Everyone seems to suddenly have an opinion on how you should take care of your newborn and breastfeeding is one of those unfortunate topics with too many heated debates, old wives’ tales, misinformation and illogical justifications.
Without doubt, yes breast milk is the ideal meal for newborns. It is packed with all essential nutrients in all the right amounts and also changes according to the baby’s necessities with growth, antibodies carried from mother to the baby helping them build a strong immune system hence it is rightfully called liquid gold.
Though breastfeeding seems like the most natural form of bonding to take place between a newborn and its mother, coupled with postpartum blues, exhaustion, other hormonal, psychological, financial and marital stressors, it is not as easy said as done.
Here we successfully bust some common breast-feeding myths we found that unnecessarily upsets new mothers due to the lack of knowledge!
01. “My baby cries even after a feed. I may not be producing enough milk and he is still hungry”
The only form of communication babies know is crying. They cry when they are too cold, too warm, over stimulated, tired or just want to be held.
If your baby is gaining weight adequately and passing enough urine, you are doing fine.
Immediately after birth, the mother produces colostrum, which is only about 3-4 tablespoons in quantity, which is more than sufficient for a neonate’s stomach. It is converted to mature milk only after day 3.
But also, the baby may not be getting enough milk from the mother due to incorrect attachment to the breast which needs to be rectified by a midwife or lactation nurse.
02. Small breasts only produce little milk.
The size of the breast depends on the amount of fatty and fibrous tissue in its composition whereas the amount of milk depends on the number of lactiferous glands in the breast. So, Bigger breasts don’t necessarily produce more milk!
03. Wash the breast prior to each feed.
Apart from basic personal hygiene, washing the breast too often is not recommended as washing off essential oils results in drying and cracking of nipples.
04. You can’t breastfeed when you or your baby is ill
As mentioned above breast milk is a mine full of antibodies, white blood cells, stem cells and protective enzymes, love and comfort, helping your baby heal faster!
It is so much so that it is recommended to get health advice to express and feed babies breast milk if they are too ill to suckle.
Similarly, though breast feeding feels like the last thing you want to do while you are ill, you are actually feeding your baby the immunity it needs as antibodies to protect itself from common illnesses.
But certain medication is contraindicated during breast feeding which would need the opinion of your physician.
05. Breast Milk is low in Iron
Unlike iron supplements, iron in breast milk contains enough iron for a full-term baby until the age of 6 months, and is completely absorbed in a baby’s gut .
06. Drinking Warm milk and or hot water increases your breast milk supply
As important as it is to stay hydrated and consume healthy food during breastfeeding, breast milk is produced on demand. Well, we have tips for you to increase your milk supply, but that is a topic for another day!
07. You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding – false!
Exclusively breastfeeding can be used as a form of birth control for a short while but it is not foolproof.
Simultaneously, if you get pregnant while breastfeeding, continuing to do so will not harm your current pregnancy, either! Oxytocin is released during breastfeeding but that is not enough to induce labor.
08. It is all or none!
If you opt to supplement your baby with formula milk, along with breast milk for convenience or due to other medical reasons, it is perfectly fine but mixed feeding can challenge your breast milk supply due to low demand.
How you choose to feed your baby is your personal choice. There are special occasions where the mother is ill with cancer and is on chemo-radiotherapy, has infections like tuberculosis or measles where avoiding breastfeeding is safest.
If you still need tips and advice on breastfeeding, our team is more than glad to attend to you and we are just one call away!