Lactation & Cross Nursing


Some women seem to have more trouble than others do in establishing satisfactory letdown reflex. The extent to which the mother's emotional state contributes to the problem must be assessed. Anxiety and Stress are known to separately decrease milk output. Anything that encourages relaxation should enhance let down. Warm baths, moist heat to the breasts, gentle massage, and tactile stimulation, as well as soft lights and soft music, have been known to help. Occasionally, some drugs may be prescribed to enhance lactation. Women using these agents need to be carefully monitored by a physician; regular assessment of infant growth is also essential.


The presence of colds or other mild viral infections such as influenza is usually no reason to discontinue lactation as long as the mother feels able to breast-feed. The infant has usually been exposed to the infection by the time the mother realizes that she is affected. There is good evidence that the infant has some immunity through maternal antibodies. If the infant is infected, it is often a very mild form. When the infant has a cold, nasal congestion will make it difficult for him to breathe while nursing. Use of saline nasal drops or a nasal aspirator to remove mucus and aid breathing may be of some value during this period.

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