Exposing the Myths
Myth 1: Babies naturally know how to breastfeed.
Fact: Sometimes, medication during labour can have an effect on the baby’s reflexes that may make them sluggish and their inborn breastfeeding reflex like the sucking reflex and a rooting reflex might be delayed. The sucking reflex is the baby’s instinct to suck anything that touches the roof of their mouth. The rooting reflex is when the baby turns their head towards any stroking on the cheek or the mouth. If the baby is not prompt in showing these reflexes, don’t worry. Just keep trying by stroking their mouths and cheeks- they will get activated.
Myth 2: You have to drink milk to make milk.
Fact: Drinking milk has little to do with a woman’s production of breast milk. Whether a mother drinks milk has nothing to do with her breast milk supply. Having said that, the mother remains hydrated with any form of liquid. She also needs to plan a well-rounded, healthy diet. The body will draw the necessary nutrients from her body to add to her breast milk. If a mother is undernourished, she will become further undernourished while her body continues to supply the baby with nutrients.
Myth 3: You will have a very low supply of milk for a few days before your breast milk “comes in.”
Fact: If things are normal. A new mum makes exactly enough breast milk for a newborn’s needs. Yes, don’t get fooled by the quantity - your body knows best. A newborn’s stomach is about the size of a marble. In the first couple of days after birth, if the baby is breastfeeding a minimum of eight times in a 24 hour period, the mother’s body will make about five millilitres (ml). So less? Remember, this is all what the baby needs. It will increase everyday with the needs.
Myth 4: Don’t wake a sleeping baby to breastfeed.
Fact: In the first couple of days after birth, your baby will sleep a lot. In order to create a regular breastfeeding routine and provide your baby with the necessary energy, you need to wake up your sleeping baby. If you don't, the baby will continue to feel even more sleepy because the body is not nourished. So, for a baby younger than 3 months, do wake him up to feed him.
Myth 5: You can’t breastfeed if you have small breasts or flat nipples.
Fact: Please be assured that the shape and size of your breasts or nipples does not have any impact on your ability to breastfeed.
Myth 6: Breastfeeding is painful
Fact: Not true, Just be patient in the first few days. You will experience discomfort. Your uterus will also shrink with the suckling making your abdomen sore. But, hang in there - it gets better very soon.
Myth 7: Breastfeeding restricts you
Fact: It’s the way you look at it. Yes, it ties you down because you have to be close to the baby. But, it is liberating in the sense that it eliminates the need for washing bottles, preparing formula, worrying about its storage and so on.
Myth 8: Breastfeeding will ruin your breasts.
Fact: There are many reasons for change in breast shape and position. Pregnancy changes them a lot, so do factors like wearing a poor bra or even age. Breastfeeding does not affect it.
Myth 9: If breastfeeding was a flop in your first pregnancy, it will be the same in the second one, too.
Fact: Research shows that no two pregnancies are the same. So, don’t let a previous experience affect your decision and determination.
Myth 10: I have to toughen up my nipples so breastfeeding won’t hurt.
Fact: Female nipples have been created by mother nature for nursing. Only in very rare exceptions, one can safely assume that nipples are inadequate or need to be made tougher.