Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Baby dehydration

Breastfeeding an infantImage via Wikipedia

Just when you think that breast feeding is the defacto best method for feeding your child, a horror story about dehydration, salt build up and gangrene appears in the press.

The BBC (among others) has run with a story today outlining how breast feeding your child CAN lead to - in extreme cases - death. So much for breast is best.

Apparently, in the early stages of life, it's a bit of a crapshoot getting your child to latch on to the nipple correctly. Then you're never sure how much is being taken in. If the child isn't taking in enough, hypernatraemic dehydration can occur. When this happens,"the levels of sodium in [the child's] blood rise dramatically, and if untreated, this can lead to seizures, gangrene, brain damage - and in the worst cases, death. "

When Emily was born we were told that the collostrum that was in Sue breasts (think the crusty topping in a gold top bottle of milk) might not enough to feed the hungry belly of a large baby like Emily, so we supplemented the first few nights with formula until the milk ran free.

Thankfully we never had an issue with Em "clamping on," as it were. There's enough crap out there without having to worry about the "fool proof" method of nourishing your child.
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