Lactation cookies and other lies.
Call it a myth, call it a lie. Maybe some are excuses. I'm going to give you more than cookies, and I'm going to do it in list form. Here are some misunderstandings you might be familiar with!
1. Most moms struggle with low milk supply.
So many of us get nervous about making a full milk supply.Yes, me too. Too many of us! Why do we doubt the process so much? It's estimated that only 12-15% of women are unable to make a full milk supply. Those are pretty good odds, really. And one way to know what portion of those statistics you stand in is to meet with a Lactation Consultant before delivering your baby. There are some risk factors for not making a full milk supply that we can see coming, and then there are some factors associated with delivery that our out of your (and my) hands. But getting the information up front is key.
The market is saturated with products to help moms increase supply. And boy are we easy marks! We buy in because of good marketing and not because of an actual problem. And it is quite often just the placebo we need. All the insecurities melt away with a few doses of whatever pill/powder/liquid concentrate we take.
Social media would have you believe that you should be breastfeeding and pumping and have a separate deep freezer committed to breastmilk alone. But this is not normal! Moms need enough milk to feed however many babies they have, and no more. If your baby is getting enough milk from the breast and growing well then there is no reason to question your milk supply.
2. You can't eat spicy foods and breastfeed.
It's true that mom's diet adds "flavor" to her milk. So when mom eats spicy foods the baby does, in fact get some of that heat action. And it's good for everybody. Here's why. You may have eaten spicy foods while you were pregnant, and if so, your baby was exposed to it then. And if you cook with that spicy flavorful profile for your family you'll probably expect your children to eat that way. So it's important for you to expose your baby to it early on. You can think of it as training for life. If the baby doesn't like it they will let you know, and then you can adjust accordingly!
3. You can't drink alcohol and breastfeed.
Safety first. If you carried your baby to term you have been sober for 9ish months. You are now officially a lightweight in the drinking department. Also, you're probably not sleeping or winning any awards for self care. One margarita could annihilate you. And people don't make great choices when they're drinking. So, should you drink and breastfeed? No! But it's not really about breastfeeding!! Would you hand your baby to a drunk friend? No! It's not physically safe for the baby, who could be dropped or suffocated, or forgotten. No one who is drinking should handle your baby.
When you consume alcohol it eventually enters your bloodstream, and your bloodstream feeds into your breastmilk. However, the alcohol you ingest enters through the mouth (y'all, it better go through your mouth first) down your esophagus and into your stomach, where it's (hopefully) mixed with food before being broken down, and digestion doesn't end there. *Tequila does not take a direct route from your mouth down to your nipples.* And that goes for all alcohol! So a small portion of alcohol enters your breastmilk hours after you consume it. Now, that doesn't mean that it stays there! The alcohols MOVE around in your bloodstream and in your milk, and they can go back and forth. YOU ARE NOT A KARDASHIAN. Stop buying those alcohol test strips and checking your milk. Buy yourself a new breastfeeding tank or order yourself a book while you still have time to read. Back to the dangerous part. Another potential mistake with drinking and breastfeeding is that you might forget to express milk. So you have a drink or two, and your sober partner is taking care of the baby. They give a bottle since you aren't going to breastfeed. But now you need to pump! So easy to forget, until you wake up in 4 hours with rock hard breasts. Now you have a new set of problems. The moral of the story here is that you CAN have a drink. But you have to set the stage first. Drink one, with a sober partner, and set an alarm to either breastfeed or pump at your next "scheduled" time. Text me with questions.
4. Lactation cookies will increase your milk supply.
Lactation cookies, sigh. I have a special place in my heart for cookies. But this is not the way to increase milk supply. Lactation cookies are regular cookies that (in theory) contain a GALACTAGOGUE. A ga-lacta-gog (if you sound it out) is a substance that increases milk supply. Some foods that are considered galactagogues are oats, brewers yeast, beer, and fenugreek, just to name a few. Do all of these things work to increase milk supply? Not for everyone. And some herbs like fenugreek can have some uncomfortable side effects. So you make some cookies, throw in some of these things, and we call them lactation cookies. Should you eat them? Sure, if they taste good. You deserve a cookie! Will they increase your milk supply? Maybe, but probably not. Do you know what WILL increase your milk supply? More breast/nipple stimulation! More breastfeeding or pumping, that is. So, eat a cookie. Enjoy it, and call it something else.
There are more where these came from, but we'll get to those on another day. Message me or comment if there is a myth or untruth you'd like to see broken down next time.
Stay dry my friends,