15 Myths About Breastfeeding
In the first 6 months of life, babies need to be fed only breastmilk, with no other foods or liquids. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition and gives children the best start in life. But many mothers stop breastfeeding too early because of challenges and misconceptions.
Here are a few common myths in Egypt ...
1. Myth: Breastfeeding is an instinct and comes naturally without training.
Babies are born with the reflex to look for their mother’s breast. However, many mothers need coaching and practical support with positioning their baby for breastfeeding. Breastfeeding takes time and practice for both mothers and babies.
2. Myth: After birth, mothers and newborns should be separated to let the mother rest.
Doctors and nurses often encourage the practice of ‘skin-to-skin’ immediately after birth. Bringing your baby in direct contact with your chest promotes bonding helps babies find and attach to the breast. Doing this within one hour after birth and then frequently after helps to establish breastfeeding.
3. Myth: You won't be able to breastfeed unless you do it right away.
It is easier to get breastfeeding started if you begin in the first hour after birth because a baby’s reflexes are very strong at that time. Even if you do not latch your baby on right after birth, you can still introduce the practice. If you need help attaching your baby to the breast, ask for support from a qualified lactation consultant or other skilled professional.
4. Myth: Colostrum, the thick yellow milk produced right after delivery, is bad for the baby and should be thrown out.
Colostrum, the ‘first golden milk’, is good for your baby. It gives newborns an immunity boost while their immune systems are developing to support good lifelong health.
5. Myth: If breastmilk is light in color, it means it is not nutritious.
Breastmilk can vary slightly in color and tint. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for a baby and vital part of providing every child with the healthiest start in life.
6. Myth: Not all mothers have enough milk to breastfeed.
Almost all mothers produce the right amount of milk for their babies. Frequent breastfeeding will induce and increase milk production. Remember that breastfeeding is a skill that requires practice, support and guidance from family and health professionals.
7. Myth: You shouldn't breastfeed if you’re sick or taking medication.
Depending on the kind of illness, mothers can usually continue breastfeeding when they’re sick. In many cases, the antibodies your body makes to treat your disease or illness will pass on to your baby, building his or her own defenses. Always consult your doctor and follow their advice.
8. Myth: When breastfeeding, you should eat lots of calories to be able to produce enough milk for your child.
When breastfeeding, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet and make sure to drink enough water and fluids to be able to produce enough milk for your child.
9. Myth: It's normal for breastfeeding to hurt. Sore nipples are inevitable.
Many mothers experience discomfort in the first few days after birth when they are learning to breastfeed but this can be treated and avoided with the right support from a doctor or health professional.
10. Myth: You should stop breastfeeding girls at 5 years and boys at 2 years.
There is no difference between boys and girls when it comes to breastfeeding. Both should be breastfed exclusively (fed only breastmilk) for 6 months. After 6 months of age, when babies begin to eat other foods and liquids, breastfeeding should still continue in parallel for up to two years.
11. Myth: To get the baby to stop breastfeeding, you should put something spicy, sour or bitter on your breast so that baby rejects it.
Weaning is a long-term process in which the mother gradually introduces complementary foods to replace breastfeeding. There is no need for any measures to abruptly stop the newborn from breastfeeding.
12. Myth: Giving newborns anise to drink is good for their stomach and will help them sleep.
It’s natural for newborns to have colic. Feeding your baby any liquids or foods other than breast milk before 6 months actually increases the chance of the newborn getting sick.
13. Myth: Babies should be disciplined early on. Breastfeeding and holding them when they cry will spoil them and make them clingy.
Babies cannot be spoiled. In these early moments of life, babies need love and responsive care. They need to be held often and breastfed whenever they show signs of hunger. Breastfeeding has been shown to enhance bonding with their mother.
14. Myth: If you were not able to breastfeed your first baby, you will not be able to breastfeed your next baby.
With the right support and practice, you can be successful in breastfeeding even if you have not been successful in the past.
15. Myth: Milk production is hereditary. If your mother could not breastfeed, you will not be able to breastfeed.