Dr. Naseeruddin Mahmood (consultant Pediatrician and Neonatologist) addresses every nursing mother’s worries

Are there any foods mothers should avoid while breastfeeding?

  1. Most babies are unaffected by the variety in mothers food, but if you feel your baby is fussy, after you eat a particular food, avoid that food. Some of such foods include: chocolate, spices, citrus fruits, the gassy veggies, and fruits with laxative effect (cherries, prunes, etc.).
  2. Too much caffeine can also affect baby’s sleep patterns. Also, if your baby has food allergy, he may be reacting to foods you eat. It’s usually something you have eaten between two and six hours prior to feeding. The most common culprits include cow milk products, soy wheat, egg, nuts, and corn.
  3. It is important to talk to your doctor, before you omit any foods from your diet, as it may cause a nutritional imbalance in your body.
  4. Cola drinks can dramatically reduce breast milk production in some mothers.

How much calcium do nursing moms need?

The calcium recommendation for nursing women is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. It is alright to get more than the recommended dietary requirement, as long as your total daily intake is less than 2,500 mg. Try to get your calcium through food, instead of a vitamin supplement – your body will absorb it more.

One eight-ounce glass of milk contains about 300 mg of calcium. You can also get approximately 300 mg of calcium from each of the following sources:

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) of yoghurt
  • 1 ½ cup (4 ounces) of ice cream or frozen yoghurt
  • 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 1 cup of calcium-fortified (or fortified soy milk) milk
  • 2 slices of calcium-fortified bread
  • 5 oranges

How to tell if a breastfed baby is getting enough milk?

A woman’s own doubt about her milk supply is why most mothers stop breastfeeding within the first two weeks after birth. Even though you are giving enough milk to your baby, you may feel unsure.

Most newborns want to nurse eight to fifteen times a day, after the first three or four days of life. Feed your baby as often as he needs it. Some signs indicating that your baby is getting enough milk are:

  1. The baby nursing at least eight times in 24 hours for the first two to three weeks.
  2. Your breasts are being emptied and feel softer after nursing.
  3. Your baby has good colour and firm skin that bounces right back if pinched.
  4. Your baby is growing in both length and circumference.
  5. The baby wets at least eight diapers in a 24-hour period.
  6. You can hear her swallowing, while nursing.
  7. She’s passing yellowy-mustard stools or frequent dark stools.

Islam’s stance on breastfeeding

Quran states: “The mothers should suckle their children for two whole years, (that is) for those (parents) who desire to complete the term of suckling.” (Al-Baqarah 2:233)

Dr. Ghulam Murtaza Malik, in his commentary ‘Noor alhuda’ explains that Allah (swt) has commanded Muslim women to nurse their children for the complete period of two years provided some health limitation prevents them to do so. There is medical evidence to believe that lactation also prevents women from developing breast cancer.

Besides mother’s milk is the best form of nutrition for a baby. Even formula milk manufacturers have to date not been able to produce an exact match. Mother’s milk is a miracle of Allah (swt) in itself.