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IV fluids

Babies forced onto formula feeding because of IV fluids given to their mothers

Monday, August 15, 2011 by: S. L. Baker, features writer
Tags: IV fluids, baby formula, health news

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(NaturalNews) Breastfeeding has long been known to be one of the most important ways mothers can protect the health of their baby. According to the American College of Pediatrics, breastfeeding slashes the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) during the first year of life and it also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, leukemia, lymphomas and asthma in older children.

Unfortunately, many mothers are afraid their breast milk isn't adequate for their newborns because they are told their babies are losing too much weight. So they turn to the far less healthy alternative of bottles and formula feeding.

In fact, doctors routinely attribute infant weight loss to the baby somehow not "taking to" breastfeeding as he or she should, or declaring a mom's milk is somehow not adequate or plentiful enough. So the mainstream medical solution is to place the newborn on either supplemental or total formula feeding. But now comes evidence that the weight loss of many babies may not related to a lack of breast milk. Instead, it is the baby's natural reaction to medical treatment that is given to the mother during the birth process.

Bottom line: new research published in BMC's journal International Breastfeeding Journalshows that a newborn's initial weight loss may be simply due to the infant's body regulating its hydration after being exposed to IV fluids prior and during birth.

In fact, if doctors would wait for 24 hours after birth to take a baseline weight from babies, their tiny bodies would have time to naturally adjust to the extra fluids they've accumulated. Modern medical practice pumps moms in labor full of fluids, and this leads to babies pushed on to formula feeding.

"Nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, and doctors have long wondered why some babies lose substantially more weight than others even though all babies get small amounts to eat in the beginning," principal investigator Prof. Joy Noel-Weiss of the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Health Sciences said in a media statement. "It appears neonates exposed to increased fluids before birth might be born overhydrated, requiring the baby to regulate his or her fluid levels during the first 24 hours after birth."

The Canadian research team studied relationships among the IV fluids a mother received during labor (or prior to a caesarean section), neonatal fluid output (measured by diaper weight), and newborn weight loss. They discovered a clear and strong association between the amount of IV fluids given to mothers before birth and neonatal output of urine and newborn weight loss.

"We should reconsider the practice of using birth weight as the baseline when calculating newborn weight loss in the first few days following birth. For mothers and their breastfed babies, accurate assessment of weight loss is important. Although more research is needed, based on our findings, we would recommend using weight measured at 24 hours post birth as a baseline," Prof. Noel-Weiss emphasized.

In addition to publishing the results of their study, the researchers also included specific instructions that will hopefully encourage and guide doctors to make more informed decisions when assessing newborn weight changes - and not rush to have babies placed on artificial formula feeding instead of breast milk.

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