When it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting, everyone always has something to say. But sometimes the advices and tips you get are just good old mamma tales; things that have been proven scientifically to be untrue. We talked to Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology Dr. Rania Hosny about common misconceptions of breastfeeding and she helped us see through the falsehoods.
1) What is the secret to healthy breastfeeding?
People are always asking what to eat or what to drink to enrich their breast milk, however science proves that we are picking the wrong approach. Sure, food paves the way but it is not the secret to healthy breastfeeding, proper withdrawal is. Most mothers who face problems in breastfeeding don’t know how to make their babies latch on to their breasts properly. It is a skill that mothers learn; proper withdrawal increases proper supply. A mother should monitor her baby and make sure that milk doesn’t stay in her breast for too long or else she’ll lose it.
2) Do extra fluids produce extra milk?
We’ve all heard the “drink a lot of water” advice and applied it at some point. It hasn’t proven effective or even related to breastmilk. Mothers should drink to thirst but they shouldn’t push fluids if they don’t want to.
3) Is it okay for mothers to drink coffee and tea?
A fair share of mothers deprive themselves from coffee out of fear that it might harm their babies. Babies aren’t necessarily harmed if their mothers consume caffeine in moderation. Let’s remember that caffeine is an anti-oxidant and sometimes mothers need something to give them energy.
4) Does eating gassy food make the baby gassy?
People aren’t the same and that is why we can’t generalize everything. Sometimes it is more about individual cases and conditions. Mothers should observe and learn to judge what annoys their babies and what doesn’t. Even if gassy food troubles your stomach that shouldn’t necessarily be the case with your baby.
5) Is there such thing as “Types of families” in breastfeeding?
Quite often we hear things like “this family doesn’t breastfeed” or “they aren’t rich in breast milk” but it is more often our derived conclusion than an actual scientific fact. I always say, breastfeeding comes easy and goes easy. It has nothing to do with your family and what problems they have had. It has to do with your own practices and how you manage proper latching and proper withdrawal.
6) Can babies get allergic to their moms’ breast milk?
This idea has been spreading quite fast that babies can get allergic to their mothers’ breast milk or suffer lactose intolerance. All these are excuses to push formula to mothers without any scientific evidence.
In our communities, opinions are paraphrased to be medical tips and word often spreads without any effort. Information that get passed on to you don’t necessarily come based on prior knowledge. Sometimes it is just an outcome of our chat-loving culture that ceases to use the phrase “I don’t know”. So if you are pregnant and overthinking about breastfeeding, the good news is that you don’t have to stick to rigid regimes and eat things you don’t even like or follow misconceptions just because they are common beliefs.