MOTHERS are advised to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months. To do this successfully, there are certain things mothers need to avoid. Agnes Kyotalengerire highlights what nursing mothers should stay away from
Foods to avoid
Barbara Tembo, a nutritionist with IBFAN Uganda, advises mothers to know what foods to avoid when breastfeeding so as not to interfere with the growth and development of the baby. She gives tips:
First, watch out on how your baby reacts to certain foods. Find out which foods the baby does not seem to agree with and cut them out of your diet for your baby to enjoy breast milk.
Chocolate is a no-go area. Tembo advises that it should be avoided when breastfeeding. It often leads to gas building up in the babyâ€™s tummy, which many new parents confuse with colic. If you have a craving for chocolate, consume a square or two. Alternatively, eat white chocolate instead of the dark chocolate varieties.
A cup or two of coffee or a bottle of soda is fine, but too much caffeine can interfere with your babyâ€™s sleep or make him fussy.
Mothers who are breastfeeding shouldnâ€™t consume any alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can seep into breast milk in less than an hour and when consumed in large quantities through breast milk, it retards an infantâ€™s growth.
Cigarette smoking reduces the amount of milk your body makes. The fat content of your milk may also be reduced. These side-effects of smoking may affect the growth of your baby. Besides, a mother who smokes a lot may be forced to stop breast feeding (wean) earlier than she wanted to.
Tembo explains that second-hand smoke has many of the same chemicals found in cigarettes. The smoke causes cancer and places a person at higher risk of heart disease. In young children, the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis increases.
The risk is even higher than that of adults because their lungs are not yet fully developed. An asthmatic childâ€™s condition will get worse if he is exposed to second-hand smoke.
Many drugs pass into breast milk. So before you take any medicine, always consult your doctor or physician. If you are HIV-positive and you are taking anti-retroviral drugs, consult a doctor before breastfeeding.
Steer clear of narcotics, including marijuana and cocaine. Traces of these drugs pass into breast milk and with constant consumption, your baby can get addicted to them. If find it difficult to avoid these substances, you are advised to stop breastfeeding.
No-nos for breastfeeding mothers