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Facts and Myths of Breastfeeding

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One of the things a mother prepares herself for in the last few months of pregnancy is breastfeeding. Not that it is a problematic activity but it requires a certain amount of physical as well as psychological preparation. And then there are so many advice and guidance flowing into your ears that eventually it is difficult to differentiate between the logical suggestion and the traditional allegory.

However, being a mom from the technologically advanced generation you must chew over all that is laid before you, before following anything blindly. And why shouldn’t you? The old woman’s tale certainly had some hidden meaning but it also depends on the interpreter as to what they derived out of it.

Here are a few facts and myths related to breastfeeding, some of these might be a surprise because you thought they were factual:

Myth no. 1

Do not feed the baby for the first 2 to 3 days, because there is unclean water in it.

Fact: The first feed or colostrum is rich in antibodies shielding the newborn against infections.

Myth no. 2

Include water along with breastfeed, because the milk is thick hence difficult for the baby to digest.

Fact: The breast milk contains plenty of water, hence the mother needs to keep her body hydrated but there is certainly no need to add extra water to the baby’s diet.

Myth no. 3

Bottle-feeding should commence at an early age else the baby will not be supportive in being fed by bottle later.

Fact: Doctors always stress on the importance of mother’s milk for the sole reason that it is the healthiest and best feed for the newborn. And it should be given exclusively to the baby for the first 6 months, followed by sipper or tumbler later on. There is no need to give bottle now or even later on.

Myth no. 4

A most common advice given in Indian households is, mother should not feed the baby immediately after taking bath as it will catch cold.

Fact: The truth is that there is no relation between thetwo activities. The timing of your bath does not affect breastfeeding in any manner.

Myth no. 5

Avoid or completely stop breastfeeding if the mother has fever or cough, lest the baby will also catch the infection.

Fact: Do not stop breast feeding as common infections are not transmitted through breast feeding. However you need to wash hands and cover your nose & mouth to prevent spread of infection to baby.

Breast-Feeding

Myth no. 6

Gripe water should be given regularly to avoid abdominal colic to the baby.

Fact: Instead if you put the baby against your shoulders and pat it gently after every feed, helping it burp a few times, you can easily avoid abdominal colic.

Myth no. 7

Giving top-feed will help the baby gain weight and make him healthy.

Fact: Breastfeeding is best for baby. Top fed babies can gain weight rapidly as it has more fats, but this leads to baby becoming prone for obesity and other diseases later in life.

Myth no. 8

Avoid eating foods such as kidney beans, chickpeas or any form of spicy food when breastfeeding, because it causes abdominal colic to the baby.

Fact: Cook properly to avoid discomfort, avoid if you feel a definite co-relation

Well, if these are cooked properly and moderately spiced they will certainly not cause any discomfort. However, if you feel there’s a definite co-relation between any of these foods and your child’s colic it is advisable to avoid it.

Myth no. 9

Avoid turmeric in food because it causes jaundice to the baby.

Fact: Newborns suffer from jaundice because their body has more bilirubin than it can remove. This has no relation with the turmeric in mother’s diet.

Myth no. 10

Mothers should avoid all medicines as long as they are breastfeeding.

Fact: Mothers can take most of the medicines even when they are breastfeeding, but not without consultation.

So, all the above myths have been there since ages and we have seen some educated mothers following these too. But now is the time to distinguish the facts and fads so that you are able to give the best to your baby as well as to your own body.