Every day, we receive a good number of messages from moms-to-be and parents in our Facebook page. While we want to reply to each one, we cannot do so. We don't know the full circumstances and a doctor will know the answer best after a proper diagnosis especially when it feels like it's an emergency room situation. But there are some topics where we've tackled before and got an expert opinion. We've compiled the most common queries and try our best to provide helpful answers.
Question 1 We get a lot of messages from women asking us if they might be pregnant. They can be very specific with their details.
My husband and I had sex last August. I had my menstruation a few days after but there was very little blood. I didn't even have to use a pad. My problem is that I haven't had my menstruation since. Am I pregnant?
The only way to be sure is to do a pregnancy test and consult your OB-gyne. It's true, a late period is usually the first sign that lets a woman know she’s pregnant. There are other factors than can cause delayed menstruation as well, like hormonal contraception. Vaginal discharge can also provide clues -- pregnancy can cause an increase in milky white discharge. You can read up on early pregnancy signs here.
Question 2 Two in every 10 children aged 5 and below are underweight, says the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, it remains to be a health problem for the country, which makes it a concern for a lot of parents.
My daughter is 3 years old and her doctor says she’s underweight because she only weighs 20 lbs. What vitamin supplement should I buy her? What food should I give her or not give her so she gains weight and doesn’t become malnourished?
A balanced meal is key, and that means your child needs to stay away from “junk” foods with empty calories like ice cream, cookies and store-bought potato chips. He may also have intestinal parasites, Charmaine Manango, a registered nutritionist-dietitian, toldSmartParenting.com.ph.
For children who eat healthy meals and have no intestinal parasites but are still underweight, Manango suggests increasing the frequency of meals. “Kids have small tummies. Most of them cannot tolerate eating a large amount of food in one sitting. You can give your child small, frequent meals at proper times daily. I suggest three regular meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – and two snacks – one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
If none of the suggestions work, check with your child’s pediatrician who can recommend a registered nutritionist-dietitian.
Question 3 We’re glad that a lot of moms ask us about breastfeeding. It means a lot of moms are trying to make it work for them and their babies. The most common concern we get is how to keep breast milk supply up.
I’m a working mom. I’m currently breastfeeding my 2-month-old but I feel like she’s not getting enough milk. What should I do, eat or drink to increase my breast milk supply?
One of the most important things a breastfeeding working mom can do to increase her milk supply is to latch baby whenever she can and express milk regularly, Abbie Venida-Yabot, a lactation counselor certified by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), toldSmartParenting.com.ph.
Latch before you leave for work, when you come home from work, all throughout the night, and all through weekends and holidays, says Abbie. And, while you’re at the office, express regularly. “As breastfeeding works on the law of supply and demand, it is important for your body to feel the demand even when baby is not around,” she explained. “It is ideal to express milk every two hours or as often as baby feeds, regardless of your output.”
It is different for every mother, and sometimes the milk can kick at day three or day five, says Claire Santos Mogol, a LATCH Philippines and Arugaan trained peer counselor. In her case, breastfeeding on demand round the clock made her mature milk came out. She also advises new moms, "Keep in mind that a baby’s tummy is very small. My sister, who is a pediatrician, assures me that a baby’s tummy size only need small but frequent feedings. She adds that the baby’s sucking will help make the colostrum come out and to stimulate the production of more breast milk."
Question 4 We get a wide-range of questions about contraceptive pills ranging from effectiveness, side effects and suggestions. Here’s one from a new mom that’s one of the most common:
I gave birth three months ago and had my first postpregnancy menstruation in September. I want to start taking my birth control pills again. Can I already? And how fast will they work?
First off, a breastfeeding mom should not take birth control pills that contain estrogen as it can interfere with breast milk supply, according to Dr. Natasha Balbas in a SmartParenting.com.pharticle.
On how soon to get back on the pill after pregnancy if a mom isn’t breastfeeding, Dr. Balbas said, “If you've been taking a combined oral contraceptive (both estrogen and progestin), doctors advise waiting about four weeks postpartum, to reduce the risk of blood clot formation and embolism.”
She added, “If you take the pills as directed, it should be effective immediately. It's also important to remember that the more closely you follow the instructions (i.e. taking it everyday at the same time, not skipping days, etc.), the more protection you'll receive.
However, for added safety, doctors often advise their patients to use another contraceptive method at the same time during the first month of use, as the pills may work slower in some women than others.”
Question 5 We get a lot of questions on ailments and medications.
“What should I/my baby take for [insert ailment, symptom or disease here]?” or “Can I give my baby [insert medication here]?”
In situations like this, it’s always best to ask your doctor. Your doctor knows your condition best and can assess your ailment or disease to prescribe you the right treatment. When it comes to your little ones, we all don’t want to take any chances.