Our fourth installment of the guest blogger series features Jessica, the calm, reassuring voice behind Creative Lactation. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jessica for the Public Breastfeeding Awareness Project, and I’m thrilled to share her post debunking some of those myths that you can’t eat certain foods while breastfeeding! Have a fussy baby at home? It might not be what you think.
Debunking Myths About Breastfeeding
Among all of the well intended but unsolicited advice that new parents find themselves subject to are pervasive myths about breastfeeding. These permeate our lives with not so great information in books, on tv, in movies and just about everywhere that new mothers might find themselves, even in the doctor’s office. In the interests of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7th,“Sustaining Breastfeeding Together” we will replace a couple of myths with truth and help make breastfeeding more sustainable.
You may have heard that you shouldn’t eat certain things while breastfeeding. Something or other could cause the baby gas, this food might upset the baby, certainly babies can’t tolerate spicy foods. There is no list of foods that breastfeeding mothers should always avoid. Our bodies digest food and absorb nutrients along digestive system and from several points along the way. Mammals milk is made from what passes into the mother’s blood. When we eat “gassy foods” they cause gas because the intestines are working to digest masses of carbohydrates/fiber. Luckily for baby, gas does not pass into the bloodstream, just the nutrients from those foods. It’s true that flavors of foods can be passed along but studies have shown babies actual favor things like garlic. Women around the world eat a large variety of foods and eating the foods common in your culture helps babies get used to the tastes and smells of the local food. All things that set baby up for a lifetime of healthy eating.
You have probably heard the term “pump and dump” in relation to alcohol consumption. This myth that you have to empty your breast before your milk is safe to drink again also comes from a misunderstanding of how human lactation works. You do not have to bleed yourself in order for your bloodstream to get rid of the alcohol and you do not have to remove milk from your breast to get rid of the alcohol from your milk. Your milk metabolizes any alcohol that passes into it just as your blood does. The breast not a vessel for storage but a complex system of it’s own which works in harmony with the rest of the body. A good rule of thumb is that if you feel alright to drive, you’re alright to feed your baby.
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I hope that you will take a moment to dispel a myth of you hear it or do something to support a breastfeeding mother in your everyday life. Small things can make a big difference for a breastfeeding mother and baby.
More about foods and breastfeeding: http://www.llli.org/faq/avoid.html
More about alcohol use as well as medications and breastfeeding: http://www.infantrisk.com/
About the author:
For over ten years, Jessica has devoted her time and energy to helping families achieve their personal breastfeeding goals. Calling upon her years of experience, Jessica problem-solves with mothers, creating a roadmap for their breastfeeding journeys. Jessica prides herself on evidence-based methods, clear communication, and a thirst for knowledge that leaves no stone unturned.
As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Jessica provides lactation consultant services to families in Loudoun and eastern Clarke county, Virginia. She contributes her expertise to the Loudoun Breastfeeding Coalition and several online breastfeeding support forums. She is also a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association and the United States Lactation Consultant Association. Please visit her website or Facebook page for more information.