With the influx of information at this time, everyone seems to have an idea or some tips about how best to breastfeed an infant. Many myths during pregnancy and afterwards are said with earshot of a new mother from older mothers. Do it this way, it is not done that way, this could lead to confusion for the new mother.
Meanwhile, with the spike in confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, there are guidelines by the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) about breastfeeding infants.
Breastfeeding is associated with some unfounded taboos that have gained acceptance over time. PUblog shares with you some of these myths.
1. Breastfeeding is easy and comes naturally: Breastfeeding is not a one woman’s job, she needs as much help as she can get, from relatives and healthcare providers.
2. It is impossible to breastfeed premature born: Although premature babies take more time to learn how to breastfeed with parents, it will work out fine. Breastfeeding a preterm depend on the numbers of weeks spent in the uterus. Breastfeeding preterm is possible using a breast pump.
3. New babies need schedules: The American Paediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed 8-12 times a day during the first couple of weeks. Then after two weeks at most, you should feed her when she shows signs (licking lips, smacking and sucking hand, etc,) of hunger.
4. Nipple pain is normal: New mothers may experience slight uneasiness first few days of breastfeeding. Pain can be avoided by making sure that the baby is correctly attached to the breast.
5. Small breast produce little milk: Breastmilk production is determined by how well the baby has latched on the breast not the size of the breast. Breastmilk production depends on how often and how well the baby suckled on it
6. Wash your nipples before breastfeeding: Abiding by this is not required. The nipples produce a substance that has ‘good bacteria’ when the baby smells it, it helps build babies’ a healthy immune system.
7. The mother needs rest, so separate her from the baby: There is something called ‘skin to skin’, also known as Kangaroo mother care. This is a practice, that involves bringing the child in direct contact with the mother to help them find and attach to the breasts. This helps to establish breastfeeding.
8. Eat only plain food while lactating: There is no need to change food habit. Just ensure to eat nourishing foods.
9. Sick women do not breast-feed: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has debunked this as baseless. The body explained that “Depending on the illness, mothers can usually continue breastfeeding when they are 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 defences.” Before taking medications, inform your doctor or pharmacists that you are a nursing mother. Do well to get the right treatment, and rest, eat and drink well.
10. Breastfeed your baby right after birth or you won’t be able to later: Although it is easier to breastfeed during the first hour after birth because the reflexes are usually very strong at the time, however, if you miss that opportunity, do so as soon as possible. You can also request the assistance of the birth attendants to breastfeed your newborn.
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