Monday, January 30, 2012

Breastfeedings Biggest Myths

Since I joined an online community, I've been enjoying reading different stories and such that other moms have posted. What is really shocking to me is how many myths about breastfeeding there really are out there. Some of them have been passed on through family, others are passed on by Doctors and Nurses, and some by poorly educated lactation consultants. So I've decided to round up some of the biggest myths that I've come across, put them up here and debunk them.

1. You only make what you are able to pump.  
This one is so very very wrong. You make much more than you are able to pump. Some mothers are able to pump several ounces and others are only able to pump a few, if any. This is not an indication of how much milk you are making. A breast pump is a marvelous invention, but it has one major drawback compared to how a baby nurses. It doesn't knead the milk ducts in your breast the way a baby does. It only sucks. When a baby nurses it both kneads and sucks. Any mother who doubts her milk production because of what she is able to pump, only needs to nurse her baby after a pumping session. Lean in and listen closely to the sounds your baby is making. You are most likely to hear the sound of swallowing as your baby taps into milk that was not released when pumping.

2. My milk never came in.
Granted there are some women who do have medical conditions and they really do not make milk. This is for the moms who never experience the burning sensation of engorgement from their milk coming in. My only question in return, is if the mother has been nursing their baby this whole time. There are some babies who drink so much that they actually drink everything their mother is making, so the mother never experiences the pain of engorgement. Every baby is different and once again all you have to do is listen to the sounds that baby is making while nursing and whether there are plenty of wet diapers. If there are, than your milk has come in and your baby is simply enjoying it so much and has saved you from engorgement.

3. My Supply is Gone.
This is a hard call to make on your own. There are many mothers who believe because they don't feel "full" all of the time that their supply is gone and that their baby is going to starve. Granted there are times, when baby throws a fit at the breast. This can be for a list of reasons. They are overtired, they are suffering growing pains, or they have gas pains. Sometimes, it is because they have had all that is in your breast and are still hungry. In these situations, the mother needs to drink more hydrating fluids (NO COFFEE or SODA) and continue to put baby to the breast. The more baby is put to the breast, the more milk will be made. The longer the baby is allowed to stay on one side, the more thoroughly the breast will be emptied and the more milk baby will get. The letting down mechanism in the breast works in waves. All the milk is not released at once. As the baby continue to nurses, different muscles squeeze different milk ducts, releasing more milk. If you pay attention you will notice it.  Also it goes back to the basics of  "Is baby wetting enough? Is baby Gaining?" if the answers are 'YES' than your supply is not gone.
Also, your breasts change feeling when you have been nursing for a while. They go from feeling firm all the time to soft. This simply means that your body has adjusted the supply to meet the demand of your baby.  This also gives out the idea that your supply is low. There are supplements that you can take to increase your supply or keep a steady high supply.

-Mother's Milk tea
-Brewers Yeast
-Fenugreek tablets
-Lactation cookies

These are but a few that can be ingested to increase milk supply or help with a healthy supply.

4.Nurse for only 10mins on each side.
This is something that hospital lactation consultants say to new mothers, not to create that habit, but to get them used to nursing on each side. After nursing has been established, this trend needs to be adjusted. If you continue this trend, it will actually affect your milk supply. Baby needs to eat on each side until they are sated on that side. The habit of putting baby on the last breast that was nursed on last needs to be started.  For example: baby started on the left and finished on the right during the last session. For the next session, baby needs to start on the right and finish on the left. This give each breast the chance to be fully emptied and for a true supply and demand system to function properly.

5  Your baby will starve because the supply does not meet the demand.
This is a lie. This is what mothers say to other mothers to make them give up or not try to nurse.  I read a wonderful story about a mother who had only one functional breast and she breastfeed all of her children, including a set of twins. Saying this is like saying that you can only get a glass of water from a faucet. Every time you put baby to breast, you will make more of a milk supply for baby. Every time you turn on the faucet, you get more water out (unless the city shut off the water, but you get the idea.).

There has become this mentality of showing support to mothers who let themselves fail at breastfeeding.  They are allowed to think that their half hearted attempt at nursing is ok. They shrug their shoulders and say "At least I tried."  The worst part about this trend is that they tell their story to other moms who say they are thinking about nursing, which may make these expectant mothers think "Well it didn't work for them, maybe it won't work for me...". Then when they "fail" at nursing, there is a group of women who pat them on the back and all say "At least you tried." when really, they didn't. They did a half hearted attempt and spent less time and energy on finding a real answer then they did picking out their baby's last outfit. This is the destructive mentality that is out there, breeding and spreading like a wild weed.

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