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Improper breastfeeding leads to dehydration

Improper establishment of breastfeeding can lead to dehydration and increase of sodium levels in the blood in children.

Improper breastfeeding leads to dehydration

Improper establishment of breastfeeding can lead to dehydration and increase in blood sodium levels of newborns. This condition is relatively common but can be difficult to recognize. The so-called hypernatraemic dehydration in newborns arises from the inadequate transfer of breast milk from mother to infant. Poor milk drainage from the breasts leading to persistently high sodium concentrations in milk may worsen sodium levels in the infant. Researchers from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh found that new mothers, especially first-time mothers, may have difficulty producing an adequate supply of breast milk in the first week after birth because of physiological issues or because the baby may not be able to latch on properly. Paediatricians and parents need to be aware that when this occurs, the risk of dehydration is much higher than previously assumed. If infants become dehydrated, it is strongly recommend that the breast milk be supplemented with formula or breast milk from another source. The researchers found that among 3718 breastfed, newborns hospitalised during a 5-year period, 70 had breastfeeding-associated hypernatraemic dehydration. This rate is much higher than seen in older children and other patients admitted to hospital.
Pediatrics,
September 2005
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