Breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for both the mother and the infant, because breast milk is healthy for the well-being of the body and the mind. It’s also a great method for mothers to maintain a healthy weight and even for preventing another pregnancy.

If this is your first experience with breastfeeding, however, you meet a lot of challenges such as keeping a healthy diet to produce enough milk for the baby. Here is an overview of the diet that a lactating mom should follow.

No Need for Special Diet

Some women wonder if they need to go on a special diet when breastfeeding, but the answer is that there is no need to follow any diet fad to produce better milk. You can still continue to enjoy the same food you enjoyed before you got pregnant, but there are some food you need to stay away from if they cause allergies or an upset stomach. You will know if the baby is allergic or intolerant to the food you eat if he/she exhibits the following: diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, hives, dry skin, eczema, wheezing, coughing, and production of green-colored stools with blood or mucus.

Stay Hydrated Always

Although the amount of water you take in will not affect your breast milk production, getting dehydrated will be bad for you. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty before replenishing your fluids. You should also limit your intake of alcoholic drinks, artificially-sweetened beverages with added sugars, and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee. Alcohol and caffeine when taken in moderation will not be bad for your baby, so limit your coffee or tea to two cups a day and your alcohol to one glass or less.

You Might Need Supplements

If you stick to a vegan diet, your baby might not get enough vitamin B12, which can lead to a lot of developmental problems. While vitamin B12 supplements might be an option, you might want to switch to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for the duration of your breastfeeding experience, because you will be feeding not just yourself but your baby as well.

Medications, Alcohol, and Smoking

If you are taking medications or will be required to take medications, don’t forget to inform your doctor in Singapore if you are breastfeeding. Some medications are safe for the baby, but others can have nasty side-effects. Mothers are also advised to stay away from alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, tobacco, and dangerous drugs when having a baby. If you have problems with any of these, ask for advise from your doctor on how to minimize or to quit your addiction.

Watch Your Diet and Calorie Intake

Ideally, a breastfeeding mom should have a recommended daily intake of 1,800 to 2,400 calories. It’s also okay to eat once every four hours to keep a normal blood sugar level, consuming one or two of the following food groups: vegetables: four to seven servings daily; fruits: three to five servings daily; dairy: two to three servings daily; whole grains: four to seven servings daily; and lean protein: two to three servings daily. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite treats, however, as long as you eat in moderation.

Ever wondered what those wart-like protuberances are on your skin, especially on the neck and armpits? They are known by many names, but most dermatologists in Singapore refer to them collectively as skin tags.

Causes of Skin Tags

Some of the names for skin tags include soft fibromas, filiform, acrochordons, papillomas, fibroepithelial polyps, and pedunculated. These names also describe the distinct features of some of the skin tags. They may look like warts but are not, and are made from blood vessels and collagen fibers covered by either a thin or thick layer of epidermis.

Generally, they have the same color as the person’s skin and can be as small as 1 mm in diameter, while the largest can grow as much as 5 cm in diameter. It is not yet clear what causes skin tags, but they are generally harmless.

Some factors, however, might increase a person’s chances of getting them; such as, irritation and chafing, that is why most skin tags are found where skin rubs against skin (groin, neck, and armpits); insulin resistance or the disease known as syndrome X; human papillomavirus (HPV); and elevated levels of growth factors during hormonal change or if the person suffers from gigantism. They are also more common among people who are overweight or obese or those who have type 2 diabetes.

Treatment and Removal

Other skin diseases might look like skin tags, such as viral warts, molluscum contagiosum, and seborrheic keratoses, that is why you need to consult a doctor if you want to have them removed. Skin tags are not signs of a deadly disease nor will it cause any harm to your body, but they appear nasty and disgusting to some people.

Skin tags can sometimes form clusters, making the appearance even more horrifying. Besides the aesthetic concerns, skin tags can get irritated or infected and must be removed before it can lead to a more serious medical concern. Before a skin tag can be removed, the doctor needs to examine them to determine if they are skin tags or not. Some might recommend a biopsy to rule out the possibility of cancer if the skin tag is unusually large in size.

There are various ways to remove skin tags safely; such as, surgical excision using scissors, electrosurgery or diathermy, cryotherapy or freezing, and ligation or tying a suture on the skin tag. Some people, however, prefer over-the-counter solutions to skin tags because they are more affordable, but this is generally frowned upon by medical practitioners because you need to rule out the possibility of other diseases.

Some remove the skin tags by tying them off to cut off the blood flow using a string or a dental floss. The skin tag will fall off eventually after a day when you leave the string on. There are also some approved skin tag removal devices sold at pharmacies for removing more than one skin tag at a time.