When a Mom emailed me her concern about not being able to breastfeed because she is sick, I took that as a sign it is time to write again. And still in the breastfeeding groups that I joined, a lot of women’s concerns of not being able to breastfeed is that because of them being sick, their nipples are inverted, or that their little one has a cleft palate. ALL OF THESE ARE MYTHS!
For babies with cleft palate, since poor suction can make direct feeding difficult, I shopped around and saw this special needs bottle from Well.ca that is manufacture by Medela, which I highly recommend to use it with expressed milk. Directly feeding your baby is still possible though, just check out this handout to learn about breastfeeding positions that you can use. For more information, please refer to the website of CLAPA.COM.
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 Dr. Sears and La Leche League to learn more. You can also refer to a previous blog post that I wrote about this issue.
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. If you have doubts about this, you can check this World Health Organization document on specific maternal/infant conditions for permanent or temporary cessation of breastfeeding. I am sharing you this link to LactMed® database, it contains all the drugs and medications that can affect breastfeeding moms. It also shows the levels of these substances in the breast milk and infant blood with the corresponding safety level and adverse impacts to infants. I suggest going to this website if you have any doubts with your medications.
There are so many other myths that I hear from Moms like they cannot breastfeed if they just came from work because they are tired and their baby will get negative vibes because of it, which again is not true because breastfeeding your baby immediately after being away for a long period of time is actually very beneficial because it again establishes the maternal bond between the baby and the mother. These myths, if you have doubts, always consult a lactation consultant or visit the websites of breastfeeding experts like La Leche League, Dr. Jack Newman, and World Health Organization.
People are still amazed that I still breastfeed my little one at the age of 3, and they share their stories and concerns on why they are not successful. The above mentioned myths that I’ve listed are the more common concerns that mothers raise. This is the reason why we must be proactive and vigilant in protecting breastfeeding. It is the most natural and precious gift that we can give to our little ones.