Top 5 breastfeeding myths

Dr. Shacchee Baweja, Lactation Consultant, Department of Pediatric & Neonatalogy, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Pusa Road, New Delhi 110005.

As part of a campaign on Breastfeeding, I was contemplating writing an article on it. While brainstorming with my team, I thought…do we really need to talk about this? Aren’t people aware of its importance by now?

Reality struck me when I had an interaction with a very angry new mother, who had just had a caesarean section. She thought it was irrelevant talking to her about breastfeeding as she was not making any milk! I thought, “Whoa, That’s new! I would only find out later that that line of thought was not uncommon in many households across the country.

I was sure it is immensely important to talk about it! In fact we need to keep talking about it till everybody is aware of its benefits.

That was the moment when I decided that I needed to write about the myths surrounding breastfeeding! So here are the top 5 ones Read on to bust yours.

Top 5 Myths And Facts About Breastfeeding

MYTH 1 There Is No Milk Immediately After A Cesarean Section!

FACT Milk production begins much before the baby is born! It keeps getting accumulated in the breasts in the form of ‘colostrum’, also known as ‘liquid gold’ which is crucial for the new born.

The moment a baby is born, the mom becomes capable of producing milk for her baby.

So all you need to do is have someone keep your baby skin to skin with you as soon as possible after delivery/ C section. Most babies are capable of finding the nipple on their own and latching on well with minimal help.

(We are talking about healthy full term babies here!)

MYTH 2 It’s Not Possible To Feed The Baby On Day 1 Of Cesarean Section!

FACT It is completely possible, provided the place you are delivering at has supportive staff who know how to position the baby in order to assist them in latching onto your breast well.

MYTH 3 # Formulas are about the same as Breast Milk

FACT Breast milk is a live, ever changing, custom made supplement for the baby, manufactured by nature specifically for them. Mother’s milk composition keeps changing with the time of day, weather etc. While the formula is a fixed composition fluid. Formula does not have many important things, such as living cells, hormones, antibodies, and enzymes that breast milk has. Formula is made up of animal milk which is not suitable for human consumption. Giving animal milk to a human baby is like putting diesel in a car run on Petrol!

MYTH 4 # New moms don’t make enough milk

FACT It is true that women don’t produce a lot of milk for the first 2-3 days post giving birth, but they do make a thick, concentrated liquid called colostrum—and for the first few days, that’s all a newborn needs. Moms worry that they’re not producing enough right away, but it’s very normal for the baby to nurse and not take more than half to two teaspoons at a time, during the first 48hrs.

It is also important to know about the correct latching of the baby on the breast because in order to withdraw milk from the breast a baby needs to latch on and suckle well on the breast!

Myth 5 # The lying-down nursing position causes ear infections.

FACT As human milk is ‘alive’ and teaming up with antibodies and immunoglobulins, the baby is less likely to develop ear infections overall, no matter what position is used.

Even when a mom is sitting up to feed, the baby is usually lying on his side while breastfeeding!

It’s a very good idea to prepare yourself for breastfeeding by reading about it and going to Antenatal Lactation Education classes where you can learn about the facts, what to expect, how to initiate breastfeeding at the earliest, what to do in case, for any reason, you are separated from your baby etc.