World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, 2016. It's designed by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network of individuals and organizations concerned with the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. 

Breastfeeding in public can still be seen as taboo in some places, but it’s healthy and essential for sustainable nutrition and growth. As global citizens, we want to applaud moms who breastfeed. They are paving a way for healthy futures.

Did you know breast milk is considered liquid gold for babies? Exclusive breastfeeding provides all the water, nutrition and immunology a baby needs. Not only is breastfeeding good for the baby, but it’s good for mom too! There are many misconceptions that come with breastfeeding. So, in honor of Breastfeeding Week, we wanted to unshroud the mysteries and myths behind breastfeeding. 

Here are 10 myths about breastfeeding debunked. 

MYTH 1: Breastmilk is not universally available - FALSE

Unlike other breastmilk substitutes, breastmilk is free and universally available. It’s more cost effective to keep mom happy and healthy, so she can continue to produce nutritious milk for her baby. It is safer, easier and less expensive to give the mother more food than to expose the infant to the risks associated with breast milk substitutes.

MYTH 2: Breastmilk is the same as babies grow - FALSE

Milk changes its nutritional profile as baby grows (milk made for a 3 month old is different than for a 9 month old).  Milk can even change day to day—for example, water content may increase during times of hot weather and baby-sickness to provide extra hydration. As the baby grows, the milk content becomes higher in protein and thicker to supply. 

MYTH 3: Breastmilk doesn't increase a child's chance of survival - FALSE 

Breastfed children have at least six times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children. All of the nutrients found in breastmilk strengthen a baby’s immune system! Breast milk is filled with disease fighting bacteria that keep a baby’s digestive systems functioning properly.

MYTH 4: Breastmilk is not liquid gold - FALSE

Due to all of the nutrients found in breastmilk, it’s considered liquid gold. When a child is properly nourished in the first 1,000 days of life this allows them to reach their full potential. It gives that child the greatest hope for a full potentialed future - a golden future! 

MYTH 5: Breastfeeding has no benefits for mothers - FALSE

Busted! This liquid gold has positive effects on mom too. Breastfeeding produces hormones that have a calming effect on the mother and baby. In the long term, breastfeeding can reduce type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer like breast, uterine, and ovarian for mothers. 

MYTH 6: Malnourished mothers cannot breastfeed - FALSE

A malnourished mother CAN breastfeed her child in almost any circumstance. However, she needs to be in a state where she can also make up for the nutrients she is losing, she should be provided with extra food and fluids.. Additionally, moms need to be encouraged to breastfeed their child very frequently. "Feed the mother and let her feed the baby" is the key approach. 

MYTH 7: Stress prevents mothers from producing milk - FALSE

It may slow the release of milk, but stress does not prevent milk production or make milk "dry up" This can result in babies being 'fussy' when breastfeeding. Frequent breastfeeding will help the mother and baby over this and ensure the baby receives nutrients. When the baby receives enough milk, they won’t be as fussy, keeping the baby’s stress level down and therefore the mother’s, too. Breastfeeding also produces hormones that have a calming effect on the mother and baby, which can be helpful in a potentially stressful environment. 

MYTH 8: Moms don’t produce  enough milk to feed their baby - FALSE

If a mom breastfeeds frequently and for as long as the baby wants at each feed, she will produce enough milk to feed her baby. Even if it does not appear like milk is being produced, the mother’s body is still producing milk. Nothing to worry about!

MYTH 9: Babies with diarrhoeal disease need water or tea not breastmilk - FALSE

Did you know the main ingredient in breast milk is water? Breast milk contains about 90% water, so exclusive breastfeeding actually provides all the water a baby needs without endangering their immune system. Feeding a baby water can introduce disease-causing bacteria and other contaminants, especially if safe water is difficult to find or non-existent. It is only in the case of severe diarrhea that infants may need rehydration fluids in addition to breast milk. 

MYTH 10: Mothers cannot breastfeed again once breastfeeding has stopped - FALSE

Women who have breastfed in the past or whose breast milk production has diminished can definitely breastfeed again. Increased skin-to-skin contact helps increase milk production and enables mothers to resume full breastfeeding, which can be critical for babies during high stress situations. Skilled help and encouragement for the mother is also important! 

Mind blowing, right? It’s no wonder why this Liquid Goal is crucial for a child’s nutritional development in the first 1,000 Days of live, and is key in making a #HungerFree world possible. 


Defeat Poverty

10 Myths About Breastfeeding

By Alissa Sandoval