Breastmilk is the best food a mom can give to her baby. Breastfeeding has it’s own learning curve for the mother and her baby. When a mother is on her journey of breastfeeding she is bombarded with advice and opinions. Some of the pointers are worth it, but most times the wrong information leads to unpleasant consequences.
Being a first time mom I had my own share of doubts and inhibitions related to breastfeeding. One place I could trust for advice, encouragement, or just a listening ear, was a Facebook community of moms who breastfeed. Being connected with and reading triumphs and trial stories of breastfeeding mothers was just the right kind of support I needed.
Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers (BSIM) is a place of solace for me. The experienced team has compiled a list that every mom must read to distinguish myths and facts.
1. Every bottle of Artificial Baby Milk (ABM) that a baby receives, gives a signal to the breastfeeding parent’s body to produce less milk.
When a bottle of Artificial Baby Milk (ABM) is given to a baby, the baby feels full for a longer duration since ABM is heavier to digest as compared to breast milk. The baby, therefore, suckles lesser at the breast, which is what gives the breastfeeding parent’s body a signal to make less milk. Gradually, the amount of ABM being administered increases and the baby begins to get less breast milk. This is called the ‘Top up trap.’ The best way to make enough breast milk for your baby is by letting the baby nurse often and on demand without timing feeds.
2. Breastfeeding is painful
If breastfeeding is painful and the breastfeeding parent has sore and cracked nipples, it normally means that the latch and/ or positioning needs improvement. It is best to consult a recommended Lactation Professional if this situation.
3. Crying is always a sign of hunger
Babies cry for several reasons and hunger is just one of them. Babies may be fussier than usual during the later part of the day, during growth spurts and during illnesses.
4. Baby breastfeeding often or for too long indicates that the breastfeeding parent has low milk supply
It is normal for breastfed babies to nurse between 8-12 times a day. During a growth spurt, a baby may want to nurse nearly all day and exceed the aforementioned range.
5. Breasts feeling full is the only sign of adequate milk supply
Soft breasts, breasts not leaking, baby nursing frequently, baby guzzling down a bottle of ABM/ expressed breast milk after nursing do NOT indicate low milk supply.
The best way to ascertain if the baby is getting enough milk is by monitoring nappy count (over 24 hours) along with weight gain plotted on a chart for breastfed babies.
Babies over 6 weeks old should have 6+ wet nappies and babies under 6 weeks old need to have adequate wet ‘and’ dirty nappies over 24 hours.
6. Twins and Triplets can be exclusively breastfed
A breastfeeding parent can provide adequate nutrition through breast milk to twins and triplets. It is important for the parent to get more support than usual in these circumstances.
7. A parent that delivers via caesarean does not produce adequate amount of milk
An expectant parent starts making milk as early as 16-22 weeks into the pregnancy. This milk is called colostrum and it is all that the baby needs until the milk increases in volume (also called mature milk).
8. The breastfeeding parent should stop breastfeeding once the child turns a year old
Most major health organisations recommend that a baby be exclusively breastfed for a ‘minimum’ of 6 months. WHO recommends that a child be breastfed for 2 years and beyond for as long as the child and breastfeeding parent would like to continue.
9. A breastfeeding parent having medications can breastfeed their baby
Most medical conditions/ procedures/ medications don’t require a breastfeeding parent to wean or even temporarily stop breastfeeding.
10. A breastfeeding parent needs to end the breastfeeding relationship once they resume working outside the house
A breastfeeding parent can express breast milk (with a pump or with their hand) for the baby which can be given to the baby in the parent’s absence by an alternative care provider.
Breastfeeding Support for Indian Mothers is a registered entity, committed to raising awareness and support for breastfeeding parents. The BSIM Facebook Group has over 50,000 members and is run by 35+ volunteers who are committed to the cause. For more information, please visit thier website – http://www.bsim.org.in
Their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/BSIMORG/
Their Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/breastfeedingsupportforindianmoms/?ref=br_rs