7 most useful tips to breastfeed your sick baby
These days, thanks to doctors, nutritionists and well-wishers, most new mothers know how important breast milk is for her infant till at least he is 6 months of age.
Breastmilk contains all the essential nutrients in the right amounts and even changes in constitution to provide the right nutrition according to the baby’s age. The best part is it is easily digestible. However, newborns also have weak and developing immune systems and they might fall ill repeatedly. So, if you have questions about breastfeeding a sick baby, this article will address it all.
- Find the cause of sickness: Nursing or breastfeeding a sick baby requires lots of patience. First and foremost, mothers need to find the root cause of sickness - whether the baby is infected by a cold, stomach ailment or is just allergic to breast milk.
- Look out for any signs of milk allergy in a breastfed baby: Breast milk contains antibodies that are made up of proteins. Though, it helps to protect your little one against infections and increases his immunity, some babies might develop an allergy to the protein in breast milk. Consult a paediatrician and take an informed decision in such cases.
- Continue breastfeeding for faster recovery: As mentioned before, breast milk contains proteins in the form of antibodies. This implies that mothers can continue breastfeeding a sick baby as the antibodies ensure faster recovery from any illness.
- Breastfeed the baby even if he has jaundice: It has been found that frequent breastfeeding can help reduce the level of bilirubin in the infant’s body. And it can also enhance the mother’s milk supply.
- Breastfeed the baby to meet his fluid requirements: Sometimes, babies get infected by stomach flu and lose a lot of fluids through loose motions. In such a scenario, breast milk can act as a remedy by replenishing the lost fluid. It is nutritionally superior than water or juice too.
- Use a breast pump to feed the weak baby: Sometimes, a baby might be unable to latch on to the breast properly because of weakness. In such cases, mothers can express their milk with the help of a breast pump or by hand and then feed the baby with the help of a spoon or dropper.
- Increase the frequency of breastfeeding: More frequent breastfeeding will ensure a quicker recovery from any illness. Also, your infant might not be able to consume the required amount of milk in one or a few sessions, due to weakness.
In case your baby is not able to consume milk at all, consult a doctor without delay, to find out if there is any underlying chronic health condition. Also, watch out if the baby is continuously losing weight. Watch out for signs of dehydration as well, like less passage of urine, dry mouth or sleepiness. If you have started your baby on complementary foods, consult a nutritionist or doctor for a diet plan to deal with the illness.