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Wrong massaging of infants causes chest apsies: Doctors

| JOYEETA CHAKRAVORTY
Published Nov 23, 2014, 9:04 am IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 12:18 pm IST
Baby massage is done to create a positive sleep routine
Bengaluru: What happens when some much sought after traditional methods of massage for infants goes wrong? Chest apsies which doctors believe is a result of wrong massaging techniques, along with the removal of witch’s milk (Galactorrhea in the newborn) during massage, leads to infection in the chest and also septic shock infection in the blood. “New-borns have a breast swelling because of maternal hormones which disappear in a week or two as it is a natural phenomenon. However, massagers and house-maids who take care of the baby on noticing the swelling squeeze it which is not correct,” informs Dr Ranganathan, Senior Consultant, Neonatologist at Narayana Health City. 
 
“I have personally witnessed 5-6 cases of chest apsies in the past few months, among infants within seven to fourteen days of birth,” Dr Ranganathan added.Baby massage is done to create a positive sleep routine and aids in the bonding process between parent and baby. However, since most new parents these days happen to be working professionals, with no idea about infant massages, they seek help of nurses and house-maids, who coax them into such methods, which often causes chest apsies or mastitis neonatorum.
 
According to pediatricians, chest apsies which is also known as ‘neonatal mastitis’ or ‘neonatal breast abscess’ is result of myths. “For newborns we do not allow massaging of the breast, it is a myth or a traditional belief that milk should be removed out of baby’s breast. But it is not at all recommended in medical practice,” warned Dr Karthik Nagesh, Chairman and HOD, Neonatal Pediatrics, Manipal Hospitals, Bengaluru, who also offers a solution saying, “even if the baby’s breasts are swollen all we need to do is a warm water fomentation to the breast for 2 or 3 times a day. The swelling would resolve on its own.”
 
Dr Lakshmipathi, paediatrician of KC General Hospital said he sees some two or three cases every month. “Since the awareness of first-time parents is low about massage, we do see cases of chest apsies. Many people follow the traditional practice and squeeze out baby’s milk which leads to secondary bacterial infection leading to resulting in breast abscess,” said Dr Lakshmipati.
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