If you're pregnant, you've probably been reading up on breastfeeding. That's good because being well-informed on everything about breastfeeding helps new moms overcome the struggles they might encounter. Sometimes though we get "information overload," making it hard to separate fact from fiction, so to speak.
So at the "Smart Parenting Baby Shower," last April, co-presented with Belo Baby, Kate Delos Reyes and Mish Maravilla from L.A.T.C.H. Philippines, quizzed preggy moms about their knowledge on everything about breastfeeding and dispelled myths along the way. Test if you've do know your basic nursing know-how:
1. Breastfeeding my baby is best because…
It helps my uterus shrink back faster.
It prepares my baby’s immune system against disease.
My family will have grocery savings of P4,000 per week.
All of the above.
Breastfeeding counselors say the correct answer is d. "While you breastfeed, your body releases the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin makes your uterus cramp and shrink to its pre-pregnancy size," explained Delos Reyes and Maravilla. "It also helps expel the extra blood," they added.
Nursing also makes you burn 500 calories a day to produce the calories and nutrients for your baby. However, not all moms lose weight as fast as others.
It's widely known that breastfeeding strengthens your baby's immune system. Breastmilk has "anti-bodies, anti-virus, anti-parasites, and those will not be replicated in the factory," Delos Reyes and Maravilla said. In short, those antibodies are customized for your baby. (Click here and here to see how it looks like under a microscope.)
"When you breastfeed your baby, the contact of your baby’s saliva to your breast will send information to your brain as to what the baby has been exposed to. Your body will respond by producing the appropriate antibodies or anti-virus to fight illness."
Breastfeeding saves money, too. Buying formula costs P1,000 on average per week. You can save the money you would have spent on formula for other more enjoyable things like family trips. By breastfeeding, your baby’s risk of getting sick is lower, so you also save up on medical expenses.
It is normal to hurt when you first start; you just have to wait for your nipples to get tough.
My baby is not latched on correctly.
My nipples are inverted.
All of the above
Breastfeeding counselors say the correct answer is b. When the baby isn’t latched on properly, "it really hurts, and it could lead to a lot of breastfeeding problems," Delos Reyes and Maravilla said. Nursing can be uncomfortable -- not painful – at first, but it’s a work in progress. Once you and your baby get used to nursing, however, it should not hurt. And, "All nipples can breastfeed even inverted or flat," they added.
Proper latch and positioning will prevent sore nipples and ensure the supply. Click here to check if your baby is latched on properly and the different basic breastfeeding positions you can try.
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3. I know my newborn baby is not getting enough milk if…
My baby seems hungry all the time and keeps crying.
My baby loses weight during the first week of life.
When I pump, I get very little milk.
None of the above
Breastfeeding counselors say the correct answer is d. According to Delos Reyes and Maravilla, a baby’s cry could be due to many other reasons. "It’s not a reliable way to determine that your baby’s not getting enough milk."
It is also normal for a baby to lose five to seven percent of their body weight in the first week of life. "When babies are inside the womb before you give birth, they have enough nutrients to survive. When they enter the world, the babies lose weight not because they don’t get enough milk from you, but because it’s normal for them to lose the water from inside of your womb."
To ensure that your baby gets enough milk, do direct breastfeeding because direct latching signals your body to produce more milk. "Pumping during the first days isn’t recommended," Delos Reyes and Maravilla said.
It’s also good to remember that colostrum, the first drops of your breast milk, is concentrated, and it’s enough for your baby’s nutritional needs, Delos Reyes and Maravilla said. "The capacity of a newborn's stomach can only accommodate drops," they added. For a visual aid of how much breast milk your newborn needs, check out this photo from L.A.T.C.H.:
So how do you know if your baby is not getting enough milk? Not peeing or pooping are red flags, Delos Reyes and Maravilla said.
Based on the chart the lactation counselors showed during the event, here’s a general guideline of how many soiled diapers your baby will have when you’re breastfeeding on demand during the first week:
Day 1: Your milk or colostrum is yellowish and thick. If your baby fills just one wet diaper and one poop-soiled diaper, then your breastfeeding is on track!
Your baby’s first poop may be black-ish in color. It’s called meconium, or excess blood and waste materials from inside the womb. It’s normal during the first few days. If after five days, you baby’s poop is still black-ish or dark green in color, consult your pediatrician immediately. (Click here to know more about what your baby's poop is telling you.)
Day 2: Milk is still yellow and thick. Expect your baby to have one to two wet diapers and one to two poop-soiled nappies. But the minimum needed is only one wet diaper and one poopy nappie for sufficient breast milk transfer.
Day 3: Your milk starts to change appearance; it becomes milkish in color and more watery, so expect at least two wet diapers and two poop-soiled diapers. Some babies can have up to four wet diapers and four poop-soiled diapers.
Day 4: Expect a minimum of four wet diapers (up to six) and at least two poop-soiled nappies (but can be as much as six).
Days 5 to 7: Your breast milk begins to feel heavy and flows easily, so baby should fill at least six wet nappies and two poop-soiled diapers for adequate diaper count.
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"It does not mean that if you don’t get the minimum diaper count, you have to give formula," warn Delos Reyes and Maravilla, "It does mean that you should get help to check whether your latching and positioning is correct. It is important the baby be allowed to feed as often and for as long as they want in the first few weeks."
4. Good milk supply is dependent on...
The size of your breasts, bigger boobs make more milk.
Taking malunggay tablets, halaan and other milk boosting foods.
Exclusivity and frequency of breastfeeding
All of the above
Breastfeeding counselors say the correct answer is c. "Exclusivity and frequency of breastfeeding," as mentioned, are the only surefire ways to increase milk supply. "Supply is not dependent on breast size or your family’s breastfeeding success," Delos Reyes and Maravilla said. While taking milk-boosting foods and supplements can sometimes help, they stressed that they would only help you if you’re sufficiently direct breastfeeding. It means allowing baby to feed when they want and as long as they want.
So how did you do in the quiz? Do you still have a breastfeeding concern? Let us know in the comments below or write to us on our Facebook Messenger
Special thanks to Sylvia Malabanan of L.A.T.C.H. Philippines. L.A.T.C.H. stands for Lactation, Attachment, Training, Counseling and Help. The organization regularly conducts breastfeeding classes and facilitates support group sessions to help moms in their breastfeeding journey.
We've said it time and time again, that being fully informed on everything about breastfeeding helps new moms and babies overcome the struggles they might encounter. At the "Smart Parenting Baby Shower," which was co presented by Belo Baby, held in Crown Plaza last April, Kate Delos Reyes and Mish Maravilla from L.A.T.C.H., quizzed preggy moms about their knowledge on everything about breastfeeding, dispelling myths along the way.