August is National Breastfeeding Month!
Whether you are nursing or just want to show your support, our KIAH team wants to raise awareness about breast milk and debunk some common myths that you may have heard surrounding breastfeeding.
Myth: Babies instinctively know how to breast feed.
False. The truth is, your baby is born with infant reflexes that can help with breastfeeding, such as sucking and rooting. The suck reflex is the baby’s instinct to suck anything that touches the roof of their mouth. The rooting reflex is when the baby turns their head towards any stroking on the cheek or the mouth. Although your baby is born with these natural instincts, they do not guarantee breastfeeding success. Breastfeeding must be learned and practiced by both mother and baby.
Myth: Breastfeeding is painful.
False, breastfeeding should rarely hurt. Your nipples may become sensitive when you start breastfeeding because of an increased hormone level after delivery and increased contact with your baby during feeding. Although nipple sensitivity is normal, nipple pain is not and should be evaluated by a lactation consultant to determine the cause. The most common cause for painful nipples is an incorrect latch or position, and can be lessened with the help of a professional.
Myth: You won't make enough breast milk in the first few days.
False. Under normal circumstances, a new mom makes exactly enough breast milk for a newborn’s needs. In the first couple of days after birth, if the baby is breastfeeding a minimum of eight times in a 24-hour period, the mother’s body will make about five milliliters (ml) of milk. This is a seemingly small amount but is perfect for a newborn’s stomach, which is about the size of a marble. As the baby continues to regularly breastfeed, the mother’s body will get the signal to increase the volume of milk as the baby’s needs demand it.
We understand that breastfeeding may not be for everyone, but we urge you to be fully educated and aware of your options before your baby arrives. Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and something we, at KIAH, feel very passionate about because of its benefits in the lives of our little ones.