by Dr Dena Mae Amor Desabille-Deblois
Breastfeeding is natural, yet it is not easy. It is a mix of breastfeeding, dedication, and an enabling environment for the mother and her baby. This liquid gold has well-established benefits and being aware of them will empower a woman who intends to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is also associated with a plethora of anecdotes and views that are handed on from one well-meaning neighbor to another. Let us discuss at some of the most common beliefs and talk about the scientific evidence behind them.
Myth #1: Breastmilk is supposed to flow like a fountain as soon as a woman gives birth.
Fact: A woman who has just given birth produces Colostrum. It is a kind of breastmilk with a distinct look, volume, and content. It is a sticky, yellowish fluid that is rich in nutrients, immune cells, and growth factors for the newborn. It is available in tiny quantities and corresponds to the size of the baby’s stomach early in life, which is just the size of a cherry or a small kalamansi.
Is mama capable of producing milk since day 1? Without a doubt. Colostrum is breastmilk.
Myth #2: The newborn is crying; they must not be getting enough breastmilk.
Fact: Newborns cry a lot. Imagine getting out of the warm, quiet, and comfortable womb into the cold, harsh, and noisy world; I would be crying too. Rather than jumping into the conclusion that the baby is not getting enough milk, check other possible reasons: soiled nappies, colic, body temperature, in pain, or sleepy, among other possible reasons.
The baby is expected to breastfeed for more than eight times within a 24-hour period. An indicator of a well-fed baby early in their life is in their diapers; “ is the baby pooping and peeing as expected ? ” There are infographics containing this information depending on the baby’s age. Mama’s breasts will also feel soft after a good breastfeeding session.
Myth #3: The mother’s left breast is rice while the right breast is viand for the baby.
Fact: The baby only consumes milk from both breasts. It is neither rice nor a viand. Breastmilk is tailored to the infant’s requirements since it contains antibodies, proteins, fats, water, growth factors, probiotics, and minerals. Aside from that, breastmilk ingested directly by the infant during a feed does not get stale or becomes spoiled. Mama’s body produces milk that is optimal for her baby’s nutritional needs at the time.Myth #4: Only large breasts can produce milk.
Fact: The fat content of a woman’s bosom is mostly responsible for her large breasts. The mammary glands generate breastmilk. Milk-wise, a breast size of 32A and 36D can both be an over supplier or an under supplier. Breastmilk production is a result of the woman’s hormones, the baby’s stimulation while feeding, and their natural physiology. However, there is a small percentage of women who have inadequate glandular tissue which experiences challenges in breastfeeding.
Myth #5: A mother should stop nursing her child when she is not feeling well.
Fact: Mothers should continue to breastfeed their infants even if they are sick with such as the common cold, urinary tract infection, and even COVID-19. Babies will not catch the virus via breastfeeding, but they will benefit from the antibodies that are carried along the breastmilk. It goes without saying that standard health protocols such as mask wearing, adequate personal hygiene, and handwashing must be always observed.
July marks the nutrition month celebration in the Philippines. Let us give our children a head start on proper nutrition through breastfeeding. For any question on breastfeeding, you can Call Doc, Anywhere, Anytime, with Medgate.