levelFeeding is the best source of nutrition for babies. Breast milk, also commonly known as ‘liquid gold’, is the life-saving elixir for all babies. There is always a conflict between the old idea of breastfeeding and the modern notions that exist with technological advances. Let’s debunk some of the big breastfeeding myths to raise awareness among new mothers and grandmothers alike.
Myth 1: Breastfeeding is always painful.
Breastfeeding should never be painful. The mother can feel a slight stretch in the breast tissue. Any kind of pain during breastfeeding is usually related to incorrect latching technique. Where the baby’s gums are pressed against the mother’s nipples.
To make breastfeeding completely comfortable, the mother must make sure that the baby’s gums are on the areola (the deep area around the nipple) and not just on the nipple. To get a good grip, the child must be able to take as much of the mouth as he can.
A breastfeeding expert can help the mother identify a good sitting position for breastfeeding. He can guide how to hold the baby correctly. To avoid traumatic damage to the nipples from the baby’s mouth.
Myth 2: Breasts need 2-3 hours of rest to regrow
Breast milk production does not work on time. In the first few days after birth, the production of breast milk depends on hormones (endocrine control) and then switches to a supply and demand cycle (autocrine control).
This basically means that most mothers breastfeed their babies as soon as possible after birth. Colostrum is produced from birth to 72 hours after birth, regardless of the method of delivery (normal or caesarean section). Abundant milk production after completion of 72 hours, heavy and full breasts, milk leakage etc.
After this, the production of mature milk takes about 5-7 days. Mature milk is also the milk that mothers will produce until they eventually stop nursing.
Mothers should know that as long as the baby drinks milk, the breasts are never empty. Breastfeeding the baby helps with milk production. So if the child has just eaten 20 minutes ago and demands to be fed again, the mother need not panic.
Myth 3: The left breast holds water and the right breast holds food. Therefore, the mother should breastfeed more than her right breast.
The production of breast milk is definitely a miracle and a mother’s superpower. This is a thing from the olden days when such tips were given to mothers. After advances in science, we have learned that the milk produced in both breasts is the same.
In fact, new mothers should know that when abundant milk production begins, the milk that comes at the beginning of each feed is a bit watery (the liquid that comes before milk). It is believed that it not only takes care of the hunger but also the thirst of the child.
The milk that comes when the breast is slightly empty is more fatty and takes care of the baby’s appetite and helps gain weight. This means that mothers should not switch between breasts repeatedly in the same feed.
Now the rule is that the babies have to have proper milk from one breast before giving the other breast to the mothers. Some babies can fill their bellies with just one breast. Some babies can drink milk from both breasts at once. Therefore, it is appropriate to say here that the child can decide how much milk to drink in one session.
Myth 4: Babies should only be fed for 20 minutes. No more than that.
When healthy, full-term, mature babies are breastfed, they are in complete control. They will drink as much as they need. In the early days, many babies can breastfeed for a longer period in a special session. While you are 2-3 months old, drink for short periods of 2-9 minutes per session.
There is no fixed rule regarding the duration of breastfeeding. Some babies are unable to nurse actively and fall asleep. Which makes it look like they are nursing for a long time. In the early days, it is a good way to understand whether the baby is being breastfed or not.
Depending on how hungry the baby really is, the time it takes for a feeding at each feeding can vary. Apart from the nutritional component of breastfeeding, parents and caregivers need to understand that the warmth, food and comfort that babies get from the breast. Breastfeeding is also known as a comfort food or a pacifier and is completely normal.
Myth 5: Most mothers are unable to produce enough milk for their babies, especially twins.
Breast milk is produced according to the cycle of supply and demand. Factors such as frequent feedings with the correct latch on, emptying the breast effectively help ensure and maintain a good milk supply. However, mothers of twins or triplets need support from other family members in addition to good nutrition. Family members, health care providers, and maternal support groups (mothers support groupsSupport can also encourage and support mothers to breastfeed easily in the first 6 months and continue breastfeeding for a year or more.
Myth 6: Breastfeeding is not possible after caesarean section because mothers lie on their backs and have trouble moving.
Feeding on the back can make it difficult for the mother to breastfeed independently. However, it is easier to breastfeed if she is supported by skilled nursing staff and breastfeeding consultants. Babies can be placed next to the mother on pillows so that they are level with the breasts. Babies can also be breastfed by placing them on the mother’s shoulder. If the mother is unable to move comfortably due to other complications, the lactation consultant can place the baby in an anatomical position using a nursing pillow. When the mother wakes up after giving birth and is too weak to hold the baby in her arms to breastfeed, she can be guided to breastfeed by leaning, using pillows to support the baby.
Myth 7: The mother’s diet plays a very important role in breastfeeding, or the baby may have a stomach ache.
This is one of the most prominent misconceptions and also one of the reasons why nursing mothers are forced to follow a very restricted diet. Most new mothers are told by family elders that if the mother consumes gas-causing foods, it can lead to gas and colic in babies. A mother is advised not to breastfeed immediately after a bath, as the temperature of the milk would change. New generation parents need to be assured that these are outright myths and a new mother should have a varied, balanced diet with everything unless she has other complications such as high blood pressure or gestational diabetes that warrant dietary restrictions.
Myth 8: Breastfeeding and bottle feeding your breast milk are the same
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding are not the same and can never be. Yes, when the mother is unable to breastfeed, or when the child is unable to breastfeed and breastfeed directly for some reason, breast milk is the next best option. But when the baby is naturally breastfed, the baby’s saliva comes into contact with the nipple, which signals the brain to produce the milk composition that the baby’s body needs. Therefore, if a baby suffering from diarrhea is breastfed, the milk produced by her mother will be rich in electrolytes to compensate for the loss caused by diarrhea. Expressing breast milk using a breast pump can be helpful for some mothers, but there is no general rule for all mothers to increase their milk supply.
Many mothers are advised to stop breastfeeding and give expressed milk in a bottle, so that the father or partner can be involved in the birthing process. The father or partner may be involved in ways to provide skin-to-skin contact and help and support the mother while she is nursing the baby and may also help burp or swaddle or massage the baby. Breastfeeding or formula can disrupt the breastfeeding process, as the baby can get used to the longer and larger bottle nipples and the faster flow of milk without the hassle of sucking. Bottle sucking and sucking on a mother’s breasts are very different and can potentially lead to the illusion of the nipple causing breastfeeding to stop earlier.
Myth 9: Any breastfeeding mother can easily produce her own milk using a breast pump.
There is such a tendency even among tech-savvy people to measure milk production. New parents and even some healthcare professionals need to understand that babies and breast pumps are not like that. In fact, normal, healthy, full-term babies are the best breast pumps. When a baby is breastfed, the mother’s body relaxes, she produces oxytocin, which helps her form a strong bond with this little bundle of joy. A breast pump can never match that. Mothers who are exclusively or primarily breastfeeding should never measure their supply in one pumping session as they may not be able to expel a significant amount. Breast pumps can only be used to deliver breast milk. When the mother feeds with a special pump and begins to worry about the milk supply from the pumping session. It worries her when she sees a decrease in milk supply with each pumping session.
Myth 10: Breasts and nipples must be cleaned before and after each feeding
The darker area around the nipples, also called the areola, produces a fluid that smells like amniotic fluid. This liquid contains ‘good bacteria’ and also helps moisturize the areola and nipples. The mother does not need to clean the breasts or nipples before and after feeding, as frequent cleaning dries out the nipple and areola tissue.