position or the use of silicone baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.

The “letting down of milk” – or apojadura – may take a little longer to happen in some women. Among the possible causes are scheduled cesarean sections), hormonal factors, premature births and obesity. Breast stimulation, with frequent suckling of the baby or manual pumping, can help.

Factors such as larger breast size and lingual frenulum can also interfere with breastfeeding. In addition to checking the child’s handbook to assess the lingual frenulum, there are positions that favor breastfeeding.

Mother and baby should feel comfortable, with the child’s body facing the mother’s body, with the child’s head and body aligned, and never with the neck twisted, in addition to avoiding the use of bottle nipples and pacifiers.

As long as the child has difficulty sucking, the breast milk can be removed manually or with a pump, 6 to 8 times throughout the day, and offered to the baby in a cup or spoon. The measure will help with milk production until the child sucks again.

One flat or inverted nipple it can make breastfeeding difficult, but it doesn’t have to be an impediment. It is possible to help the baby to grasp the nipple and areola and to try different positions to facilitate the “latch”.

If the breast is very full, before starting to breastfeed, massage the breasts and extract a little milk so that the areola becomes softer and makes it easier for the child to take the breast.

In the first days after giving birth, the woman may feel the sore nipples , a factor considered normal due to the increased sensitivity of the breasts at the end of pregnancy and the beginning of breastfeeding. However, if the nipple has any fissure professional advice should be sought.

Another common difficulty presented in the period is the milk production above quantity that the baby can breastfeed. The problem appears when the breast becomes too full to the point that the skin is stretched, often causing the breast hardening or the presence of some lumps.

According to the ministry, this process is called breast engorgement, popularly known as “breast engorgement”.cobbled milk ”. In more serious situations, the breasts can be painful, swollen and with reddish and shiny skin, which can cause fever and malaise.

To improve, the baby should breastfeed whenever he wants, without restricted schedules and without rush. Other alternatives may help, such as gentle massages with circular movements always starting around the areola, in addition to withdrawing a little milk to facilitate the child’s breastfeeding.

Source: CNN Brasil

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