Breastfeeding: Common Myths That Are Prevalent About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is a challenging experience filled with highs and lows.
Many women are unfamiliar with the practice, and when their baby faces delays or difficulties, new mothers often become anxious. However, numerous misconceptions surround breastfeeding, and excessive information or false beliefs can lead to restlessness and unnecessary overthinking for mothers, which is detrimental to their well-being.
Issues related to breastfeeding are common, including low milk production, dietary confusion, and concerns about the frequency of nursing.
Here are a few myths and misconceptions surrounding breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is always a painful experience
Breastfeeding should not be painful under normal circumstances. The mother may feel a gentle tugging sensation in the breast tissue. Any pain during breastfeeding is usually a result of incorrect latching technique, where the baby's gums are clamping onto the mother's nipples. To ensure comfortable breastfeeding, the mother should make sure that the baby's gums are positioned on the areola (the darker region around the nipple) rather than just the nipple itself. The baby should be able to take in a significant portion of the areola in their mouth to achieve a good latch.
Washing nipples every time before breastfeeding
There is a misconception that you must wash your nipples before breastfeeding, but this is actually incorrect. It is unnecessary to wash your nipples before nursing. When babies are born, they instinctively recognize their mothers through their unique scent and touch. The nipples naturally produce a substance containing beneficial bacteria that is familiar to the baby due to its scent. This substance actually helps in building the baby's healthy immune system for life, making it beneficial for the baby rather than harmful.
Breastfeeding requires a 2-3 hour rest period between feeds
The production of breast milk does not adhere to a strict schedule. Initially, after childbirth, breast milk production is influenced by hormones (endocrine control), and later it transitions to a supply and demand system (autocrine control). In practical terms, this means that most mothers, regardless of the delivery method (vaginal or C-section), will produce colostrum from the moment of birth until 72 hours post-delivery. After this period, they will start producing transitional milk, which is characterised by increased milk production, engorged breasts, and occasional leakage. Around 5-7 days after birth, mature white milk is produced, and this will be the type of milk mothers continue to produce until they eventually stop breastfeeding.
Bottle-feeding is simpler than breastfeeding
This common misconception has gained popularity due to the limited support and guidance provided to mothers in adapting to the breastfeeding process during the early stages. However, with proper assistance, this myth can be completely debunked. In reality, breastfeeding is regarded as a highly fulfilling and beneficial experience, particularly when compared to bottle-feeding.
Medications impact milk production
Breastfeeding mothers can safely take medicines with proper precautions. It is important to inform your doctor about breastfeeding and carefully read the instructions when purchasing over-the-counter medications. Follow a specific schedule and dosage for taking the medications.
Breastfeeding is not possible when you are sick
Mothers' ability to breastfeed while sick varies depending on the type of illness or disease they are experiencing. It is important for mothers to receive appropriate treatment, maintain a healthy diet, and stay hydrated. In certain diseases, the antibodies produced in the mother's body can be transferred to the baby through breastfeeding, so seeking advice from a doctor is recommended.
Breastfeeding mothers must stick to plain food
Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement for breastfeeding mothers to restrict themselves to plain food. However, it is important for nursing mothers to maintain a balanced diet while breastfeeding. As long as the mother's diet is healthy, there is no need to change her eating habits.
With the abundance of breastfeeding or chestfeeding myths circulating, it can be challenging to discern fact from fiction. It is advisable to rely on credible sources such as various health organisations to ensure accurate and trustworthy information. If you require additional clarification regarding breastfeeding facts and general information, it is recommended to consult your paediatrician or seek guidance from a lactation consultant.Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.