Ever since my baby was born, I’ve heard a number of breastfeeding myths from my mother and some aunts, women whose parenting skills were shaped during the ’70’s, when milk companies took advantage of the women’s liberation movement to sell mothers formula. Here are some of the myths I’ve heard, and the truths that bust these myths:
MYTH #1: Breastmilk does not have complete nutrition.
On the contrary, breastmilk has everything a baby needs to grow up strong and healthy. There is no other food or drink grown or manufactured on earth that can compare to the nourishment provided by breastmilk.
MYTH # 2: There is not enough breast milk to satisfy baby.
Our breasts make as much milk as our infant requires. Baby’s suckling stimulates the milk ducts, which in turn creates the milk. As baby grows and requires more milk, the supply of milk increases. As baby begins eating solids and weans, the supply of milk adjusts to the decreasing demand. If the natural supply-demand connection between mother and baby is followed, instead of imposing schedules, pumping, or supplementing with formula, there would be less problems with engorgement, clogged milk ducts and leaking.
MYTH # 3: Mother will wrinkle up and age prematurely if she breastfeeds.
Premature aging has long been related to dryness of the skin. It is important to keep ourselves hydrated while breastfeeding. Just like when we were pregnant, at least 2 liters of water a day will keep our bodies healthy and our skin glowing. Soups and fruit juices are a wonderful way to hydrate and nourish ourselves.
Studies show less problems with osteoporosis or calcium deficiencies, less incidences of cancer of the uterus, and less incidences of breast cancer among women who have breastfed on a long-term basis.
MYTH # 4: Antibodies can only be passed on to baby within the first 6 months.
Antibodies are constantly being passed on to baby while the breastfeeding connection is kept. That is why experts suggest that breastfeeding continue, even during times when mother has caught a cold or flu. This allows the baby to be exposed to a milder version of the virus and the antibodies to create immunity.
For more information about breastfeeding, visit What To Expect.