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Pregnant and breastfeeding: When to stop   

By Agnes Kyotalengerire

Added 19th September 2017 03:33 PM

Grace Ntale, a nursing officer, says a pregnant woman who is also breastfeeding is prone to anemia and dehydration.

Pregnant and breastfeeding: When to stop   

Grace Ntale, a nursing officer, says a pregnant woman who is also breastfeeding is prone to anemia and dehydration.

A breastfeeding mother requires a well-balanced diet

Trinity Muwanguzi, a mother of four, realised she was pregnant with her second child when her first daughter was just seven months old.

"I had just resumed work and had stopped breastfeeding exclusively. I was not using any contraceptives, so I conceived again," Muwanguzi recounts.

Immediately, Muwangunzi confided in a friend who is a midwife. She encouraged her to continue breastfeeding for up to eight months. She also advised her to eat healthy foods, keeping in mind that she was feeding for two babies, as well as for herself. 

Fortunately, Muwanguzi did not get any health complications. She was able to breastfeed up to eight months and two weeks. 

After delivery, she was advised not to breastfeed the older baby for fear of depriving the newborn baby of the first nutritious milk called colostrum. 

Colostrum is the first yellowish milk a mother produces. It is packed with nutrients and antibodies responsible for boosting the newborn baby's immunity

Muwanguzi resumed breastfeeding the older baby after two weeks alongside with complementary feeding and stopped when the baby turned one year and eight months.

Experts demystifying the myth 

Dr Andabati Gonza, a senior consultant gynaecologist at Bethany Women Hospital in Luzira, says ideally a mother should not conceive before the baby turns two years.

But in the event that it happens, the mother should start on a slow weaning programme immediately she realises she is pregnant.

According to Dr Andabati, the weaning process should be completed within three months.

Weaning means introducing the baby to semi-solid foods alongside breastfeeding. 

He says pregnancy alters the taste and quality of breastmilk. It reduces the amounts of essential nutrients required for proper growth of the baby.

"If breastfeeding is the only source of food, the baby is likely to be malnourished," he warns.

Additionally, Dr Romano Byaruhanga, a senior consultant gynecology /Obstetrician at Kampala Medical Chambers, says such a mother will require a well-balanced diet, which includes proteins carbohydrates and plenty of fruits and vegetables to supply her body with the required nutrients. 

"This will prevent the mother's body nutrient stores from getting depleted by the extra demands of breastfeeding in addition to pregnancy," she says.

Grace Ntale, a nursing officer, says a pregnant woman who is also breastfeeding is prone to anemia and dehydration.

"Remember the mother has two parasites feeding on her, so she needs to maintain her energy and nutritional demands by eating a well-balanced diet and taking in plenty of fluid," Ntale explains and is quick to add; improper nutrition may also cause low birth weight to the unborn baby.

In the same breath, Dr Evelyn Nabunya a consultant gynaecologist/obstetrician at Mulago Hospital says babies who are born to mothers who conceive after less than six months have: 40% risk of preterm, 61% increased risk of low-birth weight, compared to babies whose mothers conceive after 24 months. 


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