As you’ve probably heard, “breastfeeding is best for babies.” However, according to a UNICEF study, only sixteen percent of Filipinas exclusively breastfeed their babies. Apart from the lack of information, there’s a lot of misinformation going around. Here are some myths that you’ll most likely hear about breastfeeding and the facts that dispel them.
1. Myth: Breastfeeding hurts! Facts: Nipple tenderness is normal in the first five days of breastfeeding but breastfeeding is not supposed to be excruciatingly painful. Proper latching techniques will help you avoid nipple soreness.
2. Myth: You have to feed your baby formula until your milk “comes in.” Facts: When your baby is born you produce a clear, yellowish liquid called colostrum, very rich in antibodies and the perfect food for your newborn. It’s very small in quantity because it’s exactly just how much your baby needs. The more you nurse, the more your body adjusts and produces just the right amount of milk that your baby needs.
3. Myth: The baby’s always hungry because you’re not making enough milk. Facts: Sometimes a baby will undergo a “growth spurt” which means he will try to nurse more than usual. Your body is equipped to produce the perfect supply for your baby’s demand. You never run out of milk for as long as you let your baby nurse frequently.
4. Myth: You won’t have enough milk because your breasts are too small. Facts: Breast milk production has nothing to do with breast size. Breast size is determined by the amount of fatty tissue in the breast. Bigger breasts may store more milk but smaller breasts are able to keep up with the baby’s demand by producing milk faster.
5. Myth: Formula is just as good as breast milk. Facts: Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, and no hormones. They have more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breast milk. They contain significantly more protein than breast milk. The proteins and fats are very different from those in breast milk. Formulas are one size fits all. Your breast milk is custom made for your baby.
6. Myth: Breastfeeding causes saggy boobs. Facts: Dr. Rinker of the University of Kentucky conducted a study between 1998 and 2006 among 132 women seeking breast augmentation. There was no difference between women who breastfed and women who did not. Other factors contributed to breast sagging: smoking, failure to wear a sports bra, and pregnancy itself.
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SOURCES: • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League International • Nursing not behind saggy breasts, http://news.bbc.co.uk , Nov. 7, 2007 • Impact of breast size on breastfeeding by Angela Brooks, www.helium.com • Breastfeeding your child effectively, http://pediatrics.about.com • www.babyfirstyear.org, human colostrum, wikipedia • Breastmilk Supply, Dr.Greene.com • Interview with LATCH (Lactation. Attachment. Counselling. Help) certified counselor, Sylvia Malabanan o Visit www.theperfectlatch.com for a list of certified counselors that you can call o Email info@the perfectlatch.com