Dispelling myths about breastfeeding
By Nmami Agarwal
Mothers have been breastfeeding their babies for as long as we can imagine. Even though we’ve been hearing for years now about how beneficial breastfeeding is for both mother and baby; there are still some rumors circulating about the breastfeeding practice. A new mother needs to understand the basics of breastfeeding quickly, but the problem lies when the new mother is flooded with suggestions and information by friends, relatives, and other sources about this simple human act. And most of the time, this guidance is contradictory in nature. So, we thought of breaking 5 breastfeeding myths that help you take the best care of your new-born.
Myth: Yellow milk should not be given to babies.
Fact: The first yellow milk is one of the best things we can give to a new baby. Colostrum contains the right blend of protein, antibodies, helps protect the child from diseases, as it aids in the development of the baby immune system. It has a cathartic effect in that it induces the excretion of excess bilirubin from the new-born and decreases the chances of jaundice and other infections. No artificial feed can substitute the first milk, with all of its natural benefits, and therefore it should be fed to the newborn right after the birth. So, the yellow colostrum contains a perfect mixture of every nourishment that your baby needs for the first few days after birth.
Myth: Mother should not breastfeed if suffering from an infection.
Fact: If the mother has an infection, she should continue to breastfeed the baby, this will ensure that the baby receives the antibodies that protect him/her against disease. However, there are certain infections, like HIV, TB, human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I or type II, and untreated brucellosis, which can be harmful to the new-born, and breastfeeding should be stopped when such infections are present and should consult to doctors before breastfeeding.
Myth: Baby can be given honey, sugar, water or jaggery before 6 months.
Fact: These substances are given traditionally before the first breastfeeding is called pre-lacteal feeds but are not necessary and should not be given at all. They interfere with the establishment of breastfeeding and can introduce infection like infant botulism into the newborn’s vulnerable system. Baby should only consume mother’s milk till 6 months of age and after that complementary feeding should start along with breastfeeding.
Myth: Drinking more milk helps to increase breast milk production.
Fact: Having adequate nutrients help a mother to provide nutrients to the baby but not at her own expenses of nutrients stores. Mother consuming milk or milk products doesn’t increase the production of milk. Moreover, there is no special diet followed while breastfeeding. A regular healthy diet is required for a mother to stay healthy and produce sufficient milk.
Myth: Small breasts produce less milk.
Fact: Milk production depends on secretory glands in the breast that are same in number in all of the breasts. Small breasts produce milk as efficiently as large breasts, the demand for the milk from the baby increases the secretion of oxytocin and prolactin in the mother, which ultimately results in the increased secretion of milk.
Over to you
Therefore, don’t let these myths hold you back in providing proper nutrition to your baby. Be a wise and a better-informed mum to make sure you provide your baby with your rich, wholesome and nourishing milk.
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