Motherhood indeed has a lot of experiences, either interesting or frustrating, for the nursing mom involved. The pressure would especially be much if the woman involved is either going to be a new mom or has already given birth. As soon as you begin to make plans on how well and safe you’d be bringing your bundle of joy into the world, that is when the myths and unproven stories, advice, and taboos from every Tom, Dick, and Harry would start overwhelming you on how to go about taking care of your baby. One of the most common among these motherhood myths is the aspect of breastfeeding and your diet.
Concerning this area alone, you’d be shocked and amused to find everyone from your mother’s third cousin to your hairstylist suddenly plying you with all sorts of opinions and advice on the right foods they think would be the best for you and your newborn. Though to be fair, Some of these so-called wise advice given may be helpful somewhere down the line, but chances are much of it won’t be for you and the baby. There are now so many myths surrounding the act of breastfeeding that it can be hard for concerning mothers to know what is true and what is not.
To clear the air about all the myths on what you can eat or not as you start breastfeeding your baby, here are some debunked and proven tips to use as guidance for that.
- Myth Number One: You should only eat plain food while breastfeeding. And just like everybody else, breastfeeding mothers need to eat a balanced diet. Eating a spicy or vegetarian diet will not affect your baby. In general, there is no need to change food habits. Babies are exposed to their mothers’ food preferences from the time they are in the womb. Still, there are a few foods that do cross into breast milk and may upset some babies’ stomach as implied by a lactation consultant —Wendy Hadelman. She listed food products like soy, peanuts, fish, and shellfish to likely effect these changes if consumed in excess. But in case you perceive that your baby is reacting to a specific food you consume, then it is best to consult a specialist.
- Myth Number Two: The misconception that partaking in exercises will change the taste of your breast milk. Involving yourself in exercise and body strengthening activities recommended for nursing moms will not in any change the taste of your milk. In fact, you need more than ever.
- Myth Number Three: The suggestion of drinking water to boost your breast milk. We now know that this life-giving fluid is very universal when it comes to benefitting the human body, and it cuts across for both males and females, young or old. However, the advice that water will in any way boost your lactation is false.
- Myth Number Four: The advice that you have to take more cow milk to make more of your own milk is totally false.
- Myth Number Five: The need to use more of multivitamin supplements to boost your breast milk. Even if your doctor recommends that you continue to take your prenatal vitamin, or a similar multivitamin, while you are breastfeeding, it doesn’t matter that such medications will add more nutrients to your milk. The only proven best source of nutrition for your baby and you are a varied diet of fresh foods. Though milk supply concerns as experienced by some mothers who are interested in supplements packaged for those purposes may want to consult their presiding physician before choosing such a product. Since breastfeeding is largely a matter of supply and demand, adding an additional breastfeeding or pumping session to increase your milk production may another option apart from taking fresh foods.
- Myth Number Six: Barley Consumption: The consumption of barley to produce more milk. It is implied by some people that barley, which is an ingredient in beer, may trigger the release of prolactin—a hormone that stimulates milk production. While there is no evidence to show that beer actually increases a mother’s milk supply, mothers who opt to drink a beer to increase their supply should choose a non-alcoholic beer. Alcohol passes readily into breast milk, and even small amounts of alcohol can negatively affect milk production and milk release. However, nursing mothers who really want to take it should better opt for other barley by-product alternatives like bread, porridge, beverages, or homemade barley water.
The best advice for mothers here in terms of nutritionally maintaining a good milk supply is to eat a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of healthy foods each day and enough liquids (water and unsweetened fruit juice) to satisfy their thirst. If you have particular concerns about your nutritional needs, talk with your health care provider or a registered dietitian.