Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can I take antibiotics while I am breastfeeding my baby?

Most antibiotics are quite safe during breastfeeding, even though small amounts may be secreted in the Breast Milk.
The only potential side effect in infants whose mothers are breast-feeding and taking antibiotics such as penicillins, cephalosporins, macrolides, and aminoglycosides are changes in their intestinal flora (bacteria that are normally present in the intestines). This may lead to loose stool and diarrhea in the infant, but these side effects are temporary.
You have to be careful only for a couple of antibiotics (which your doctor is anyways unlikely to prescribe) during breastfeeding.
Flagyl / Metronidazole is excreted in large quantities in breast milk and may lead to loose stools/ fungal infection in infants and is hence better avoided, or the milk discarded for 24 hours after a course of this medicine.
Chloramphenicol is a rarely prescribed antibiotic that CANNOT be taken during breast feeding, since it can lead to bone marrow suppression & serious liver damage. The good news is that this antibiotic is in any case very rarely prescribed nowadays.
For more information about antibiotic and other medicine safety during breast feeding read here

Monday, August 15, 2011

When can I fly with my newborn baby ?

Ideally your healthy newborn should be around 2-3 months old before being exposed to the recycled air, germs and the large number of people on flight.
However for most healthy babies, 2-3 weeks is a reasonable time frame in case you cannot wait.
Get her examined by your pediatrician, including the ears, and carry medicines like Crocin (Acetaminophen) for any fever/ pain/ irritability, and you should be good to go !
Many parents worry that the changes in air pressure that happen when you fly can harm their baby's ears. It's true that "popping ears" during takeoff and landing can be a bit painful for some infants, but it won't cause any lasting damage. Your baby will feel more comfortable if he has something to suck on during takeoff and landing, so you may want to breastfeed or give him a bottle or pacifier. You can give him some infant pain reliever (such as acetaminophen) if his ears really seem to bother him.
Get more tips for traveling with babies here

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Vaccination health news from India - Depressing Statistics, Innovative solutions

That India ranks low globally in its rate of vaccinating its population probably comes as no surprise. In 2010, only 72% of Indian babies received the three doses of the DPT vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. This was quite poor when compared to 95% for Bangladesh and 83% for Indonesia. The reason for this dismal statistic has been attributed to weak, decentralized public health infrastructure and inadequate monitoring. And so, in a bid to make sure that there is extensive coverage of babies that would require vaccination, India's health minister has come out with a new initiative. This would involve collecting mobile phone numbers of all pregnant mothers to monitor their babies' vaccinations. While this project has already begun, the quantum of funds invested for this project is not known. That said, one wonders whether this plan will really solve the problem that confronts India. For starters, there could be discrepancies in the mobile numbers themselve s, a problem that the health ministry is also facing. What India could probably do is make healthcare a priority at the Centre rather than relegating it to states.