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Common Breastfeeding Myths and Misconceptions
It can be difficult at times to breastfeed since every baby's needs are different. Here's the good news: we make it easy to access the information you need at the right time. In an effort to help you along the way, we've gathered a few myths and facts that can help you.
Breastfeeding Myths & Facts:
1. Women with smaller breasts will not produce enough milk for the baby.
Size doesn’t affect the amount of milk you produce in any way.
2. Your nipples should be washed before every feed.
Breastfeeding is a natural process, washing your nipples could get rid of natural protective oils.
3. It Is easier to bottle feed than breastfeed.
The difficulty in breastfeeding often occurs during the early days, but once it is established, it is easier and more convenient than any alternative.
4. Nursing should be stopped If the mother has an infection.
A mother’s well-developed immune system can make antibodies to combat her infection much more easily than a child’s can and those antibodies are transmitted to the child through her natural breast milk.
5. If the mother has to take medicines, she should stop breastfeeding.
Fact: Mostly False. Very few drugs taken by the mother could go on to actually harm the child, and those that may, usually have alternatives!
6. Mother should eat only bland foods during breastfeeding months.
Fact: As for the taste of foods, differences in the taste of your milk are usually so slight that the baby wouldn’t notice.
7. Breastfeeding is akin to natural contraception.
If you do not want to get pregnant, do not count on the fact that you are breastfeeding to be a reliable form of birth control. The truth behind the myth is that, if these three conditions are met:
Your baby is exclusively breastfed (around the clock)
It is less than 6 months since the delivery
Your periods haven’t resumed
Your body does have an extremely low chance of getting pregnant – it is 98% safe. However, this ‘lactation amenorrhea’ is highly dependent on the balance of hormones in your body and a reduction of breastfeeding time per day will soon affect your amenorrhea.
8. Breastfeeding alone is not enough for babies
Almost all women who breastfeed only in the early weeks, meaning no formula or other fluids, produce enough milk to satisfy a baby. Breastfeeding works by supply and demand—the more you breastfeed, the more milk your body makes. It’s important that your baby gets all of her milk directly from your breasts and that she can feed as often as she needs to during her first days. Not only will your baby get off to a healthy start, but your body will also learn to produce enough milk to help her keep growing.
9. If my baby cries, it probably means I’m not making enough milk.
Nope! Babies cry for many different reasons. It’s normal. When your baby cries, it’s his way of telling you that something needs to be different. Your baby may be hungry, or he may need to be held, soothed, burped, or have a diaper change.
10. Breastfeeding is something new mothers will know whether it works for them. If it does not happen organically, they should not try too hard.
Breastfeeding takes practice, and the early days can sometimes be difficult for the mother and newborn. Every new mother and infant team is unique, and figuring out what works best for each team takes some time. Practice for a few days, and you both are sure to find out what rhythm and technique work best for you. If you still face issues, contact the hospital staff or a lactating consultant for more help.
11. After birth, it is a good idea to separate the infant from the mother so that she can rest.
Medical staff worldwide have often encouraged the practice of skin-to-skin immediately after birth as it is a critical moment of bonding between the two. It also helps the baby find and attach to the breast, which is why breastfeeding for one hour before birth is highly recommended. The first milk a baby receives from its mother is called colostrum. It is beneficial in building the baby's immune system as they are very high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and immunoglobulins (antibodies). It's often called "liquid gold" because it has a lot of valuable benefits, besides being golden in colour.
12. Formula milk is the same as breast milk.
This is a complete myth as breast milk is not comparable to formula milk. While formula milk is fine for a baby, there is no denying breast milk is the perfect food for them. Not only is it full of all the required nutrients, but breast milk also prepares the baby's stomach for food by coating and closing the regular openings in the lining of their intestine. Breast milk is easy to digest and provides infants with all the necessary nutrients they need for growing up properly.
13. Don't wake up a baby to breastfeeding.
This is not true unless your baby is older than three months and has an established routine for breastfeeding. An infant tends to sleep quite a bit in the initial days after birth. To create a routine for breastfeeding and provide the required energy, mothers will need to wake their infants for the process. If you allow your newborns to sleep through breastfeeding sessions, they will become sleepier, which can become an issue later. From the beginning, mothers must provide their infants with a feeding routine and get used to the process.