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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Quick Guide to Breastfeeding Challenges

Sorry, sorry... life has caught up with me! I really haven't been blogging much as I've been focusing on my day job, kids, Mama.Baby.Love and replying to email/text questions of breastfeeding/babywearing/cloth diapering moms.  I'm cleaning out my draft posts (yes, I have numerous!!)  and I found this post which I initially wrote as a comment to another page.  I can't remember if this comment was published -- yes it has been that long!  So I decided to edit it a publish it in my blog.

Statement:  "A lot of women can't breastfeed for medical and physical reasons. They're sick, their nipples are inverted, the baby has a cleft palate, etc." This is a myth.  The medical/reasons for being unable to establish a full milk supply is insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) which affects about 2% of the women worldwide.  Read this link for more about it.  Read also my post about insufficient glandular tissue here.

Also, I would like to emphasise that sick moms, moms with inverted nipples and babies with cleft palates can still breastfeed!  For babies with cleft palate, since poor suction can make direct feeding difficult, Kellymom recommends the use of a special bottle with expressed milk.  You can still directly feed your baby with a cleft palate.  Do download this handout to learn about the positions you can use.

Meanwhile, for moms with inverted nipples, babies can actually draw out the nipples. There are just certain extra steps to be taken if your nipples are not everted.  Visit these links from ivillage and Dr. Sears to learn more.

Finally, for sick moms, breastfeeding is actually recommended because babies get the antibodies from you.  There are just very few illnesses (HIV and HTLV-1) where breastfeeding is absolutely contraindicated and only in developed countries because in developing countries, it has been shown that infants are more likely to survive when they nurse from their HIV-positive moms as opposed to drinking formula milk without access to clean water.  For further info, you can check this World Health Organization document on specific maternal/infant conditions for permanent or temporary cessation of breastfeeding.  You can also read a previous blog post I wrote about this issue.

There are just so many myths about breastfeeding that have become barriers for moms to succeed.  Even at my workplace, when women find out that I am still breastfeeding E (almost 3 years old) and breastfed N (until 6 years old), they are surprised and share the reasons why they were not successful.  Whatever class or educational background the mother has, there is always some breastfeeding myth that has prevented her from succeeding. This is why we much be vigilant about protecting breastfeeding.  Among the pillars of breastfeeding, protecting is the most difficult pillar to achieve. More about the pillars in a future post.

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