Learning the facts from the myths when it comes to breastfeeding will put a lot of you new mothers at ease. Today we will be exploring and debunking popular myths about breastfeeding while pointing out the facts as well.
The process of breastfeeding is the responsibility of the mother while it’s the right of every child. There are quite a lot of myths surrounding breastfeeding and breastmilk. Per UNICEF, cultural, economic and social factors play a part in these myths being formed.
Breast milk is the perfect food for a baby’s first six months of life. It provides the ideal nutrition for the baby because it contains all the nutrients needed in the right amounts, easily digested and readily available.
Each child should fully benefit from breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life. After the first 6 months, breastfeeding should continue with complementary feeding. Breastmilk has all the nutrients and very important antibodies needed for the baby during their early life, for better and healthy growth.
Nutritional properties of breast milk are unique, and it includes the right amounts of protein, iron, other micronutrients, and essential fatty acids needed for the development of the brain. Colostrum, the substance produced in the first few days of life, contains a high amount of vitamin A, which is essential for the optimum development of the infant’s eyes, skin, mucous membranes, and immune system. Breastfeeding promotes a healthy weight gain for the baby also.
Here are 10 myths and facts of breastfeeding popular in most societies:
1. Myth: Mothers believe that the baby needs more water when the climate gets hot.
Fact: This is not true. Breast milk has enough water amount for the baby. So, there is no need for you to give additional water.
2. Myth: Mothers with small breasts or flat inverted nipples can’t breastfeed successfully.
Fact: It is not true. Size of your breast is not a factor, and babies can be breastfed well from any size of the breast. The shape or size of your nipple also does not affect the milk production.
3. Myth: It is not good to breastfeed your baby when you are ill (fever, cold, cough).
Fact: Depending on the severity of the illness, mothers can continue breastfeeding while having medications. Usually, antibodies produced inside the body will pass on to the baby’s body and will build his or her own defenses.
4. Myth: Some mothers believe that, washing nipples before breastfeeding is necessary.
Fact: There is no need to wash your nipples before breastfeeding. At birth, babies are already very familiar with their mother’s smells and sounds. Nipples produce a substance that has ‘good bacteria’ and helps to build babies’ own healthy immune system while that smells familiar to the baby.
5. Myth: Mothers should eat plain food while breastfeeding.
Fact: It is not true. You need to eat a balanced diet like everyone. There is no need for you to change the usual food habits and avoid certain foods. A variety of foods gives a variety of nutrients needed for your body’s growth. Babies are familiarized with their mothers’ food preferences since they are in the womb.
6. Myth: Breastfeeding mothers exercising will affect the taste of the milk.
Fact: Doing exercises is healthy for all including breastfeeding mothers. No evidence has been found that exercising affects the taste of breast milk.
7. Myth: Many mothers can’t produce enough milk for the baby.
Fact: It is not true. You produce enough amount of milk for your babies. The main determination for breastmilk production is how well the baby is attached to the breast, the frequency of breastfeeding and how well the baby is sucking milk.
8. Myth: Mothers can’t take medications during breastfeeding.
Fact: You can take medicines. But you need to have your doctor informed about breastfeeding, so he can prescribe suitable medicine. Stop getting medicine over the counter. There are safe medicine and safe doses to have during breastfeeding.
9. Myth: Some mothers believe breastfeeding will affect with their figure.
Fact: It is not true. Breastfeeding helps to burn extra fat inside the body and helps to lose weight and so get a good figure.
10. Myth: Composition of breast milk changes with time.
Fact: That is true. When the baby grows, nutritional requirements change. The composition of breast milk changes according to that. After six months you need to start complementary feeding along with breast milk in order to fulfill nutritional requirements because breast milk can’t fulfill all increasing nutritional needs alone.
Breastfeeding is a key determinant to the health and well-being of both child and mother. It helps to space children, reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer and it is a secure way of feeding and is safe for the environment. Overall, Breastfeeding is an investment in the future health of our children and adults.