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My baby seems ready for solids. How and when should I introduce them?
“Breast milk still is the most important part of your baby’s diet at this age, so breastfeed right before you offer cereal or other foods,” says Debi Page Ferrarello, R.N., M.S., I.B.C.L.C., director of family education and lactation at Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
When you do offer solids, start with rice cereal and gradually add a cooked or mashed fruit or vegetable. (Many pediatricians believe it’s fine to start with a finely puréed fruit or vegetable, or even meat; check with your doc to see what she recommends.) Be sure to wait three to five days before introducing a different food so you can trace the cause of any allergic reaction.
Can I take birth-control pills if I’m breastfeeding?
“Yes. But opt for a progestin-only ‘mini-pill,’ since pills containing estrogen can decrease milk supply,” Ferrarello says. Depo-Provera—an injection given every three months— is another progestin-only contraceptive that is safe to use while breastfeeding; wait six weeks after childbirth before beginning use.
I keep getting clogged milk ducts. What causes them, and what can I do to treat them?
“One of the risk factors for clogged ducts is a change in a baby’s feeding pattern,” Ferrarello says. “If your baby is nursing less frequently because he’s eating more solids, milk ‘stasis’— when milk sits in the breast—can occur and cause the ducts to clog.” The best way to treat clogged ducts is by nursing or pumping often from the affected breast, applying warm compresses, and getting plenty of fluids and rest. If you have a fever or flulike symptoms, see your doctor; you may have mastitis, an infection that often requires antibiotics.