MOTHER LOVE: Experts recommend breast-feeding. © Unknown.
MOTHER LOVE: Experts recommend breast-feeding. © Unknown.

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Breast-feeding has always been considered best but it might not always be possible.

Some new mothers complain that they do not produce enough breast milk so they turn to bottle-feeding .

Kiran Kalian, a Johannesburg obstetrician and gynaecologist, says insufficient milk is unusual.

"The problem is often associated with breast-feeding technique and can be resolved with guidance and counselling," he says.

"Breast milk is freely available soon after birth and once the baby begins suckling the mother's milk production is fully established within five days."

Drugs are available to stimulate milk production but Kalian warns that these should only be used as a last resort.

"A good diet and an adequate fluid intake are usually sufficient to ensure an adequate supply of milk," he says.

"Where there is genuine insufficiency and the mother is well motivated to continue breast-feeding, the South African Breast Milk Reserve is ready to assist.

"They bank breast milk and promote breast-feeding through collection and distribution to needy mothers and infants."

In many cases inverted nipples have been reported to be the cause of a lack of breast milk.

This problem can be rectified through nipple manipulation in the final weeks of pregnancy.