Thu, 18 Jul, 2024

Nurse Your Children Better

By Ashmita Thapa

Photo Courtesy: Five percent of the newborn, irrespective of their gender, who are born at full terms have a tendency of secreting neonatal milk from their breasts, whereas, in extremely rare cases the prematurely born babies also tend to produce the neonatal milk. Neonatal milk has the same consistency and properties of the maternal milk. Neonatal milk can sometimes be produced due to the medications taken by the mothers during their pregnancy. In some rare cases, neonatal mastitis (inflammation of infants’ breasts) may also develop, which might not be related to excretion of the neonatal milk. Excretion of neonatal milk is completely normal and the parents have got nothing to worry about. In folklore, Neonatal milk is commonly known as Witches’ milk because it is believed that such milk provides a huge deal of nutrition to the witches. When the babies are sleeping and not paid attention to, the witches would come to steal away the milk. Here in Nepal, there is a tradition of removing the milk from the infants. It is believed to give a good shape to the breasts during their adulthood. However, doctors believe that the milking only prolongs the production of the neonatal milk and does no good anyway.  They say that breastfeeding also prolongs the production of the Witches’ milk but they do not recommend weaning. “Babies must be breastfed for their proper growth”, say the doctors. “The condition of the neonatal milk goes away with time and no treatment is necessary.”, said ANM Meera Budathoki. Is squeezing of the infant’s breast or milking a good practice? Squeezing the infant’s breast may discharge the neonatal milk but it can cause bacteria to enter the milk gland of the infants which may lead to inflammation and infection of the baby’s breasts. This can cause direct harm to the infants. In case, you have squeezed the baby’s breasts and it led to the inflammation of the breasts of the baby, you must immediately consult a doctor because inflammation leads to cysts which have to be later removed surgically. Therefore, the doctors recommend not milking the infants to prevent neonatal mastitis.