Breastfeeding Myths Debunked

Do babies need water? Small boobs, no milk? We’re setting the record straight!

There are many myths out there surrounding breastfeeding. Some myths are passed down through generations, some specific to certain cultures, and of course, from mama-to-mama experience. Another factor is that with constant research being undertaken for greater evidence in pregnancy related areas, what we once did, may not be of best practice or recommended anymore. So here are some common questions/myths and their answers/debunking.

Q: It’s a hot day, so I’ll give my baby (<6months) a bottle of water?
A: No your little bubba does not need a bottle of water. Breastmilk has 2 parts (once the milk is in). Firstly when the baby latches it will suck more intensely and quickly…this is when the baby is getting foremilk, a thin, thirst quenching milk. When the baby switches rhythms and begins slower, more nutritive sucking, bub is receiving the hindmilk (a fattier, densely nutritious, calorie fuelled milk). So on a hot day, you might find your baby feeds more frequently and for short amounts of time…this is because baby is requiring the thirst quenching milk. Make sure you keep your own fluids up!

Q: I’ve got small boobs, so does that mean I don’t produce as much milk as someone with big boobs?
A: Breast size doesn’t affect milk production in the majority of women, this is because breast tissue is for the most part connective tissue and fatty tissue rather than milk producing glands. The amount of milk produced is connected to how often, how well and for how long bub feeds.

Q: My mother didn’t make much milk, so I won’t either:
A: Since your mum has had babies, a lot has changed. We now strongly encourage skin-to-skin immediately after birth (no washing of bub beforehand) and mother-infant bonding as well as rooming in with your baby. Complimentary feeds are not as frequent as they once were and many hospitals are striving for BFHI (Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative) accreditation which encourages breastfeeding and its benefits, and only utilising formula if there is a medical indication or maternal request.

Q: (Day 1) I don’t have enough milk:
A: When your baby is born and before your milk comes in around day 3-4, you have colostrum – a gold coloured, sticky fluid that your body has been making and storing since you were 16 weeks pregnant. Colostrum is not only gold in colour, it is liquid gold! It is densely rich in your antibodies, calories, protein and has a laxative effect (helping to push out the meconium, the black sticky poo, stimulating baby’s tummy) to make more room for breastmilk. You make the perfect amount of breastmilk for your baby. Colostrum is the initial breastmilk, and is of a lower volume than foremilk and hindmilk, however it is the perfect amount for your baby’s tiny tummy, at that point in time (see the image at the bottom of article).

Q: Formula fed babes are better sleepers than breastfed babes:
A: Formula and breastmilk have a difference composition and different protein molecules. Formula has larger protein molecules, meaning that it takes the baby longer to process and metabolise…sitting in their tummy longer…keeping them fuller for longer. Research has shown that though formula fed babies may sleep for longer periods than breastfed babies, their sleep quality is not of a better quality.
Breastfed babies begin to sleep for longer periods from around 4-6 weeks and it is at this time that their sleep duration seems to equate to that of a formula-fed bub.

FYI – Why babies don’t need a crazy amount of breastmilk on Day 1, and why they want to feed constantly in the days to come is explained perfectly in this picture below. Babies have tiny tummies, and breastmilk is metabolised very easily and quickly…hence their frequent feeding. Babies also feed frequently because they’re clever and know this brings the milk in quicker, especially at night time in the early days. You breastmilk producing hormone, Prolactin, is highest at night…and babies know it…hence why they sleep more soundly during the day and are crazily feeding throughout the night. Hang in there – they won’t be possessed, breastmilk crazy night monsters for too long!

via Pinterest
via Pinterest

Reference:

Saggy Boobs and Other Breastfeeding Myths 2008. Scotland. (This is an evidence based book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. An interesting read for mama’s wanting more info and more myths debunked!)

Vitamin K: Prophylaxis or Poppycock

The Vitamin K injection, does seem to sometimes, albeit unfairly, get lumped into the vaccination category by some people. It’s not a vaccine. More info here…

So I’m putting it out there, I’m pro-vaccination (insert horror and all things evil). I believe in herd immunity, and I believe that vaccinations against nasties such as whooping cough and chicken pox are a good thing! The Vitamin K injection, does seem to sometimes, albeit unfairly, get lumped into the vaccination category, and therefore is shoved into the evil corner by some with all the other vaccines – so this post will be about debunking the Vitamin K ‘vaccination’ and rather putting out there all things Vitamin K ‘injection’ related. It is an injection. Not a vaccination!

Vitamin K is a vitamin that naturally occurs in our bodies and is essential in helping our blood to clot and prevent serious bleeding. Babies cannot produce this for the first few months of life….so consenting to the Vitamin K injection helps bubs have enough Vitamin K to clot their blood (and prevent HDN – a rare bleeding into the brain).

There have been no reported reactions to the injection within Australia, since its implementation 25 years ago. There are two ways in which to give a baby Vitamin K:

1. Injection at birth

2. Oral doses (more complicated- a dose at birth, another 3-5 days old, and at 4 weeks).

There are some medical contraindications as to why you wouldn’t give a bubba Vitamin K… these are if they are sick, premie or if their mama took medication throughout pregnancy for certain reasons (talk to your midwife or doctor if you’re at all concerned).

If you’re seeking more info, it’s a great topic to bring up antenatally with your partner, midwife, obstetrician or GP. Of course at the end of the day, it’s your baby, your call!

For adults wanting to increase their Vitamin K stores within the body, as it is great for bone health (Vit. K helps calcium absorption) eating varied leafy green veggies should do the trick; think spinach, kale, celery as well as carrots, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, sundried tomatoes….

For more information on Vitamin K please click resources and blog references below:

Vitamin K Royal Hospital For Women NSW

18 Foods high in Vitamin K for stronger bones

Vitamin K in neonates: facts and myths

Vitamin K for newborn babies Australian Government

image via theberry.com
image via theberry.com

Breastfeeding Mamas

It’s important to be mindful of how nutrient rich your diet is. Keep W.I.I.Z. in mind!

Breastfeeding is a calorie burner, which is awesome for post bub weight loss…but because your body is working hard to produce milk for bub, it’s important to be mindful of how nutrient rich your diet is. Keep W.I.I.Z in mind – and add an extra 2-3 mindful snacks to your everyday diet.

Wine Water No.1 thirst quencher. Water unfortunately does not increase your milk production, but breastfeeding is hard work so keeping hydrated is important. Aim for: a glass of water with each meal, a glass of water whilst feeding.

Iodine plays a key role in helping your bubs brain become Einsteinlike. The iodine requirements of a new mum are almost double the norm! Meeting these requirements can be solely diet related, supplement related or a combo of both. If you are using supplements, before use please speak to your doctor. Good Food Sources containing Iodine: bread, iodised salt, seafood, eggs and dairy.

Iron plays a part in transporting oxygen around the body. If you’re low in iron, you begin to feel sluggish, fatigued and are susceptible to a weakened immune system. Good Food Sources containing Iron: red meat, chicken and fish (these all also contain protein and zinc). Green leafy vegetables and legumes contain iron.

Hot tip: If you’re wanting to up your iron levels and help your body absorb iron more easily, squeezing citrus fruits on your greens and vegetables, allows the body to absorb the iron more easily!

Zinc is a warrior for healthy skin, good immunity and reproductive health. Good Food Sources containing Zinc: meats, cereals, brightly coloured veggies and fruit.

Image via @KauailifeImage: @kauailife

Resource: Thanks to #thehealthymummy for all their fab info and recipes available online! x

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