Category Archives: Myths

Mythbusters: Lactation Edition, Part 3

Welcome to Part 3 of Mythbusters: Lactation Edition! For this segment, I interviewed my lovely friend Caitlyn, a dietician (who took time away from studying for her board exams to answer these questions. So hop on over to her blog and show her some love for being so awesome!) Caitlyn is a huge breastfeeding advocate, and the questions I asked her deal primarily with the nutritional makeup of breast milk. There are a lot of myths out there about how a mother’s diet affects her milk.

1. If I don’t eat extremely healthy, is my breast milk really any better than formula? Yes…contrary to popular belief mom’s don’t have to eat “perfectly” healthy to have good breast milk. I mean is “perfectly healthy” even possible? I digress…so yes your breastmilk would still be better than formula for a healthy baby. However, you do want to eat a variety of foods and continue to take your vitamins to ensure no nutritional deficiencies will arise in your milk and your baby. You also want to make sure to get enough calories throughout the day. During breastfeeding, you will need to consume approximately 300-500 extra calories to make up for the loss during feeding. The avoidance of alcohol is still necessary as it will pass through your bloodstream to your milk. DISCLAIMER: Babies with special needs (ie. absorption problems, genetic disorders, etc.) may be required to be on particular formulas, therefore that would be the most appropriate for their baby. This statement does not fit with everyone.

2. Is there any nutritional benefit to breastfeeding longer than six months? Yes…as your baby grows your milk changes to their changing needs. Can we say ahh maze ing?! Typically the introduction of solid foods can occur around 4-6 months, yet your baby should still be getting the majority of his/her nutrients via breastmilk. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding at least until one year, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding until two years. While weaning time is up to your discretion, there are still many benefits of continuing and weaning should still include breast milk as the major source of nutrition.

3. Isn’t formula just as good for your baby as breast milk?  On the contrary, “Breast milk is widely acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for infants, with a range of benefits for infants’ health, growth, immunity and development.”– Healthy People 2010, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

Breastmilk is a unique form of nutrition that cannot be replaced by other sources, including formula. While formula companies strive to create the closest form of nutrition to breast milk, it still falls short. For one thing, formula can’t continue to specifically change to your babies growing needs. It also can’t meet each of the vast and complex nutrient requirements your baby has. Many studies have also shown that:

  • Breast-fed children are more resistant to infection and diseases early in life (and even as they grow) when compared to formula fed babies (ie. less need for squeezing antibacterial on every person that touches your baby!). This is because the mother’s antibodies are being passed through the milk to the child.
  • Breast-fed children are less likely to develop allergies when compared to formula fed children.
  • Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life, more likely to lose the baby weight quicker, and have a lower risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.

So see…there are benefits all around (source: www.nrdc.org)

4. If I give my newborn rice cereal, will he sleep longer at night? No…in fact there may be risk involved with this. Remember the recommendation for starting solid food is around 4-6 months, so therefore anything prior to that could be dangerous. Also when you introduce solid foods, the child should be in the upright position. It could be dangerous to put food in the bottle as the baby could aspirate (inhale and choke). Babies sleeping habits will improve with maturity, not a bedtime snack. One study was performed on rice cereal and it’s aid in sleeping. No statistical correlation was found. So not only could these be dangerous, but also ineffective.
Thanks, Caitlyn for answering these questions… and GOOD LUCK on your boards! You’re gonna rock it! 🙂

Mythbusters: Lactation Edition, Part 2

The next set of breastfeeding myths are discussed with the lovely Meagan. Meagan is a nursing student, whose field of interest is in labor and delivery, as well as lactation. She’s very knowledgeable and passionate about breastfeeding & I’m so glad she was able to answer these questions for me. She’s also adorable. And engaged to one of my oldest friends, Ryan. Not oldest, as in, he’s old… Oldest as in we’ve known each other most of our lives. But I digress…

1. Should I supplement with formula until my milk comes in? There is no need to supplement. Before the milk “comes in,” there is still a substance called colostrum in the breast and it is sufficient for the baby. It has all he/she needs for nutrition. I have to add, though, that this is applies ONLY in situations where the newborn is healthy and has no blood sugar/health issues.

2. My newborn wants to eat constantly… am I making enough milk? It’s as simple as supply and demand. The newborn wants to feed when they’re hungry. Each time they feed, they stimulate more milk production. Sometimes, they are even soothed by the mother’s nipple…like a pacifier, which would make them want to “latch” constantly. Make sure they’re gaining weight and that they’re having wet and dirty diapers is also another indication that they’re receiving what they need.

3. I’m only getting half an ounce when I pump, do I have a low milk supply? That doesn’t necessarily mean you have low supply. It may be the type of pump used. Babies also suck milk MUCH better than a pump could ever do. If the baby is gaining weight and having the physician-recommended wet/dirty diapers, chances are, the milk supply is NOT low. It’s also good for moms to drink lots of water to get that milk a flowin’ .

4. If I nurse all the time, will I run out of milk? You will NOT run out of milk. This goes back to the supply and demand thing.. Once the baby sucking stimulates the breast, it continues to produce milk, never “emptying.” There’s a constant flow of milk.. The baby will never empty a breast in one feeding because there’s always more milk coming in. They will know when they need to stop.

Meagan did such a great job answering these questions… I only have one thing to add. She’s absolutely right about the pumping. If someone wouldn’t have told me that pumps are less efficient than babies, I would have had several (more than I already did) major panic attacks when T was brand new. I didn’t really start pumping till he was 2-3 weeks old, and I hardly got anything for what seemed like forever. It would take me 4 or 5 sessions to get 3 oz. Eventually, my body adjusted & I was able to actually pump a significant amount of milk, but it took awhile. Especially since I was with T all the time, so I was not pumping in place of feedings. Now, I can easily get 4 oz in 15 minutes in between feedings.

Anyways, on a side note, I’m so excited to get my friends and family involved in this blog! I’m just having so much fun writing and researching things I’m interested in! Hopefully with me going back to work soon (and by soon, I mean Monday!) I can enlist some special guest posters (i.e. My friends Kayla & Kristin, and possibly my husband… he’s the idea man behind this blog anyway!)

Thanks, again, Meagan for playing Mythbusters with me! 🙂

Mythbusters: Lactation Edition

So, it seems like I’m constantly hearing/reading some serious misinformation about breastfeeding. A lot of it comes from women who tried to breastfeed, but were given outdated and untrue information. No wonder women give up so easily!!! Now, I’m no expert on lactation, but when I have a question I usually call the warm line at Ochsner (where T was born) to get reliable answers/information.

If you do a google search for any host of common breastfeeding concerns, you will find a lot of mothering forums where moms talk about the topic. Most of them are given horrible (and I do mean HORRIBLE) advice. Seriously. Things like, “Do I need to toughen up my nipples before delivery to make breastfeeding less painful?” No, I’m not kidding. I wanted to take a few minutes to interview a few professionals and veteran parents (who happen to be friends… I love my friends) on the subject.

There will be a few installments of this post… so if you have a breastfeeding question, send it to me! I will pass it along to one of my very knowledgeable friends!

First up, one of my favorite Moms in the world, Annie! She has two kids, a 4-year-old son (whom I adore nearly as much as my own son. I happened to be his nanny for the first two years of his life), and a 15-month-old daughter who recently weaned.

1. Will breastfeeding be painful until I wean my baby? Breastfeeding for the most part is not at all painful and can actually be quite calming.  A few things that can be mildly uncomfortable: letdown can be a little uncomfortable but only lasts a second or two and obviously if your baby bites you, that can hurt!

2. Won’t bottle feeding be easier and less time consuming than breastfeeding?  The actual time it takes a baby to drink a bottle versus drink a boob are the same and unless you have a super baby that is able and willing to give herself a bottle, it will take you just as long to feed the baby with a bottle as with a boob.  Things that make bottle feeding more time consuming – shopping for formula or milk, washing bottles.  Once your baby is old enough to hold the bottle herself (and is also willing to – mine is 15 months and still wants me to hold it for her), it would be easier to just hand the baby the bottle.  Of course, the ease and time of bottle feeding versus breast feeding also depends on whether you are at home with your baby or not.  Pumps are getting better, but pumping time will basically double the amount of time it takes to get your baby fed.

3. Is it safe to nurse my baby if either of us are feeling sick? It is definitely safe to nurse your baby while you or she is sick!

Thanks, Annie, for taking the time to answer these questions for me! You should all know that she even offered a before breastfeeding and after breastfeeding picture for this post… don’t you wish I would have taken her up on that offer?? 😉