Breastfeeding is the most beautiful thing a mother can do for a healthy start of a child. But unfortunately (specially in India) we have lot of myths revolving around it. Yes, am not a lactation expert but yes while I was breastfeeding my lo for one year, there were lots of do’s and don’ts suggested to me by my mother-in-law and my mom. And just like any urban mom, I did not buy any of their guidelines blindly, I checked with my gynaec, my friends in medical field, lactation expert provided by hospital and one of our elderly member of family who practices medicine since 25 years.
There is no doubt that Breastfeeding is ‘The BEST’ source of nutrition a new born child can avail, but by decoding the following common myths, your journey begins with your child beautifully with hassle free breastfeeding and loving experience.Following are the 10 common myths decoded for our new moms and moms-to-be reader.
Myth#1 Pain is normal :
No breastfeeding should not be painful. Breastfeeding can’t be always pleasant, but it doesn’t mean that it should hurt. There could be many reasons for the pain, may be your nursing position is not correct or be your lo is not latched properly to the nipple or may be your lo isn’t sucking properly. Lot of lactation experts recommend to natural nursing position like letting the mother recline with her baby resting his weight against her body.
Myth# 2 Prep your breast for easy Breastfeeding :
This is the most common myth, but is the fact that your body naturally prepares for breastfeeding. And some tips and tactics to prep them would actually interfere with normal lactation. It is always a good step to attend pre-natal classes which educates you about do’s and don’ts of Breastfeeding but apart from it no other prep is required. Yes there are some exercises (to ease the pain at neck and back while breastfeeding) for hassle free breastfeeding but ‘Nipples need not to be toughened.
Myth# 3 If bottles introduced to a Nursing baby, they might get NIPPLE CONFUSION :
Yes! most of them have had told me about this ‘Nipple confusion’ on introducing bottle feed to lo while i was also breastfeeding her. In fact it was also suggested by my Pediatrician. I intended to get back to work so I had introduced the bottle feed once in a day to her (So that she does not starve till I return). While introducing bottle feed, I did speak to my lactation expert provided by the hospital, she simply said newborns suck on a nipple, but suckle at the breast and the difference between the two actions rarely will confuse your little one. The issue when they refuse to take milk is ‘Bad-Latch’ when they are not able to suck milk and they get cranky and cry. If you think you need to supplement your baby’s feedings (particularly if you plan to return to work before you finish nursing), then you should introduce baby to a breast milk bottle between 2 to 6 weeks of age. Use it for one feedings a day. Your baby will develop the skills necessary to bottle feed without losing the ability to feed at the breast. You should primarily use breast milk bottles, hold, and hold your baby close (the way you use to breastfeed) to your body to cuddle. It’s the bonding time that matters almost as much as the actual feeding.
Myth#4 Formula Milk is same as breast-milk :
NO! Modern formula Milk is nothing but pseudous are only superficially similar to breastmilk. And every added element is marketed as an advance element by the advertisers like rich in iron, minerals, D3 and so on. Basically Formulas are nothing but the artificial formula created to taste similar to milk and same consistency like breastmilk. But it contains no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. And yes they of course contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium, lead and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. While breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby, formulas are made to suit every baby.
Myth#5 Breastfeeding changes the shape and size of your breast :
No! Breasts will always change in consistency after pregnancy. Moreover, factors like age, the effects of gravity, and weight gain have more effect on breast size than Breastfeeding. Most women find that their breasts go back to their pre-pregnancy size and shape after they stop nursing. While pregnancy does somewhat alter the look and feel of your breasts, experts say breastfeeding does not cause any changes beyond that.
Myth#6 Small Breast Do not produce adequate Milk:
This is the most common myth that small breasts don’t produce as much milk as large ones. Breast size has nothing to do with the amount of milk they produce. A healthy mom will always produce good amount of milk more than sufficient to feed her little one. The size of the breast has nothing to do with the amount of milk produced by moms.
Myth#7 All babies should be weaned once they turn one :
When to stop breastfeeding is a highly personal decision and varies considerably according to custom and individual preferences. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire.
Myth#8 It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed :
Not true! However, breastfeeding is considered to be a difficult phase by many new moms but the reason is not the feeding process but they did not receive the help they should to get started properly. An excellent support system and a conducive environment at home by family members and peers would encourage any new mom to feed her child peacefully. But with no support for household chores or other responsibility or may laundry stress may discourage mom feed her child as her most is consumed by household chores. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome by strong support from your partner, and also learn to say no for task you cannot do and no shame in asking help from others too..
Myth#9 Breastfeeding makes the mother homing bird :
Lot of urban moms think that the breastfeeding might tie them down restricted home. Not true! But it depends more on the mother as an individual and how she looks at it. Here in India yes we are restricted to quite a few or no options to feed our lo in common places. But there are lot of options like breastfeeding pillows, sling carrier,, baby wrap, breastfeeding friendly tops/kurti. You can make use of it and continue feeding your child at the nearest washroom/ladies room available at malls or departmental shops or resturant. Yes i’ve done that and I also remember feeding her by carrying her on breastfeeding pillow and sitting on couch/sofa available at ladies room. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because she is with you.
Myth #10 Breastfeeding prevents you from getting pregnant :
La Leche League International experts say hormones involved in breastfeeding prevent ovulation, thereby blocking your ability to conceive for up to 14 or 15 months following delivery. But it does not mean that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding. However, experts do believe breastfeeding is 98% effective — similar to other forms of birth control. While it’s true that breastfeeding prevents ovulation in some women, it is not a reliable form of birth control. Talk to your doctor about an acceptable form of contraception.