Baby, breasts and misconceptions.

Baby, breasts and misconceptions.

Misconception I: Breastfeeding will make my breasts saggy.
Fact: women often worry a lot about their breasts sagging, unfortunately sagging breasts are in a large part influenced by our genes, pregnancy (rather than breastfeeding), weight gain or loss and aging process regardless of whether a woman ever gives birth. 

Misconception II: My breasts are small, thus my baby will starve on my milk.
Fact: regardless of the size or shape of your breasts, your ability to produce breast milk is determined by the presence of breast tissue. Breast size, however, might determine milk storage capacity of the breasts, as smaller breasts get full and might empty faster.  In this situation, it is very important to let baby nurse as often as possible “feed on demand” to build up a healthy supply. It might mean more frequent feeds by baby; this is also true in large breasted women as well.

Misconception III:  Baby feeds too often thus it is not satisfied.
Fact: this is very normal behavior for a baby. I personally took a while to get used to this aspect of breastfeeding but with the support, I adapted to the process. First, it is important to know that the size of a baby’s tummy at birth is quite small, the size of a marble making it very easy for baby to become satiated and hungry at short intervals. This is why looking out for baby’s feeding cues and feeding on demand is very important rather than watching the clock. It is also important to ensure baby is latched on properly and to know that growth sprouts also make babies eat more often. Equally important is knowing that baby’s come to the breast for different reasons e.g. for a snack, a proper meal or just to quench thirst.

Misconception IV: Baby’s feeding intervals at the breast are too long.
Fact: though not very common mothers might worry if baby doesn’t feed as often as most people would associate with breastfeeding. As mentioned above it is very important to watch your baby rather than the clock, look out for wet nappies, weight gain, and feeding cues as a guide to determine if a baby is feeding enough. 

Misconception V: My milk suddenly stopped flowing.

Fact: there are several reasons why milk supplies might suddenly dip or dry up. This includes hormonal changes, diet changes (increasing caffeine intake), return of menstrual cycle, contraceptives (especially birth pills), dehydration, stress (this includes physical, mental or emotional stress), introduction of bottles and early introduction of dummies (this encourages baby to feed less often leading to a low build up of milk supply as milk production is dependent on a demand and supply cycle). The feeling of an engorged breast isn't the only indication of an abundant milk supply, even when the breast feels empty your body is still producing enough to feed your baby. To read further on this please click here.

Misconception VI: What’s wrong with Infant formula?
Fact: breast milk is a living product which contains antibodies, living cells, enzymes and hormones that protect your baby from infections and diseases in childhood and also later in life. It is tailored specifically from your body for your baby. The same cannot be said for infant formula. It is also important to note that with breastfeeding the chances of obesity in a child is reduced as baby regulates how much they take in at each feed something they can’t become skilled in when fed with formula.

Misconception VII: Breastfeeding is easy.
Fact: NO it is not especially in the early days. As I said earlier, I almost gave up two months into the process and several times more I was tempted to quit. Yes, breastfeeding eliminates the stress of sterilization, it saves you money and is environmentally friendly; but as with everything in life, there will be low points. This shouldn’t put you off breastfeeding; breast milk is a healthy start for your baby any day, anytime. Please, note breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt feeling tender or experiencing mild pain at the onset for a short time is normal but a prolonged/ dreaded pain should be investigated. Do seek help and support for any uncertainty.


Published by Chioma Nwafor

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