Breastfeeding is considered as the best source of nutrition for the newborns since ages, but certain myths about it should be addressed and clarified. Let us discuss some of the most common myths and their reality.
Formula milk is heavier for the baby to digest. Therefore the baby is not hungry for a comparatively longer time. On the contrary, breastmilk is lighter and doesn't add any extra burden for the little digestive systems of the baby. The elements passed onto the breastmilk are very low, and some of the harmful ones are broken down in the mother's body, rarely affecting the baby's health. Babies tend to face gas issues irrespective of the food intake by the mother unless they react to certain foods.
There are no specific foods to enhance milk supply, but a nourished and balanced diet is required to carry out its primary functions like breathing, digesting, etc.—and the additional new role of producing milk. In some cases, breasts tend to engorge, creating heaviness and pain, making it harder for the baby to latch. To break this vicious cycle, hand-express a little to allow your baby to latch, and if you're still feeling heaviness or pain, hand-express just enough to feel comfortable.
Another common myth is to discontinue feeding when you are suffering from cold or flu. However, in reality, if you feed during this time, you pass antibodies produced in your body to fight infections and providing immunity to the baby.
If you have a blocked duct, breast infection, or pus coming out, you can still continue to feed your baby as it will not have any adverse effects. Another common misconception is that the breasts sag because of feeding. But, it actually happens due to pregnancy- your weight increases rapidly, and so does the size of your breasts. As your breasts double in size/weight during pregnancy, the ligaments that support them stretch, leading to a slight sagging of the breasts.
Breastfeeding is a two-way process, as the baby signals to the mother's body, it's requirements, and the body, in turn, produces what the baby needs. Thus, pumping breastmilk and giving it through a bottle does not work in the same way.
So, feed your baby without any concerns, and enjoy the closeness with her as long as life permits you.