As soon as you deliver your baby, you will be inundated with suggestions and advice regarding every aspect of raising your baby including breast feeding. It is therefore, very important for every expectant mother to find out all the facts on breast feeding in advance, to be able to combat the myths and stay firm on her decision to breastfeed her baby.
Myths about breastfeeding
Belief: There is not enough breast milk
Myth: This is not true. Babies actually require very small amounts of milk. This is important to realize, as mothers produce less milk initially. The most important part of establishing a good milk supply is effective and frequent milk removal from the breast during the baby’s first weeks of life. It is important to have the breasts drained well and often by the baby breastfeeding.
The supply and demand response is a feedback control system that regulates the production of milk to match the intake of the infant. Every time your baby feeds, your body prepares to make the next feed. The amount of milk that you develop will increase or decrease depending upon how much your baby takes in each time.
Myth: There is not enough milk in the first 3-4 days after birth
Fact: In the first few days, fortunately, newborns do not require much fluid and their kidneys are not initially able to handle large volumes of fluid. Their mothers’ breasts usually contain only small amounts of the very important fluid, colostrum; 5-10 cc per feed. Colostrum is higher in protein and minerals, and lower in fat, carbohydrates and some vitamins compared to mature breastmilk and ideally suited to baby’s requirements. It has immunoglobulins (mostly IgA) that provide the all-important anti-infective protection for the baby. It also acts a laxative to help the baby pass meconium and it is easily digested
Myth: Giving the breast a breastfeeding ‘rest’ can help ensure more milk
Fact: This is a myth. Breastfeeding actually increases your milk supply. There is a supply and demand control system to increase the amount of milk produced depending on how much the bay has fed. Giving your breasts a break will actually reduce the amount of milk produced.
Myth: Formula fed babies sleep better
Fact: This is a myth. There is no correlation between the two. How well babies sleep has nothing to do with what milk they have been fed. In fact the bonding between the mother and baby that develops while breastfeeding, makes the baby emotionally secure and calmer. It is important to maintain a close physical contact and connection with your baby even if you need to formula feed them for any reason.
Myth: Breastfed babies shouldn’t take an occasional bottle or they may become confused and stop feeding
Fact: This rarely happens. While you should avoid formula milk if you can, you may need to give expressed breast milk. However, while feeding cuddle the baby even when you bottle feed him or her as the bonding time is nearly just as crucial as the feeding time.
Belief: Breast feeding helps you shed the weight gained during pregnancy.
Fact: True, breastfeeding helps you return faster to your pre-pregnancy weight. Another benefit for mothers is that breast feeding helps your uterus return to the weight and size it was in before pregnancy faster, reducing the bleeding and preventing anaemia.
Belief: Breastfeeding prevents you from getting pregnant
Fact: True. Using breastfeeding as birth control can be effective for six months after delivery only if a woman does not substitute other foods for a breast milk feed and feeds her baby at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night and has not had a period since she delivered her baby. While a woman is continuously breastfeeding, her body does not make a hormone that is necessary for ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). Pregnancy cannot happen if an egg is not released. Sometimes called the Lactational Amenorrhoea method of birth control, 2 out of 100 women will become pregnant within 6 months is not carried out correctly.
Myth: Small breasts do not produce as much milk as large breasts
Fact: Your breast’s size depends on the amount of fatty tissue it contains. It has nothing to do with the amount of milk you produce. Both small and big breasted women are able to make the amount of milk that their baby needs as the milk is produced by the glandular tissue in the breast. The more you breastfeed, the more milk your breasts produce.