Breastfeeding problems

Published on 10/03/2015 by admin

Filed under Obstetrics & Gynecology

Last modified 10/03/2015

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Breastfeeding has numerous benefits to the child and mother. Breastfed infants have lower rates of respiratory tract infections, otitis media, allergies, necrotizing enterocolitis, and serious bacterial infections. They also have lower rates of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, obesity, hyperlipidemia, and asthma. Children who were breastfed also perform better on cognitive development tests. Benefits to the mother include decreased postpartum bleeding, increased temporal spacing between pregnancies, weight loss, lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, and decreased risk of osteoporosis. In addition, breastfeeding results in less employee absenteeism, lower health care costs, and lower costs to families.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommend that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding continue through the first year of life. Promotion of breastfeeding can be achieved by encouragement and education before and after delivery, rooming in (in which mother and newborn share a hospital room), skin-to-skin contact after delivery, avoidance of supplements, avoidance of pacifiers until after breastfeeding is well-established, and follow-up with a health care provider when the infant is 3 to 5 days of age and 2 to 3 weeks of age.

Breastfeeding problems can sometimes result in serious consequences such as dehydration, failure to thrive, and jaundice in the infant. It is important that newborns and mothers have close follow-up after discharge from the hospital to prevent and identify these problems.

In a few cases, breastfeeding is contraindicated. Mothers with active untreated tuberculosis, positive human T cell lymphotrophic virus, or herpes lesions on their nipples should not breastfeed. Mothers who are being treated with radioactive isotopes or chemotherapy also should not breastfeed. In addition, infants with classic galactosemia should not be breastfed. In the United States, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is a contraindication to breastfeeding. Phenylalanine intake must be reduced if the mother or infant has PKU. Partial breastfeeding is often recommended.