10 myths about breastfeeding busted

WORLD Breastfeeding week begins today, and in recognition, here we share 14 myths debunked about breastfeeding, from UNICEF Parenting.

1) Myth: Breastfeeding is easy.

Babies are born with the reflex to look for their mother's breast. However, many mothers need practical support with positioning their baby for breastfeeding and making sure their baby is correctly attached to the breast. Breastfeeding takes time and practice for both mothers and babies. Breastfeeding is also time intensive, so mothers need space and support at home and work.

2) Myth: It's usual for breastfeeding to hurt — sore nipples are inevitable.

Many mothers experience discomfort in the first few days after birth when they are learning to breastfeed. But with the right support with positioning their baby for breastfeeding and making sure their baby is correctly attached to the breast, sore nipples can be avoided. If a mother faces breastfeeding challenges like sore nipples, support from a lactation consultant or other skilled professional can help them overcome the issue.

3) Myth: You should wash your nipples before breastfeeding.

Washing your nipples before breastfeeding isn't necessary. When babies are born, they are already very familiar with their own mother's smells and sounds. The nipples produce a substance that the baby smells and has 'good bacteria' that helps to build babies' own healthy immune system for life.

4) Myth: You should only eat plain food while breastfeeding.

Like everybody else, breastfeeding mothers need to eat a balanced diet. In general, there is no need to change food habits. Babies are exposed to their mothers' food preferences from the time they are in the womb. If a mother perceives that her baby reacts to a specific food she eats, it is best to consult a specialist.

5) Myth: Exercise will affect the taste of your milk.

Exercise is healthy, also for breastfeeding mothers. There is no evidence that it affects the taste of your milk.

6) Myth: You can never use formula if you want to breastfeed.

Mothers may decide they need to use formula on some occasions, while continuing to breastfeed. It is important to seek unbiased information on formula and other products that replace breast milk. To keep breast milk production going, continue offering the breast to your baby as often as possible. It can be useful for mothers to consult a lactation specialist or skilled professional to help with a plan that works best for them to continue breastfeeding.

7) Myth: Many mothers can't produce enough milk.

Almost all mothers produce the right amount of milk for their babies. Breast milk production is determined by how well the baby is latched on to the breast, the frequency of breastfeeding and how well the baby is removing milk with each feeding. Breastfeeding isn't a 'one woman' job and mothers need support. Support like ongoing breastfeeding guidance from health-care providers, help at home, and staying healthy by eating and drinking well.

8) Myth: You shouldn't breastfeed if you're sick.

Depending on the kind of illness, mothers can usually continue breastfeeding when they're sick. You need to make sure you get the right treatment, and to rest, eat and drink well. In many cases, the antibodies your body makes to treat your disease or illness will pass on to your baby, building his or her own defences.

9) Myth: Babies who have been breastfed are clingy.

All babies are different. Some are clingy and some are not, no matter how they are fed. Breastfeeding provides not only the best nutrition for infants, but is also important for their developing brain. Breastfed babies are held a lot and because of this, breastfeeding has been shown to enhance bonding with their mother.

10) Myth: If you go back to work, you'll have to wean your baby.

Many mothers continue breastfeeding after going back to work. First, check the policies in your workplace. If you have the right to time and a place to breastfeed during working hours, you may be able to go home and breastfeed, ask a family member or friend to bring your baby to you, or to express your milk and take it home. If you don't have the option to breastfeed during working hours, look for moments during the day to express your milk and then feed your baby directly when you are at home. If you decide to give your baby a breast milk substitute for some feeds, it is till very good to continue breastfeeding whenever you are with your baby.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy