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  Life   Health  14 Aug 2017  Stress can cause decrease in lactation

Stress can cause decrease in lactation

Published : Aug 14, 2017, 9:36 am IST
Updated : Aug 14, 2017, 9:36 am IST

Expert reveals why

Representational Image. (Photo: AFP)
 Representational Image. (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: Stress is one of the reasons leading to increase in lifestyle diseases in people. For lactating women, stress is not only a ticking bomb for the mother but also her baby.

Mental and physical stress has a direct impact on the breast milk production. Mother's milk is vital for the proper development of the infant. It contains all the nutrients that are required by the child to grow, and it contains anti-bodies to protect the baby until their immune system is mature enough. Being burdened by stress has negative impact on the delicate health of a new mother as it can cause decrease in the breast milk and even delay it.

"Lactation can take 2-3 days to start after the baby is born. But we've observed that scrutiny by elder members of the family over every aspect of the new mother's life can lead to huge familial stress. It can also aggravate the issue," Dr. Ranjana Sharma, Senior Consultant, Obsterics, Gynaecology and Urogynaecology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, commented.

Well-intentioned female members of the family are ready with advice from diet to douche, what the new mother should do and not do. But traditional advices may not always be beneficial for the health of either the mother or the baby. In fact, foods rich in fats which are traditionally consumed after the birth can have negative impact on the cardio-vascular health and lead to increase in weight.

Another stress factor which can lead to decrease in breast milk production is separation of the mother and the baby. Our lifestyle doesn't allow us the luxury of a slow life.

There is hardly time to rest and barely time to take a break. Women feel this fast pace of life more than men as not only do they have to manage a professional life in office, they have to do it in such a way that it is in sync with their personal life. Pregnancy in such a scenario can be more of a burden than an experience to be enjoyed.

"For the first six months, the mother should be with the child. The child requires frequent feedings after every 2-3 hours. This physical bond between the mother and the child promotes lactation. Close proximity to the baby acts a stimulus which promotes the hormones in the mother's body. Women who do not spend time with their child tend to experience less lactation and the child becomes dependent on formula milk for sustenance. But we always advice that for minimum six months a mother should sustain the child only on breast milk and then slowly wean him/her on other foods," Dr. Ranjana Sharma added.

In a society that allots bare minimum time for maternity leave, which is six months, how is a woman supposed to cope up with the stress of work and home, and bring a new life in this world?

Tags: breastfeeding, health, mental health, stress, health and wellbeing, babies