Is there a time when you suddenly need to go to the bathroom but your little one is hungry and crying at that particular moment? Some mothers might encounter this unlikely situation with their babies. But, is it really safe to feed your baby in a bathroom while doing your business in a bathroom?
In this article, we will discuss the connection between breastfeeding and urinating or defecating/pooping, the potential risks of breastfeeding in the bathroom, and some ways on how to safely breastfeed your baby during these uncomfortable situations.
Breastfeeding and Urinating / Defecating
If you are breastfeeding your baby but feeling the urge to go to the bathroom to urinate or defecate, then you are not alone because this phenomenon also happens to most breastfeeding moms out there. So, what is the connection between breastfeeding and urinating or defecating? There is a hormone called oxytocin which is a powerful contracting neuropeptide or neurohormone that affects milk ejection reflex and uterine contraction. That’s why some breastfeeding women have a similar sensation when they defecate or urinate. The oxytocin receptors on the uterus could stimulate the release of urine while it stimulates milk ejection reflex.
Moreover, it also demonstrates high intrinsic contractile activity on the detrusor muscle of the bladder which is a part of micturition or the process of urination. When this part contracts, an urge to urinate occurs. Also, when moms have nipple stimulation during the breastfeeding of their babies, oxytocin is released from the pituitary gland in their brains to trigger a letdown or milk ejection reflex and also stimulate an urge to urinate or defecate.
Based on the book Encyclopedia of Human Ecology, milk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis so as the baby nurses more, this stimulates the production of more milk, and the mother’s body is able to keep up with the nutritional needs of her growing child. Weight gain and elimination patterns such as urination and defecation easily allow the mother to determine if her baby is getting enough to eat.
Risks of Breastfeeding in the Bathroom
Although this situation seems to be normal for many breastfeeding moms, there are some potential risks of breastfeeding your baby while you are urinating or defecating. There are many harmful bacteria and microbes that exist in the bathroom that can cause illnesses such as salmonella, strep throat, staph infections, etc. Some of the well-known bathroom germs are E.Coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus Aureus.
These annoying and pesky germs can survive for hours after each flush of a toilet and hours after a shower as well. Also, germs and bacteria from the toilet bowl can travel as far as 6 feet around the room, coming to land on the floor, the sink, and even your toothbrush. Plus, a research study also revealed that there is an average of 200 million bacteria per square inch on each hand after you visit the bathroom.
How to Safely Breastfeed Your Baby During These Situations
In this section, we will provide some useful ways on how to safely breastfeed your baby if you suddenly get through these uncomfortable situations of urinating or defecating.
- Experts recommend that hand-washing with warm and soapy water for 20-30 seconds thoroughly while counting your ABCs twice is one of the best ways to keep you away from the germs and bacteria around the bathroom.
- Make sure that you are regularly clean and sanitize your overall bathroom. To maintain good hygiene, regular care, and maintain your bathrooms.
- When flushing, close the toilet lid to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria and microbes.
- If you will use public bathrooms when you are outside, wipe down the public toilet seats with toilet paper and disinfectants like alcohol. Then, wash your hands thoroughly.
- Ask for some help from the people around you, especially your family or friends.
- Thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands post-wipe, before you handle your baby so that you can breastfeed him or her safely.
If your little one happens to cry because of hunger at the same time that you feel the urge to go to the bathroom, don’t worry that your child might get sick when you go there because it’s alright to breastfeed at the same time as long as you keep yourselves clean after you used the bathroom and before your hold your baby. Also, it is best to have someone like your spouse/partner, family member, or friend to keep an eye on your baby while you go to the bathroom.