Isit true that breastfeeding mums have to eat Healthily, no smoking, take supplement etc?

Sarah - posted on 04/22/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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The other day i was having a conversation with some mums about breastfeeding. Unlike the rest, i was the only one giving full bf.
My baby has been falling sick a couple of times, constipation, viral fever infection and now she's having very bad cough. What worry and hurt me most is that one of them who has been giving formula, said that i should have gave both formula and bf and the reason that my baby has always been sick is probably because of my milk. They say i should only bf my baby in the first place if i am a very healthy eater.
Well i admitted of skipping my meal at times when i had to do several house chores that day.
Am i the reason that my baby is sick? I have done my best to keep our house clean at all times.

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Angela - posted on 04/25/2009

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The midwives told me all the time that even a malnourished mother in a 3rd world country will produce milk that is perfect for her baby. Smoking and alcohol are bad for your baby but if you don't eat right your milk will not suffer. It's only your health that deteriorates. Drinking plenty of water or water based drinks is important (about 2 litres a day) but even if you don't do that your milk will still come in. Mums who formula feed often have thier own issues with guilt for not breast feeding. Which they shouldn't, it's thier choice. Unfortunately there is not a lot of support from them when you are breast feeding. I only had support from my husband and 2 friends. You are NOT the reason your baby is sick. Kate is right; your friends are telling you rubbish. Are you in Australia? If so, join the Breastfeeding Association. If not, see if there is something like it where you are. If you supplement your baby with formula your breasts won't understand that they are not meeting all of your babies needs and your supply may drop. You need to persist with breast feeding, it's not as easy as it seems. The most important thing that my friend told me however was that if you choose to switch to formula and give up on breast feeding it DOES NOT make you a 'bad mum'. You are not the reason your baby is sick hun. My heart goes out to you because I went through the same thing twice. Interfering misinformed friends don't realise how cruel and detrimental thier advice can be. Remember two things: a malnourished mother in a 3rd world country produces milk that is tailor made and perfect for her babies needs. That means that your milk is fine. Second: if you switch to formula you are NOT a bad mother. I hope you keep at it though :) Show em all, make them eat their words, it's the best feeling in the world :)

Kat - posted on 04/25/2009

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Glad to see your confidence is back Sarah. Your friends were so wrong in what they said to you. Perhaps they are trying to make themselves feel better for formula feeding. Breast feeding in the early stages provides your baby with immunity that their little bodies aren't able to develop yet themselves. We all don't eat perfectly all of the time. I try to eat well as often as possible. But due to this I also take a pregnancy/breastfeeding suppliment (Elevit). This gives me peace of mind on those hard days when eating well goes onto the back plate.
I am personally a NO Smoking advocate. My mother smoked during her pregnancy with me & all my life. I now have quite a few health issues directly linked to this. But it is a personal choice & no one has the right to tell you you can't.

Itsamystery - posted on 04/22/2009

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What your friends have said is rubbish.. breastmilk doesn't make babies sick at all unless your baby has an allergy to something you eat, which it doesn't sound like is the case. BF actually protects your baby from illness because they get anti-bodies against various diseases from you, something that formula doesn't have at all. Your bubba might've gotten sicker than she actually did if you hadn't been breastfeeding her.

It is true that BF moms should eat healthy, it helps to keep you strong and healthy. But if you DON'T eat healthy, it's you who will suffer, not your baby. Your body will take what it needs from you to make milk and if there's a shortage of nutrients you will be the one who misses out on those nutrients. Your milk remains the same no matter what you eat. That said, very unhealthy eating or fully starving yourself will harm your milk supply eventually. It's best to eat small healthy meals every 3 hours and drink about 3 litres of water. Smoking is not recommended, but mothers who smoke can still BF, they hould just smoke away from the baby (like outside) and smoke after you feed so that by the time your baby has his next feed there's less nicotine in your system.



Here's some info on the benefits of breastfeeding..http://www.promom.org/101/ have a read and educate your friends because they've unfortunately got their facts all ass-about :)

Sarah - posted on 04/25/2009

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hi mummies thank you all for all the encouraging words and advices.. im soooooo glad that i find this website. Never felt better after reading ur advices.
Now im more motivated to continue giving my baby bf until she self wean. Thank you again n love u all.

Meaghan - posted on 04/24/2009

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Well your baby being sick very likely has nothing to do with you exclusively breast feeding! On the other hand the idea that you should eat healthy, take your vitamins, and not smoke is generally true, doing those things will make YOU healthier. Like a previous poster said, your body will feed the baby first, so by having unhealthy habits it will only make you sick, not the baby.

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Red - posted on 03/19/2013

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ok, I will only post this once and in one place... Look at it this way. You can eat healthy all you want, you can eat three times a day, you can do everything perfectly. Look at what is going in to your system. toxins are always going in to the human system now. Even to take a healthy walk outside now can do it. Car fumes ext... When the human body is producing milk for a child toxic buildup in the breast milk will be at a higher percent than any other place in your body. No it wont kill a little one, may not even make him/her sick, but when you can buy a product now that is healthier for a child than breast milk why would you put your feelings over a childs health? Me? Ill always be telling myself bottle over breast till human consumption of toxic "crap" is low enough again to make breast milk a better option for a child.

Angela - posted on 04/25/2009

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Plus, as my husband told his mum: How can something which is scientifically manufactured by man (formula) be better for your baby that something which your breasts solely exist to produce? A lot of people forget that your breasts are made for feeding your baby. That is their purpose. Just like animals. It seems weird to look at it that way, but honestly even if you don't lean toward evolution (which I don't) when you think about all of the other mammals on earth; the majority of them feed their babies the same way we do. It stands to reason that we have breasts solely for that purpose, even if some would like to think otherwise :)

Christina - posted on 04/23/2009

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What a load of cr*p!!
Ignore your friend who obviously has no idea what she is talking about...
Some babies just get sick more than others, and by breastfeeding you are giving her the best possible protection you can. Breastmilk is rich in antibodies and immune boosters.
Babies who are breastfeed exclusively for the first six months (and then with food for at least until 12mths) have lower sik of developing a huge range of health problems in childhood and even adulthood- including asthma, leukaemia, obesity, gastro infections... They also have higher IQ.
Don't think for one second that by giving your daughter breastmilk you are depriving her. You are giving her something far superior than formula! Anything that is missing from your diet, your milk production will steal from your body so your bub will not miss out. Yes, it is important to eat healthily (and I'd say that whether you were breastfeeding or not!) but missing the occassional meal will certainly not decrease the nutritional content of your milk or decrease the benefits of breastfeeding! Make sure you're drinking enough water and look after yourself. Eating well and getting rest are more importnant than housechores :-)

Rebecca - posted on 04/22/2009

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I solely breastfeed and refuse to watch what I eat or take supplements. I also threw up all my food my entire pregnancy and still had a 9 pound baby. I've had all sorts of people guilting me about it but at the end of the day I have a very healthy baby who steadily gains weight, more than the average baby and he has never had formula. I try to eat 3 meals a day, but sometimes if i'm busy I miss lunch and my milk is fine. I do recommend drinking as much as possible though, but I tend to get very thirsty so it's not something I force on myself. Baby will get from you everything baby needs. Maybe you have been unlucky and you and your baby have been exposed to these illnesses. A formula fed baby would have gotten them too. And don't worry about your house, I have 2 indoor labradors who drag god only knows what into the house on a regular basis and it is never as clean as I'd like it to be and my son has only ever had a cold cause daddy gave it to him. :)

Geralyn - posted on 04/22/2009

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Some moms who us formula or breastfeed and then wean early and use formula seem to have to find fault with moms who decide to solely breastfeed and continue to do so. The most ignorant thing that I heard was that I was starving my baby after 6 weeks if I didn't switch from breastfeeding to formula. I laughed at that one. Kate could not have said it better. I totally agree with her and the other posters. Whenever they say something, just remember they, on some level whether they realize it or not, only wish they could do what you are doing for your child. You are doing a great job!



As an ex-smoker myself, I can say this... if there is any way for you to quit, I urge you to do so - for you and your family. When it was just me that was affected by it, I was apparently willing to take whatever health risks that could occur with smoking. But now that I have my little one, I do not want him to be affected in the least by a habit that has so many health risks. There are children who develop asthma and other respiratory issues being around a smoking parent. I quit when we were planning to get pregnant and have never looked back. Sometimes, even now, I think it'd be nice to light one up, but I think of my son and how, when I'm older, I don't want to be robbed of time with him and the rest of my family because of smoking.

Itsamystery - posted on 04/22/2009

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I forgot to add, if you do smoke make sure you wash your hands after each smoke and before touching baby. Also, never smoke inside with your baby as passive smoke increases the risk of SIDS. You shouldn't even smoke inside a room that your baby uses, even if baby is not there at the time that you are smoking, because the smoke lingers for a long time and eventually settles down as a dust into the furniture, blankets, etc. You don't want bubba sucking on her fav. toy and getting a dose of dusty smoke, tar and nicotine. If you follow all those guidelines, the risk to baby from your smoking is mimimal, and the benefits of breastfeeding FAR outweigh the small exposure s/he will have to the chemicals in your cigarettes :)

Amanda - posted on 04/22/2009

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Quoting Kate:

What your friends have said is rubbish.. breastmilk doesn't make babies sick at all unless your baby has an allergy to something you eat, which it doesn't sound like is the case. BF actually protects your baby from illness because they get anti-bodies against various diseases from you, something that formula doesn't have at all. Your bubba might've gotten sicker than she actually did if you hadn't been breastfeeding her.
It is true that BF moms should eat healthy, it helps to keep you strong and healthy. But if you DON'T eat healthy, it's you who will suffer, not your baby. Your body will take what it needs from you to make milk and if there's a shortage of nutrients you will be the one who misses out on those nutrients. Your milk remains the same no matter what you eat. That said, very unhealthy eating or fully starving yourself will harm your milk supply eventually. It's best to eat small healthy meals every 3 hours and drink about 3 litres of water. Smoking is not recommended, but mothers who smoke can still BF, they hould just smoke away from the baby (like outside) and smoke after you feed so that by the time your baby has his next feed there's less nicotine in your system.

Here's some info on the benefits of breastfeeding..http://www.promom.org/101/ have a read and educate your friends because they've unfortunately got their facts all ass-about :)



Well said!! This is why woman in 3rd world countries are better off breastfeeding then formula feeding, because no matter what they are eatting at least they are not feeding their babies with dirty water.

Chelsea - posted on 04/22/2009

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that's false information. Kate basically said it all. Great information.

Barbara - posted on 04/22/2009

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I actually read something about this in the book "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith Small. She cites a study that examined milk made by all different kinds of women from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The conclusion was that even women who were actually malnourished somehow made good milk for their babies. There was a lot more to it than what I am putting down but I don't want to misquote. It was a great book, and it proves over and over again that breast IS actually best.

Sue - posted on 04/22/2009

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Babies get sick no matter what. They don't get sick as often as babies who aren't nursed, but they do still get sick. The good news is they likely won't take as long to recover as a baby who is formula fed and sometimes don't get AS sick because of being nursed.

I had a great breastfeeding support group to attend when my girls were babies and it really made all the difference in helping me be assertive with people who would throw criticism at me for my lifestyle choices of wanting healthier options for my children. I would use it as an opportunity to educate people. For example, my mother and father-in-laws asked if the second baby would have enough milk when I told them I was expecting again and was still nursing our older daughter. I politely explained that our bodies work on supply and demand. The more you nurse the more milk your body produces. Your body runs out of milk when you aren't nursing as much. Unfortunately a lot of new moms are not told that nursig on demand and staying on the same side until the baby comes off and asks for the other side him/herself is a lot easier and more sensible than staying so many minutes on each side. They baby gets the hind milk when you stay on the same side until THEY let go telling you it's empty so they fill up more because it has more of the fat cells they need for energy and for growing and fills them up better. I nursed my first daughter until she turned 7 and my second until she turned 6. I know not everyone likes to do it for that long, but I can offer better advice than a doctor who has never nursed their children or only did for a short while. I say that because often they are bribed by formula companies to puch their products on mothers who really do want to breast feed and it really gets me going. A more polite way of saying it is never take advice on breastfeeding from someone who has never done it or isn't really that serious about it.

I don't always check my posts here, so if you want to add me as a face book friend feel free and we can communicate more. That way if you have more questions you'll have more direct access to me. I'd be glad to help in any way I can.

Melody - posted on 04/22/2009

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Agreed. Obviously you should try to eat as healthy as you can but even if you don't eat healthy your breastmilk is way better than formula. Just make sure you eat enough to keep up your milk supply.

Cynthia - posted on 04/22/2009

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Babies get sick because of germs, viruses, bacteria etc. VERY, very few babies are actually intolerant to your own breast milk. If she was truly intolerant of your milk she would be getting sicker and sicker not healthy than sick, healthy than sick... If you have any food sensitivities in your family (not just you but daddy or grandparents on either side) stay away from eating those foods. It may be triggering your baby.

If your baby is gaining weight each weigh in, happy, and doesn't fuss when eating I'd say your baby is doing fine. I would stay away from formula is you are meeting the needs of your child with bf alone. Adding in formula may cause constipation and general crankiness due to gas as your babies bowels adjust to digesting the new formula.

As a breastfeeding mom, I persoanlly try to eat as well as I can, but fast food does happen on occasion it really is no big deal. I find it is more important to keep my water intake up more than anything. I let some of the chores slip until the next day, as I will get irratible and tired if I do not eat on a regular schedule. So I try to eat at the same time my infant or two year old eats.

Having said all that, I seriously doubt you would be the reason your child is sick. Babies get sick from all kinds of things. But of course yes, smoking allows nicotine to pass through the breastmilk into baby along with everything else you ingest or inhale. Exposing baby to second hand smoking or even if you are living in a home in which someone smokes can cause all kinds of issues for baby (constantly sick with any kind of lung infection, trouble breathing, coughing, etc as baby does not have a built-up immune system to deal with it yet.)

I don't find I take any supplements myself, but I am a fairly healthy eater anyway. So I hope this helped. Take care of you and in turn you will take care of our baby :-)

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