EXCLUSIVE: World Breastfeeding Week: Does stress impact milk production of breastfeeding mothers?

Updated on Aug 06, 2021 09:32 AM IST  |  155.5K
EXCLUSIVE: World Breastfeeding Week: Does stress impact milk production of breastfeeding mothers?
EXCLUSIVE: World Breastfeeding Week: Does stress impact milk production of breastfeeding mothers?

Experts believe that too much stress in breastfeeding mothers can lead to a decrease in the production of milk thereby causing early weaning. But, at the same time, studies have suggested that breastfeeding lowers down stress because the hormones that the body releases when a woman breastfeeds can promote relaxation and feelings of love and bonding.

Causes of stress in breastfeeding mother
Breastfeeding mothers can go through stress on multiple accounts. The stress can range from work-related stress to stress induced by pregnancy procedures as well as confusion about what would be best for the baby. Let’s discuss individually how these factors can affect a breastfeeding mother:

Experiencing body changes
Right after pregnancy, a woman experiences sore nipples and breast engorgement. All these can be quite discomforting for them. So, one should see a doctor and take medicine because even discomfort/pain can be stressful. There is nothing wrong if you’re taking pain medication to subside the pain. When physical pain is managed, breastfeeding becomes more comfortable, and the body also starts focusing on making and releasing breast milk instead of the pain.


A difficult pregnancy
Sometimes women go through major guilt, disappointment, and stress if they have to go for a c-section due to complications in pregnancy instead of natural delivery. So, it’s always important to prepare for the flexibility that can help one to navigate challenges.

Dealing with concerns of breastfeeding in open
Breastfeeding can be stressful initially if you are not open to the idea of exposing your breast in the public. These fears are often greater in the beginning, but over time, the woman gets more comfortable as she learns to breastfeed outside her comfort zone.


Having issues in breastfeeding
Sore nipples and getting your baby to latch on the nipples are a few early issues of breastfeeding that are quite stressful. To surmount the stress, one should learn about it before the pregnancy and right from the first breastfeed post-birth.

Coping with child’s temperament
Initial few months, a child is easy to handle because they sleep and eat well. But as they grow, they also tend to show a lot of tantrums. They cry more and sleep or eat less. And, that becomes troublesome and stressful for mothers, who often must compromise on their sleep and peace of mind to care for their little ones. Don’t hesitate to ask for some assistance from your family members in such a scenario.


Way Forward: Stress Management is a must
One thing you should keep in mind is that you can't avoid stress. But you can learn how to deal with it in a healthy way. You should have your coping skills ready so that it doesn’t affect you to have successful breastfeeding. The first step is, take care of yourself first before anybody else. Eat healthy food and get enough sleep. It’s hard to do when you're a new mom, but don’t forget the fact that when you feel good about yourself and you're well-rested, it can make a difference in how you handle the things that are thrown at you daily.
What is important is the relaxed brain for optimum milk production. A relaxed and happy mind release good hormones like endorphins which affect the baby positively.

About the author: By Dr Amit Gupta, Senior Consultant Pediatrician & Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida

ALSO READ: World Breastfeeding Week: Here is everything you need to know about your baby's feeding schedule


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