The time immediately after childbirth can be really overwhelming for new mothers. One major pertinent change is that they are required to express milk within a few hours of delivery. However, lactation may not be adequate, either because the baby is unable to suck, or due to flat nipples, which can take a toll on one’s coping system, said Dr Helai Gupta, lactation expert, Rosewalk Hospital.
She, however, added that one first needs to congratulate oneself for the delivery and then “accept that it is a temporary situation”.
“Manual expression is simple but requires patience. The exact method is generally explained by lactation adviser. The basic points to remember are to sit in a comfortable position, keep a glass of water nearby because it is natural to feel thirsty post milk let down, and to massage the breast properly. It should be done starting from the periphery in a circular manner moving towards the areolae, cupping your breast with one hand making a ‘C’. Then hold the nipple with index finger and thumb, and move it forward and backwards till you get a good spray,” explained Dr Gupta.
Alternately, as per Dr Gupta, one could use a nipple shield for flat nipples or a suction device to make the nipples protrude. Breast pumps, both manual and electric, are a viable option as well. However, sterility and cleanliness need to be ensured with all such devices after use. “It makes sense to check the baby’s diaper frequently — a wet and dirty diaper is a good indication that your baby is getting adequate feed,” said Dr Gupta.
She also pointed out that nipples should not hurt while extracting milk.
How can one ensure enough lactation?
Nutritionist Lovneet Batra shared some simple tips that new mothers can count on to increase expression of milk.
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*Consume at least 3-4 litres of fluid daily. This can be in the form of concoctions like cumin or carom seeds water.
*Have 100 grams of protein in a day
*Add lactogens like soaked fenugreek seeds, 1 teaspoon at bed time
*Include oats and dalia in your diet
*Have milk with ½ teaspoon of shatavari when you wake up in the morning. For the uninitiated, shatavari is a herb that helps improve vitality. As an adaptogenic herb, it is said to help the body cope with physical and emotional stress.