World Breastfeeding Week 2018: 5 Myths About Breastfeeding We Should Stop Believing In
Myths about breastfeeding that we need to die. (Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Breastmilk is the foundation of a baby's healthy life. There is no alternative in the world that can replicate the nutritional value and its effects on the human body. Perfectly designed for the child’s nutritional, breast milk also fulfil's child's immunological needs in the most natural and optimal way. Even if its nutritional supremacy is kept aside, breastfeeding builds an emotional bond between the child and mother that cannot be achieved in any other way. The emotional and psychological benefits of breastfeeding are immense. This World Breastfeeding Week Know The 14 Advantages of Breastfeeding For The Baby and The Mom.

However, unfortunately, the irony is that many barriers surrounding breastfeeding still prevails in our society. Creating an enabling and supportive environment for women to breastfeed still seems like a far-fetched dream.

Problems like lack of proper health services, the stigma attached to breastfeeding, workplace policies and aggressive marketing of breast milk substitute is just a few on the list. Additionally, there are so many myths, especially in India, that are simply worsening the situation.

Photo Credit: Public Domain Pictures

Here are a few common myths about breastfeeding that needs to die.

  1. Pain While Breastfeeding is Normal: While mothers may feel some kind of slight pain while breastfeeding, especially if you have just started to breastfeed but that doesn't mean that the pain should last longer than a few days. The pain should go away and you must take a professional advice or get yourself screened if the pain persists
  2. Formulas Are Similar To Breast Milk: Formulas try to replicate the contents found in the human breast milk but that doesn't mean that it is the same. They lack major enzymes, antibodies and hormones, also unlike mother's milk formulas don't change according to the needs of the baby. Formulas don't substitute breast milk.
  3. Breastfeeding Should Be Stopped If You Have A Blocked Duct: On the contrary, the natural way to open a blocked duct is to breastfeed your child as much as possible and that the build-up occurs due to the lack of breastfeeding. That doesn't mean you must force feed the baby, you must instead get rid of excess milk from time-to-time and avoid build-up. However, if the case worsens you might want to stop breastfeeding only if advised so by a professional.
  4. Women With Smaller Breasts Produce Less Milk: The newly developed tissues where your milk ducts are located produce milk and not the fatty tissue. Therefore it is completely false that smaller breasts produce less milk. The bodily changes that you'll experience post-pregnancy will include the growth of the breast tissues that will help you breastfeed. Your existing breast size has got nothing to do with the milk your breast will produce during pregnancy.
  5. Only mothers by blood can breastfeed: This myth needs to die. There have been cases wherein mothers unable to breastfeed instantly are helped by fellow mothers in the hospital by feeding the baby. Any nursing mother can breastfeed a child. So, yes you can even breastfeed your adopted child. Sometimes you may need the help of hormonal pills and breast pumping in some cases.

These myths only beat the whole purpose of breastfeeding. There is no life beyond breast milk and this needs to be understood today more than ever. A shocking statistic of about 823 000 child deaths, 20 000 maternal deaths and immense economic losses each year could be averted by scaling up breastfeeding and that only makes it a burning issue. Breastfeeding not only helps prevent malnutrition but also controls food security even in times of crisis and can help deal with poverty.  Also, there are so many women whose lives are filled with a never-ending hustle and it, in turn, leads to moms finding it difficult to breastfeed their children due to professional commitments. At such times, storing breast milk for later use helps big time. However, you must know the Right Way to Safely Store Breast Milk.