Complications of Breast Feeding


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About complications: Complications of Breast Feeding are secondary conditions, symptoms, or other disorders that are caused by Breast Feeding. In many cases the distinction between symptoms of Breast Feeding and complications of Breast Feeding is unclear or arbitrary.

Complications of Breast Feeding: A nursing mother must get needed rest; otherwise her body may decrease milk production. She must sit down, put her feet up, and relax every few hours to nurse. Nursing at night is easy. No one has to stumble to the refrigerator for a bottle and warm it while the baby cries. If she's lying down, a mother can doze while she nurses. 1

Nursing also is nature's contraceptive--although not a very reliable one. Frequent nursing suppresses ovulation, making it less likely for a nursing mother to ovulate, menstruate, or get pregnant. There are no guarantees, however. Mothers who don't want more children right away should use contraception even while nursing. Hormone injections and implants are safe during nursing, as are all barrier methods of birth control. The labeling on birth control pills says another form of contraception should be used if possible, until the baby is weaned, since estrogen may be harmful to infants. The only safe oral contraceptive for nursing mothers is a progestin-only birth control pill, also called the "mini-pill." Unlike oral contraceptives that contain both estrogen and progesterone, the mini-pill only contains progesterone and will not affect milk production. 1

Any woman who is pregnant, had a baby within the past several months, miscarried, or recently weaned a child from breastfeeding can suffer from postpartum depression. A woman can have this condition regardless of her age, socioeconomic status, or the number of children she has borne . 2

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Breastfeeding: NWHIC
2. excerpt from Postpartum Depression Fact Sheet: NWHIC

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