Quite often we hear of myths that end up ' booby trapping' women into discontinuing nursing their babies. So lets clear some of them up.
* you must breast feed every 2 - 3 hours.
* I can only pump a small amount, my milk is drying up
* my baby is fussy, my milk supply is going.
* my baby only gained a small amount of weight, I'm starving my baby.
* my milk has quantity, but not quality
* you can't breast feed while pregnant
* I have to drink milk to make milk.
* I can't keep up with baby's demand.
* breast milk loses nutritional value after 1 year
Lets start with the ﬁrst point: *Breast fed babies should always be demand fed. In the early days straight after birth, baby's stomach is the size of a large marble. At about 1 week, it's the size of a golf ball. That little tummy has to be ﬁlled often, breast milk digests quickly, so baby becomes hungry. Breast feeding is also about comfort and building a trusting relationship with your baby. If you deny the breast because you view it hasn't been long enough between feeds. You are literally making your baby go hungry. If you deny the breast for comfort, you are telling your baby, that you won't meet his needs. I encourage you all to research " the fourth trimester". Your baby's instinct is to be attached to you, he is a wholly dependent being, his instincts tell him that to be away from you, means death. Don't ﬁght it, go with it!
* I can only pump x amount: Your pumping out put is absolutely no indicator of how much milk you make. Your baby can drain your breast efﬁciently and effectively. A cold machine, doesn't do the same job as a baby, yet merely mimics it. Many women do not respond well to a pump, but manage to successfully nourish their babies. The only true indicators of a low milk supply are, less than 6 - 8 wet/ poopy nappies per day. No growth at all, meaning no weight gain and/ or growth in length and head circumference, no little ﬁngernails needing clipping.
* My baby is fussy: There are plenty of reasons baby becomes fussy, rarely is it an issue with supply. Baby may have gas, have a sore ear, teething, too hot, too cold, overstimulated, too tired, perhaps a over active let down, perhaps a long period before let down, something in your diet has changed, maybe a growth spurt. There's so many reasons why babies fuss. Don't automatically think it's your supply, believe in your body's ability to feed your baby. Unless you have true indicators of low supply, look for other causes.
* My baby only gained a small amount of weight: There is more that goes into growing a baby than weight gain. If your baby has only put on 3 oz, but has grown an inch in length. Your milk is just ﬁne, the calories have gone into growing baby up, rather than out in that particular time frame. Look at what other things your baby has been doing that week. Has he been sick? Has his head grown? Has he been sick? Has he started crawling? Or walking? Babies grow at different rates, there is no golden rule that says your baby must be the same as everyone else's. Always remember that genetically, some babies will be small, some babies will be average, and some babies will be big. If you or your partner are ﬁne framed, chances are baby will be too.
* My milk has quantity, not quality: this particular myth drives me nuts. This myth usually stems from a fussy baby, or a baby that isn't gaining a pound a week. All breast milk contains the same nutrients, anti bodies and fat content. Mothers diet does not affect the quality of her milk. The ingredients in breastmilk are vast, and breastmilk is a living substance. Yes ratios vary, typically due to the age of the baby, and what stage that particular baby is at. Eg anti bodies and fat content are higher in breast milk of a nursing toddler than a new born. As previously stated, a fussy baby or slower weight gain is no indication of milk quality.
* You can't breast feed while pregnant: Completely untrue. Many, many mothers can nurse throughout their entire pregnancy, then tandem feed once the new baby is born. In some women, the hormones will cause a lower supply or a sour taste to their milk. But this is not always the case. The only time nursing during pregnancy is contraindicated is if the mother is on pelvic rest due to pre-term labor, or risk of. That doesn't mean if your doctor says you have to stop nursing because there is a risk.
* I have to drink milk to make milk: No you certainly don't! There's no harm to drinking milk (unless your baby has a dairy intolerance) but there is no scientiﬁc research to suggest this is true. Keeping hydrated with water and maintaining a healthy diet are better requirements to ensure a healthy supply.