1. How can I tell if my baby is allergic to my breast milk? Breast milk is hypoallergenic. While it’s possible that a baby may develop an allergic reaction to a food ingested by his mother, breast milk itself is unlikely to cause any allergies. In fact, it is the milk of choice for children with known allergies.
2. Can a lactose intolerant baby take breast milk? Yes, breast milk is the ideal milk for lactose-intolerant babies.
3. Can I let other babies drink my breast milk? The ideal substitute to a mother’s own milk is donor breast milk. There are certain guidelines for the screening of breast milk donors such as checking for HIV, Hepatitis B, and other viruses. Pasteurization of breast milk which is performed at certain hospitals and milk banks is an added safety measure. It is also important to follow guidelines for proper milk storage to keep the unique properties of breast milk intact, and to keep milk clean and safe.
4. Are some moms’ milk more nutritious than others? For example, is the quality of the milk of a woman eating all the proper food the same as the milk produced by a woman who doesn’t? While the individual components of breast milk from a single person may vary through time, within the day, and even within a feeding, the caloric content of breast milk is standard at 20 kcal/oz. It is unusual for someone to produce milk with higher or lower calories regardless of their diet.
5. If I decide not to breastfeed but change my mind later on, can I still do so? Generally speaking, there’s no window of time; anybody can lactate. Even an adoptive mother who did not go through pregnancy can lactate. The real question is, how difficult will it be? If it’s not through the normal course of pregnancy, it will be harder. The mom will probably need help from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or a breastfeeding counselor. It’s not easy, but it can be done. It’s possible but not advisable. The same rule applies to moms who start out by giving their babies formula and eventually want to switch to breastmilk. With the help of an IBCLC or a counselor, she’ll probably be able to do so.