Busting the Myths on Breastfeeding
Here are top ten facts to bust ten common myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding:
1. You got milk. The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk for their babies. In fact, overabundance of milk is common. For six months, the baby gets all the nutrition it requires from your breast milk to support proper growth and development. It is not even necessary to give the baby water even on a hot day.
2. Sucking is instinctive for your baby. Your baby will not refuse to breastfeed. To get you both off to a good start, begin nursing within the first hour of birth when your baby is awake and instinct is strong. If the baby seems to be not getting enough milk, it’s usually because the baby is improperly latched. That’s why it’s important to learn how to position and latch your baby. Remember that the more you breastfeed, the more your brain is signaled to produce more milk.
3. Colostrum is your baby’s first immunization. This is the yellowish-fluid that comes out of your breasts a few days after giving birth that is very rich in nutrients and anti-bodies. The oldwives tale that it is “spoiled milk” is ridiculously untrue. Again, learn how to properly position and latch even before you give birth so your baby receives your colostrum. Read more about colostrum here.
4. It is common to feel soreness in your nipples and tenderness in your breasts when breastfeeding. You should experience this only in the first few days you when you and your baby are learning to perfect breastfeeding. With the proper techniques in positioning, along with practice and patience, you and your baby will be able to make breastfeeding a relaxing experience. As your milk supply increases, your breasts become engorged or full. You might even feel feverish. Breastfeeding or expressing milk manually or with a pump will relieve you. If there is more than pain in your nipples or breasts that lasts beyond 5 to 6 days, consult a doctor for possible plugged milk ducts, mastitis, or yeast infection.
5. Size does not matter. The quantity of breast milk is produced on a “supply and demand” basis and not on the size of your breasts. The more frequent your baby suckles or you express milk, the more your body will produce milk.
6. It is generally safe to breastfeed even if you are sick. There are very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely while breastfeeding. A small amount of medicines appear in the milk but usually in very small quantities that there is no need for concern. Taking paracetamol, for example, is safe and will not affect the baby while breastfeeding. If you are concerned with other illnesses, contact your doctor or lactation consultant. You should always consider the loss of the benefits that breastfeeding provide if you are weighing your decision to discontinue.
7. Breastfeeding does not make your breasts sag. Age does.
8. Breastfeeding relaxes you and your baby. Even if you are tired, you can continue to breastfeed. Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin, which allows you to feel calm and soothed. In fact, breastfeeding provides you rest, as it requires you to sit or lie down with your baby.
9. You can continue drinking coffee or wine. But limit only to a cup or two or an occasional glass.
10. You can continue to breastfeed even when you go back to work. Express milk at work and exclusively breastfeed when you are with your baby. This will keep your milk production continuous. A little preparation and planning before going back to work allows you to build your milk supply and guide your caregiver on how to feed your baby stored breast milk.
Now you know, be a Breastfeeding Pinay!