Having spoken to several moms I learned that there is a lack of advocacy on breast feeding. Here is a list of common myths versus truths on breastfeeding and breast milk:
1. “I don’t have milk”. – Yes its true some mothers are not dripping milk before the birth of their baby. Some won’t have milk until it is stimulated by their baby. Milk naturally comes out 3 to 5 days after the first latch. Let it be known that 99% of mothers have breast milk.
2. “Milk has not come in yet, my baby will die of hunger”. – The baby from the womb has enough nutrients from the placenta and is full for the next 3 days. The tummy of the baby is as small as a cashew nut and will not need a lot of milk just yet. In the next 3 days, what comes out of the breast is the COLOSTRUM. Don’t let the nurses or midwives push you to feed your baby formula or glucose water. Instead, allow your baby to latch and suck on your breast. The breast milk will flow the more the baby has contact with it.
3. “You can’t store breast milk, so I just let my milk drip on my shirt and wash it after”. Oh No! Breast milk is precious! You can manually express it in a bowl or use a breast pump to extract breast milk. If you store milk in the refrigerator it can last for 7 days. If you store it in a single door freezer it can last 2-4 weeks, double door 1-2 months, and a separate freezer chest can keep the milk up to 6 months.The expressed stored milk can be given to your baby when you are away.
4. “I don’t have enough milk so my baby is not satisfied and cries because of hunger.” – If your baby has wet or soiled diapers, and is gaining weight, then for sure you are giving enough. I had to learn this… Not all crying mean that babies are hungry. But if you offer your breast at every cry, the baby who is naturally accustomed to sucking will take your breast even if not hungry. Watch out also if your baby is fussy because of gas build up due to over feeding… or if your baby spits out milk, it may be overfeeding too.
I realized it is also psychological. If you think you do not have, then even your milk supply gets depleted. If you think that you have, you maybe surprised at the ounces that you can get when you pump.
Other tips to let milk flow includes: Imagining your baby crying or actually hearing your baby cry can influence your body to flow milk. Also I have tried wetting my feet with the faucet and the sensation of dripping water also influences a let down (this i find most interesting). Expressing using a breast pump before or after breast feeding will signal your body to produce more milk.
If you still feel inadequate then I suggest you load up on wholegrain and multigrain. I eat oatmeal every morning and that does me good. Also malunggay in soups, clam shell soup, and different juices help increase my milk. If you can’t eat malunggay you can buy malunggay capsules. I was suggested by my friend to take Natalac and it has done wonders for me…
Most of all, don’t give up or think negatively about breast feeding. If you feel frustrated, calm down and pray. God promises sufficiency in our every need.