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Learn more about breastfeeding

6 October 2022

Key points:

  • The baby’s immune system begins to activate due to breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding mothers benefit their health by preventing diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
    Colostrum helps the baby’s bones and heart development.

There are different myths or ideas about breastfeeding which can create doubts during this process.
For Dr. Yazmín Chirino Barceló, pediatrician and neonatology specialist at ABC Medical Center, it is important to be able to distinguish between these myths and realities for better breastfeeding.

“Breast milk promotes sensory and cognitive development and protects the child from infectious diseases and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality from common childhood illnesses, such as diarrhea or pneumonia, and aids faster recovery from illness.”1
Newborns obtain different benefits during breastfeeding, nutrition being the most important, but it will also help prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes or obesity in childhood.

Emotionally, attachment between baby and mother is promoted when breastfeeding, thanks to skin-to-skin contact, temperature, heat, and even the exchange of glances, reinforcing the relationship between them.

Although breastfeeding helps the baby, the mother also has some benefits during this activity. Breastfeeding helps the mother prevent 32% of diabetes, 26% of breast cancer, and 37% of ovarian cancer, says Dr. Chirino.

It also aids in weight loss, since the reserves generated during pregnancy will be used for the production of breast milk, which will allow the mother to return to her natural weight quickly and adequately.

When breastfeeding starts, the breasts will grow and adjust according to the baby’s needs, but once this period is over, they will return to their normal size. It is recommended to wear a firm bra that allows tissues to return to their natural shape.

Myths and facts about breastfeeding

There are many myths, facts, fears, and feelings involved in breastfeeding. We will solve some of them for you.

When should I breastfeed my baby?

The feeding period is individual, in some cases, it may be every two hours, for others, it is every four hours; it is a personal need. But it must be remembered that there is a period for the mother to empty the breast and another to fill it.

There is a belief that you have to feed the baby every time it starts to cry, but the best thing is to feed it before, this way the mother settles more calmly and in a suitable position, allowing the newborn a better suction.

Prior to the crying stage due to hunger, the baby will give you signs indicating its need, such as opening its mouth and moving its tongue in search of food. Also, just before they start to cry, all babies make a small sound.

Feeding the baby before it starts to cry will allow the mother and child to be calmer and will prevent uncontrolled crying.

Dr. Chirino recommends not to use the bottle in the first days, the type of suction is different for the breast and for the bottle, which will result in the baby not being able to engage in adequate breastfeeding.

On the other hand, the use of the bottle would intervene in the stimulation for milk production, the baby is the one who indicates how much milk the mother will produce, and, in case it is supplemented by another variant, the breast will stop producing the necessary amount.

Does colostrum not nourish the baby?

It has come to be thought that colostrum, the first breast milk produced during lactation, does not nourish the baby. But it has a high protein and mineral content, intended to help in the baby’s bones and heart development.

Although it is low in fat and sugar, colostrum is so concentrated that its absorption is almost immediate, says Dr. Chirino. Resulting in high-quality nutrition with a high content of Type A immunoglobulin, which confers great immunity to the newborn, its consumption being of great importance in the first days of life.

Do small-breasted mothers produce less milk?

Regardless of whether the breast is small or large, all mothers are capable of producing the necessary amount for their baby.

The anatomical design of the breasts for lactation is stimulated by the baby, who will determine the amount of milk it will consume and, therefore, the amount the mother will produce; the greater the suction, the greater the milk production.

Can I get pregnant if I’m breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is not a contraceptive method, so it is possible to get pregnant during this period. This is why it is necessary to take the appropriate measures in case it is not desired.

At the ABC Medical Center’s Obstetrics Center we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

Dra. Yazmín Chirino Barceló – Pediatrician and neonatology specialist at the ABC Medical Center

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