Midwives and other maternity professionals have incredible influence over a new mother’s breastfeeding experience. In this blog, I look at a few things we should never say or do!
Never say: ‘You have too little or too weak milk.’
This is virtually non-existent but a mom who believes that, can doubt her milk away! Oxytocin and prolactin will be overpowered by the hormones of fear and anxiety. A breast baby’s physiological need to suckle frequently is often taken as a sign that mom is not producing enough and then she may decide to supplement feed. Clinic sisters, midwives and doctors can bust this myth!
‘You need cow’s milk to make moms milk.’
Human milk is species-specific and no other mammalian milk would be perfectly suitable for baby humans. Cow’s milk was intended for calves. Calcium is obtainable from many other dietary sources that are more human-compatible.
‘If baby refuses one breast, she will not get enough milk.’
Many babies prefer one breast to the other and can safely and adequately feed unilaterally.
Also, make sure you never: Reject colostrum and mother’s milk for premature babies
Premature, low birth weight and ill newborns need colostrum more than any other baby and this could mean all the difference between thriving and failure to do so. Mothers of these delicate little ones also feel so much more involved and reassured if encouraged to make this contribution.
Stipulate the ‘correct’ duration of breast feeds
Newborns should not be put on a ‘three minutes per breast on the first day’, five minutes on the second day’ and ten minutes on Day 3 type schedule as this is contrary to nursing physiology and gets things off to a bad start. Also, some babies drink enough within five minutes; others need 20 or 30 minutes or even longer and advocating clock-watching is harmful.