5 Things About Breastfeeding That Everyone Should Know

Pooja Maheshwary , 15 Aug 2020
A mother breastfeeding her newborn by Zurijeta | www.shutterstock.com
A mother breastfeeding her newborn by Zurijeta | www.shutterstock.com

This year’s theme for World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7) was “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”, yet breastfeeding moms are hard-pressed to find the support they need for this aspect of child care. In Malini’s Girl Tribe on Facebook, we’ve had countless conversations in which women have shared their experiences surrounding breastfeeding, especially in public and how awkward and harrowing it can be sometimes.

And so, to normalise the conversation around breastfeeding, we put together our second #RealTalk webinar on why supporting breastfeeding is important exclusively for the Tribe. We were joined by Lactation Consultant Victoria Kumar, Mommy Blogger Parul Kakad, Marketing Strategy Specialist Sasha Chhetri, and Chhavi Mittal, Co-Founder of Sit and Mother, who discussed and shone a light on this subject through the lens of their own experience.

We hope that by having this conversation loudly and proudly we can take a few steps forward in this mission to normalise breastfeeding. After all, it is natural, essential and life-giving and not in the least offensive or lewd. Let’s start cancelling these perceptions through conversation, shall we? Read on to know more about some of the interesting things that were discussed during the panel discussion.

1. What is the one mantra every mother should keep in mind?

Victoria said,

My naara for all the mothers out there is—Eat, Feed and Sleep. Three things. Eat for yourself, feed your baby, and sleep when the baby is sleeping. Otherwise, you’ll be like a zombie—sleep-deprived.

2. What kind of support does a breastfeeding mom need?

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it’s been 8 months since I embarked on this rollercoaster and there is no better time than now to talk about how truly grateful I am for all the joy that our little one has brought into our lives…motherhood like all else hasn’t been easy… the sleepless nights, the feeling like a food source ,the blues are all a part of this wonderful package. Its amazing how the mommy brain can do so many things at the same time and works on autopilot …like resting the baby’s head jus right , knowing when she is done with her feed and ofcourse becoming the burping expert of the world . I breastfed 🤱 Mehr exclusively for 6 months and still continue to do so … It truly made me realise the value of a wonderful support system that I have and sometimes the lack of it and also the lack of facilities . Like once I was on a plane and had to feed her , and I literally had to take her to the washroom and was only hoping that the seat belt sign does nt come on before she is done …of course I came out n apologised for using the washroom for so long… now here’s the real deal … I honestly don’t understand the consciousness behind doing something so right n so beautiful. Im also super grateful for all the amazing people in my life for making this journey easier but the truth is I know I’m not alone in feeling that there has to be a slight shift in our mentalities, in the fact that we need more facilities for breast feeding moms with their babies or even their breast pumps …and the only way this can happen is if we start a conversation… I want to encourage moms like you and me whether breast feeding or not , to share their story … tag me @nehadhupia and use the hashtag #freedomtofeed 🤱and I promise to share story with my little world. 💕 … @freedomtofeed

A post shared by Neha Dhupia (@nehadhupia) on

Sasha said,

You need to take care of the mom. A lot of people ask, “What can I do? What can I do for the baby?” Everyone wants to take care of the baby. But the mom is the most important person the baby when they’re a newborn. The best way to support a breastfeeding mom is actually to support Her, to take care of Her, becayse she is looking after her baby.

Chhavi said,

Breastfeeding is a journey which is not just between a mom and the child. The husband, the father is an extremely important part of it. Or the mother-in-law or any other family member who decides to support you in that journey. For me that support was very important. Because most of us as women are very hands-on when it comes to domestic responsibilities, many of us our working as well. So there are many responsibilities. To be able to breastfeed with complete peace of mind, it’s very important to have somebody you can trust who is looking after those things.

3. What are the myths around breastfeeding?

Parul said,

There’s a common myth that you’re not producing enough. If the baby cries, automatically, it’s hungry. There are no other features that maybe the baby has pooped, or it’s cold. No, the baby is hungry. A lot of pressure gets put to switch to formula. For my first two, I never gave formula, because as a mother I knew I was expressing enough. With my third, I was heartbroken because she couldn’t digest my milk. Three months into, she would throw up every feed. I went to a bunch of specialists, and they said I needed to switch to rice-based formula. With my fourth, I fed for about a month or two, then I switched to formula. Because I didn’t have the time as I had to run after them all.

Chhavi said,

It’s a myth that a mother cannot produce enough milk. That’s the way the body is made. There’s no rocket science to it. There’s no special thing you have to eat or drink. If you drink more milk, you’ll produce more milk. That way you’ll produce more chicken soup if you eat chicken soup! It’s ridiculous, right?

Victoria added,

Mothers, please understand: If you don’t have the fullness of the breast or if you don’t feel hard in your breast, it doesn’t mean you don’t have milk.

Also, many a times a mother is not allowed to drink cold water or anything cold, thinking that if they drink cold drinks their breast milk will become cold and the baby will catch a cold. It’s a total myth. You need to drink whatever is quenching your thirst, whether it is boiling hot or cold as ice.

4. Body wisdom

Chhavi said,

The first time around, I was able to go exclusive for 4-5 months, the second time around, it wasn’t possible. The body clock adjusts itself to the time you’re home and breastfeeding and according to the time you’re in the office and not breastfeeding. It’s nature, the way your body is built.

Sasha said,

The body knows when and how to process milk, how much your baby needs, what the demand-supply situation is. I definitely saw that in my body when she was feeding a lot and we were going through growth spurts—I knew I was producing enough. And when I started going back to work, in the first week I had a lot of problem with engorgement, but the second week onwards my body just self-regulated.

5. To eat or not to eat

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Did you know today is National Bean Day!?🤤 . . This day celebrates beans in all its different shapes and sizes. Beans are a great source of folate (the natural form of folic acid), fiber, protein, magnesium, antioxidants etc.💯 . . Unfortunately, many moms avoid beans during breastfeeding because they’ve heard gassy foods can make their baby gassy. So I thought today on bean day, I’d debunk this myth🔥 . . 🩸Breastmilk is made from the blood stream, not what happens in mom’s digestive tract. Gassy foods may make MOM gassy, but will that food make her blood gassy therefore baby gassy? . . 🩸Babies are naturally gassy. They’re born with a very immature GI tract. They may also be gassy because they’re swallowing too much air either at the breast or bottle, mom has an overactive letdown, or other reasons. Now yes babies can be sensitive to certain foods mom eats because those proteins (e.g. cow/soy/egg based proteins) do enter the blood stream along with other allergens, caffeine etc. There is also more research showing that probiotics (which occurs in mom’s gut) does enter breastmilk through the “enteromammary pathway” which is where gut bacteria transfers to the blood stream to the breastmilk. . . Moms are already nutrient depleted post birth and now breastfeeding, that we want to encourage beans and other “superfoods”, so before you write off “gassy” superfoods like beans, cruciferous vegetables, garlic etc, in fear of making your baby gassy, look at other reasons why your baby may be gassy Who’s eating some beans today on National Bean Day? 🙋🏼‍♀️ . . . . #beansalad #nationalbeanday #beansaregoodforyourheart #gassyfoods #gassyfoodsandbreastfeeding #breastfeedingfoods #breastfeedingmythsdebunked #breastfeeding #postpartumnutrition #superfoods #momdiet #dietandbreastfeeding #babyledweaning #blw #beansforkids #healthymeals

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Parul said,

With my first born, I was told: ‘Don’t eat gassy foods like chana, baingan, etc’. I did it for 20-25 days and when I started eating them, my baby suddenly started getting gassy. With my next one, from day one, I tell all the moms even now when they ask me, eat every single food item because your baby is not going to know when 40 days are over, and suddenly mom decided to eat chana, pizza, and go out and all.

Chhavi said,

When baby is born till about three months of their life, their digestive system is still developing. So, getting gas is just a byproduct of that; it’s not the byproduct of the chana you ate. Literally 90% of the food is gassy—aloo, bhindi, rajma, etc. So how would you get the nutrition your body needs. No matter what you eat, whether the food is gassy or not, the baby will get gas for the first three months of their life till the time their digestive system develops. Moms, just go ahead and eat everything because this is what the baby was doing in your tummy also.

To watch the whole webinar, click here.

Do you have any questions about motherhood, breastfeeding and everything that goes with it? Please share it with us in the comments below!

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