Breastfeeding: Facts And Fiction
ManipalHospitals • August 5, 2018 • 0 Comment
Breastfeeding is nature’s way of giving infants a perfect food to fuel their physical and mental growth. This topic has gained a lot of traction in recent years, what with reams of online pages dedicated to eulogizing its benefits. While these are valuable sources of information, much of it can also end up confusing mothers. Let us clear the air and separate facts from fiction.
Myth 1: Frequent nursing implies insufficient milk supply.
Fact: Breastmilk is an easily digestible food for infants. Therefore, they need to feed every two or three hours to meet their bodily requirements. A more credible way to assess if they are getting enough milk is by monitoring their weight gain and diaper output. If these parameters are normal there is no cause for alarm.
Myth 2: Smaller breasts means there won’t be enough milk for the baby.
Fact: The amount of milk produced depends on the milk making cells and ducts present in the breast, while the shape and size of the breast is due to the presence of fatty tissues. There is no correlation between the shape and size of the breast and the quantity of milk supply.
Myth 3: Pain during breastfeeding is normal.
Fact: Some tenderness in the nipple and a tingling sensation is normal during the initial days, but prolonged pain should not be ignored and a visit to a lactation consultant is recommended. Usually, this problem arises due to improper latching by the baby.
Myth 4: Breastfeeding impacts the size and shape of the breasts.
Fact: Some changes might be noticed after breastfeeding, but the real cause is pregnancy and not the nursing. The age and BMI of the mother also plays a role in the likelihood of sagging.
Myth 5: Breastfeeding must be avoided in case of any surgery or intake of medications.
Fact: This is not always true. Breastfeeding might still be okay in cases of surgeries like breast reduction, implants etc. It depends on whether the milk-secreting glands are affected or not. In such cases, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
Myth 6: Babies should not be woken up for breastfeeding.
Fact: New-borns and infants require constant nourishment, preferably every two or three hours, except during night time. This ensures a steady supply of milk when the baby needs it.
Myth 7: Breastfed babies must not be given an occasional bottle as it will lead to confusion.
Fact: Unless the baby is less than six weeks old, it is perfectly fine to feed occasionally through a bottle. For babies aged less than six weeks, feeding through bottle is not advisable.
Myth 8: Only bland foods should be consumed during breastfeeding.
Fact: There is no evidence to prove that spicy and gas inducing foods such as peppers, broccoli etc. affect the quality of milk produced. During digestion, the food is thoroughly broken down and will not pass into the breast milk.
Myth 9: Breastfeeding must always be scheduled.
Fact: Every baby has its own individual feeding pattern. At the end of the day, it is the baby’s needs and not the clock which should be heeded.
Myth 10: Breastfed babies become clingy and dependent later on in life.
Fact: In fact, just the opposite. Studies have shown that babies who have formed a bond with the mother during breastfeeding have a greater tendency to grow up into independent individuals later on in life.
Benefits Of Breastfeeding
There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding, both for the mother as well as the child. Here are a few of them:
Benefits for the baby:
- It helps in better mental development of the baby.
- It lowers the risk of diabetes in the newborn.
- It protects the child against different conditions such as ear and chest infections, wheezing, diarrhea, gastroenteritis and stomach upsets.
- It leads to better mouth formation and straighter teeth.
- It results in lesser eczema.
Benefits for the mother:
- It lowers the risk of ovarian cancer.
- It lowers the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.
- It helps build stronger bones in the later stages of life.
- It helps in a faster return to pre-pregnancy figure.
Aside from these, another huge plus point of breastfeeding is that it is environmentally friendly. It involves no extra use of water, doesn't require extra energy and money, doesn't result in pollution or involve production of wastes and entails no packaging and transport.
In view of the above facts, it is important to note that breastfeeding is highly recommended for proper development of an infant. The comfort and happiness of the mother and the child is of paramount importance and should be considered above all else. << back