Filipinos overflow with myths, and most of the time they become guidelines for living. From what to do during menstruation, after delivering a baby, to the dos and don'ts when breastfeeding. But what is the truth behind them? Here are some of the most popular Filipino myths about breastfeeding and the truth behind them:
Kapag pagod, bawal mag-breastfeed.
This is a misconception. Although the mother has to lessen the feeling of tiredness by drinking water to refresh herself, sitting or lying down comfortably, or cleaning herself so that she can be worry free when feeding her baby, fatigue will not have a negative effect to the baby when breastfeeding.
‘Pag nag-breastfeed, inoorasan.
This depends on both the mother and the baby and many other factors. These factors may be slow or fast milk flow, positioning of the baby while feeding, whether the baby is sleepy or distracted, or even his/her age.
Bawal uminom ng malamig.
One such advice that comes to most new mothers is not to drink cold beverages during breastfeeding as it could lead to a cold in the child. Well, this advice does not have a rational, scientific basis. Cold water or any beverage does not in any way change the composition of breastmilk. This will not affect the mother and the baby.
Huwag sanayin sa karga.
This myth is for the parents. Parents are warned that when the baby is used to being carried, they won’t be able to move, do chores, or work, hence, “huwag sanayin sa karga”. But infants need warmth, and they form attachment through skin-to-skin contact, resembling the environment they were used to inside the womb. Plus, this physical attachment is also part of a successful breastfeeding.
Hindi pwede mag-breastfeed ‘pag buntis.
Generally, breastfeeding while pregnant is safe. Pregnancy hormones can be present in the milk but these are not harmful to the breastmilk feeding child. While a pregnant mom is breastfeeding another child, the unborn baby will still get all the nutrients she needs from the mother’s body.
Kahit ano pwede mong kainin.
Like everybody else, breastfeeding mothers need to eat a balanced diet. In general, there is no need to change food habits. But there are certain foods that can increase the mother’s milk supply.
Huwag maligo ng hapon.
It's important to practice good hygiene while a mother is breastfeeding. Good hygiene includes taking a shower or bath every day and cleaning the breasts.
Bawal kumain ng maasim.
Most mothers restricted certain foods unnecessarily. Research identified that there are no foods that mothers should absolutely avoid during breastfeeding unless the infant reacts negatively to the food. Acidic foods like citrus fruits, pineapple, and tomatoes do not affect breast milk, as these foods do not change the milk composition. Without a scientific basis, popular myths about maternal diet during breastfeeding can become barriers to breastfeeding and lead to unnecessary dietary restrictions in breastfeeding mothers.
Bawal mag-breastfeed ‘pag may sakit.
Depending on the kind of illness, mothers can usually continue breastfeeding when they’re sick. The mother just needs the right treatment, enough rest, and proper diet. The antibodies the mother’s body make to treat the disease or illness will be passed on to the baby, building his or her own defenses.