How is your breast milk quality and quantity affected? Ms Cynthia Pang from the Lactation Clinic at KK Women's and Children's Hospital sheds light on these common breastfeeding myths.
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Breastfeeding is beneficial for both mother and baby's health. However, there are many myths and beliefs surrounding this highly recommended practice. Ms Cynthia Pang, Assistant Director of
Nursing and Senior Lactation Consultant at the
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the
SingHealth group, busts these common breastfeeding myths.
Myth 4: Many women do not produce enough milk.
Fact: A woman normally does not have a lot of milk supply in the first few days after her baby’s birth. This first milk is called colostrum and the baby must be well latched on in order to get it. However, supply soon increases and the majority of women produce more than enough milk to feed their babies.
Myth 5: A breastfeeding woman has to drink lots of water and eat 500 calories more than usual in order to make enough milk.
Fact: A breastfeeding woman should drink water according to her thirst; she does not have to compulsorily consume a certain number of glasses per day. Likewise, provided she has a balanced diet, the number of calories should be dictated by her appetite. Some women do eat more when they breastfeed, but others do not, without any harm done to the mother or baby or the milk supply.
Myth 6: There is no way to know that your baby is getting enough breast milk.
Fact: You know your baby is getting enough milk if the baby drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding with a rhythmic jaw movement. Swallowing of the milk can be seen or heard. Another way to tell that your baby is getting sufficient milk is to check for wet and soiled nappies. If this is a constant occurrence, and your baby appears bright-eyed and alert and seems to be putting on weight, he or she is being well fed.
Myth 7: If babies feed every two to three hours, they aren't getting enough milk.
Fact: It's normal for breast-fed babies to want a feed every two to three hours even though they have had a full feed. This is because breast milk is easy to digest. A breast-fed baby gets hungry sooner than a formula-fed baby for this reason.
Myth 8: Skipping a day feed will ensure more milk for the night feed.
Fact: The more you breastfeed, the more supply you will have. Breaking your regular breastfeeding schedule may reduce your milk supply. The only sure way to have a steady supply of breast milk is to regularly feed your baby or express the milk.
Myth 9: Breast milk does not contain enough iron for the baby's needs.
Fact: Breast milk contains enough iron and other nutrients for the baby's needs for the first six months after birth. After six months, the baby should get iron from semi-solid and solid food. The World Health Organization (WHO) says: “Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infants all the nutrients they need for healthy development.”