The world believes that breastfeeding is good for the mother and child. But today’s women are increasingly picking alternatives to breastfeeding, especially if they are working women. Several also believe that breast milk is low in iron, and that breastfeeding should be avoided if the mother is ill or on medication.
Here are some breastfeeding issues that will help you draw the line between myths and facts.
(1) Myth: A common fear among women is that they will lose the shape of their breasts if the breastfeed.
Fact: But the medical world suggests that nursing has the least impact on your breasts compared to aging, weight and gravity.
(2) Myth: Only some, and not all mothers experience sexual arousal while breastfeeding.
Fact: Sexual arousal while breastfeeding is natural and should not be considered taboo. Here’s something you did not know, when you nurse your baby, your body releases the hormone oxytocin – which is also released during orgasm.
(3) myth: If you’re stressed, breastfeeding will affect your milk supply.
Fact: As mentioned earlier, your body releases oxytocin when you breastfeed. This relaxes your body and the milk flow gushes easily. But when you are stressed, the release of oxytocin reduces, slowing the milk supply; hence it takes longer for you to breastfeed. But this doesn’t affect your milk supply in that it doesn’t reduce it permanently.
(4) Myth: If you are nursing your child less frequently, the milk will dry up.
Fact: Technically the milk ducts produce the right amount of milk need for your child. If you breastfeed frequently, the supply will be greater. The same goes for babies who are nursed occasionally. Plus your baby may need more milk than usual but you may think the flow has reduced; or your baby becomes accustomed to bottles and pacifiers, which changes the behaviour of the child toward breastfeeding.
(5) Myth: It is important to teach a child how to hold the bottle and be independent.
Fact: There are several reasons why mothers opt for bottle. But it’s advisable to periodically offer the bottle after four – six weeks of breastfeeding.
(6) Myth: It is okay for the baby to consume formula as it is better than breast milk with added nutrients.
Fact: Even if you’re using the best formula for your baby it may not contain antibodies, living cells, enzymes or hormones. Granted these formula foods contain more aluminum, manganese, cadmium, lead and iron than breastmilk; this is why a combination of breast milk and formula milk at different feeding times might work. Each baby is different and has varying nutrient requirements. Both, formula and breast milk have their own benefits. Therefore, a combination is often suggested.
(7) Myth: You need to watch what you eat, and drink a lot of water.
Fact: You need a balanced diet, which means don’t gulp down gallons of milk, or avoid any food groups. Each woman’s physical requirements for nutrients is different. Do not believe breastfeeding myths that say that women who are breastfeeding should continue eating for two. Eat as per your healthcare provider’s recommended guidelines. As for liquids, listen to what your body says, if you’re thirsty, drink water but don’t over do it.
(8) Myth: You need to immediately stop breastfeeding if you feel sick.
Fact: Before the symptoms have shown, you may have already transferred the infection to the baby. There are chances you contracted the illness from your baby, hence continue breastfeeding your child as this is the best coverage for them. Even when your baby is sick or has diarrhea do not stop breastfeeding, it is the best defense for your baby’s health.
However, as each case might be unique we strongly advise you to consult professional help the minute you or your child fall ill.