|November 14, 2009||Posted by Mabel under Breastfeeding, Info, Parenthood|
Although I haven’t been breastfeeding for long, I have come across a number of breastfeeding myths that I need to address because a lot of new mothers go through misery as a result of thinking/listening to such nonsense! What’s worse is that they shun breastmilk and resort to formula – which I feel isn’t the best for young babies (especially premies) despite what other people may think (“if it’s not good, why would companies make formula and sell them?” “it’s not all that bad”). Yes, formula is alright IF you really REALLY really have no milk and cannot breastfeed your baby despite all your attempts and education on the subject matter.
Anyway, here are the common myths I’ve came across:
I have small breasts so I won’t be able to breastfeed my baby.
The size of your breasts does not matter when it comes to whether you are able to breastfeed your baby or not. Breast milk production is determined by the quantity of milk ducts in your breasts whereas breast size is determined by the quantity of fat tissue. Just because you have small boobs, it doesn’t mean that your sisters are not capable of producing milk. Likewise, just because you have big boobs, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have too much milk.
Milk comes in right after delivery OR My milk is not in yet, so I must not have any for my baby.
We are not machines whereby you press a button and voila, you get sprays of milk. The body needs time to tell the milk ducts and your sisters that there is a baby who needs milk. The hormone prolactin is produced by the body after the birth of a baby and stimulation from a baby nursing is vital to increase the amount and send the signal to the brain to say “hello, milk production needs to step up”. BUT even then, your true milk won’t come in until a few days after delivery. Why? Because your baby needs something even more nutritious to fill his very small tummy – a person’s stomach is the size of their fist so imagine just how small your baby’s tummy is – and that something is colostrum which is packed with antibodies and all the goodness he needs in his first week.
A baby is designed to take some weight loss after birth; this is why in the third trimester, all pregnant women report a huge jump in weight gain – this is when a baby packs on fat that he’ll need in the first week of his life while mummy’s milk is still coming in. By giving your baby formula and satisfying him, you only teach him to NOT suckle and thus, you send a signal to your brain saying that there is no demand for milk so don’t produce any.
The females in my family did not have enough milk to breastfeed, so it must be the same for me.
The ability to breastfeed is not tied to our genes. It could be that your sister, mother or aunts and other female relatives took the wrong approach to breastfeeding by not nursing often in the first few days or that they took substances that interfere with milk production such as diuretics, certain hormone-based products and vegetables such as cabbage and certain breeds of mint. If you eat well, take in lots of fluids and latch your baby on often, such as once every two hours in the first few days, you shouldn’t have any issues with your milk coming in.
My newborn is always crying, so I don’t have enough milk.
Like mentioned before, a stomach of a person or baby is the size of their fists so your newborn doesn’t need a lot to satisfy his hunger. If your newborn shows no signs of rooting (turn to your breasts and opening/closing their mouths) or things like sucking on your pinkie when you offer it, then the crying could be a sign of other things such as discomfort, colic, insecurity, desire for attention and so forth. Most babies will show signs of rooting when they are in the early stages of hunger. Crying is the last and final stage; and it usually means that the baby has been hungry for a LONG time.