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There is a little awareness regarding breastfeeding even amongst the educated and working class of Women in India, the myths associated with it although are numerous.
We usually have to rely on what experienced people around us know and think about breastfeeding. Their experience is although limited to having a child themselves that too good 25-30 years ago. Entities like lactation Consultants and breastfeeding self help groups are still far from existence in India.
We just have the nurse at the hospital and the gynae to guide us through this task. The nurse herself is not certified for this and can confuse you completely, the doc will explan things to you once or twice. And then you are all by yourself to win the battle.
The lack of knowledge and guidance leeds to numerous myths associated with bfing and also is the reason behind majority of mothers not bfing their babies as much and as long as they should. I personally had to struggle and overcome this battle all by myself and I would like to share my takeaways with everyone:
Breastfeeding is natural and will happen on its own when time comes: I guess all pregnant woman think that ways. However , the truth of the matter is bfing is an acquired art for the mother that needs to be practised and perfected. How to hold your baby, how to get a deep latch, how frequently to feed your baby all this needs to be worked upon and takes time, patience and resilience.
I had a C- Sec so I am not lactating much:-Every mother will lactate irrespective of the way she has delivered the baby. It is the detachment of placenta from the body that triggers lactation and it happens in both normal as well as c-sec deliveries. What forms the milk flow in accordance with baby's need is frequent nursing. Nurse your baby as frequently as he demands and soon you will be producing enough milk for your baby. Do not supplement with formula as breastmilk is formed on replinishmebt basis, the more milk is removed the more it is produced. So when you give formula for a few feeds the body gets signal that it doesn't need to produce more milk and that is when the milk supply goes down.
My baby is feeding too frequently, is he hungry? Suppose my milk supply is low: New born feed frequently and it's absolutely normal. Some babie feed more frequently than others. Simple reason behind this is small storage capacity of breast. Although it doesn't mean that overall milk supply is low. It's as simple as having a bottle of water with two different sized glasses, one big and the other small. With the small glass you need to drink more number of times to finish the bottle in comparison to the big glass. Although in both cases amount of water consumed is the same.
I think my baby is not getting enough breastmilk: Since there is no measure to how much breast milk your baby is taking, self doubt is obvious to creep in. However, if your baby is peeing and pooping well (around six wet nappies, and poop in range of 4 times a day to once in 7 days both are normal) and is gaining weight, he is getting enough milk.
There is not much milk when I expess milk, this means my supply is low:The amount of milk you pump does not indicate amount available for your baby. Babies are best milk extractors and can take more milk than any pump can extract from the breast. So, trust your baby more than the pump.
My baby is not latching, I cannot breastfeed him: Although its natural and instinctive for babies to latch on to the breasts, some babies do not latch on their own. But this does not mean that you cannot breastfeed. Babies can be made to latch on to breast using tricks and techniques. I personally found yellow nursery video on latching available on youtube very helpful. There are other resources available online which one must refer.
I am suffering from cough and cold and fever so I can't breastfeed: These minor health issues should not deter you from breastfeeding, infact they are boon in disguise as our body is producing anti bodies to fight with these ailments and the same is being transferred to the baby through breastmilk (can formula milk do this wonder?). So go ahead and until instructed by your pediatrician, do not stop breastfeeding.
So all you ladies out there, please don't fall prey to these myths and ruin your chances of breastfeeding. Its best to educate yourself as much as possible about breastfeeding while you are pregnant so tgat you don't have to rely on random advices.