For this edition, we had the opportunity to talk with Paula Andrea Osorio, lactation consultant, ankyloglossia (tongue/lip tie) specialist, and creator of @poder.materno, an Instagram account born from Paula’s need to support women who do not find adequate information about the process of breastfeeding. We take this opportunity to talk about breastfeeding, what its benefits are and why it is an important topic that every woman should have information about.
Why is breastfeeding important? Breastfeeding is a natural process for every woman, and how can something that is natural be counterproductive? Breast milk has a significant amount of immunoglobulins that formula milk has not been able to copy. In this way, breastfeeding can ensure that our baby has fewer health problems. For example, colostrum, which is the first milk, is special to prepare the baby’s stomach because it permeabilizes it and helps to have healthy digestion, it is also loaded with defenses that will be beneficial for the growth and development of the baby.
At what point can a woman be advised and informed about breastfeeding? It is important that there is information and education before delivery. Many women arrive at the hospital without information and the first moments with a newborn are crucial since this is where myths and false beliefs about breastfeeding can arise due to misinformation. Prenatal counseling is advisable from week 27 onwards, at which time there is greater certainty that the pregnancy will come to term.
Can all women produce breast milk and breastfeed their babies? The vast majority of women do, only in some specific cases, there are physical or health problems that do not allow the production of breast milk. But apart from that, the instinct of the mother and the baby will almost always allow breastfeeding to be possible, what is abnormal is that this does not happen. For example, during the first hour after birth, the newborn baby can climb from the stomach to the mother’s breast to look for food and thus, can immediately gain the imprint of the mother’s breast and start breastfeeding. I want to emphasize that breastfeeding is a process that is achieved with information, trust, and patience because most of the problems of milk production are generated by the insecurities that women create due to misinformation and poor management of breastfeeding.
What is exclusive breastfeeding? As its name indicates, it is the feeding of the baby exclusively with breast milk during the first months of life, before the start of complementary feeding. As we mentioned earlier, most women can produce milk, only 5% of them fail to produce the necessary amount that the baby requires, each woman and her baby is a particular case. There are cases in which, with a process of learning and perseverance, exclusive breastfeeding can be given and there are cases in which it is not possible, for which it is necessary to resort to mixed breastfeeding with formula milk.
Is it true that formula milk is not beneficial for a baby? It really is not like that, formula milk is not a poison, this is basically processed cow’s milk suitable for baby consumption and obviously serves to feed it. Formula milk does not have the same nutrients as breast milk; as mothers, we can have all the confidence that we produce the best for our babies, therefore, a diet based on breast milk is preferable. However, specific cases must be analyzed very carefully to define when and how formula milk can be completely beneficial.
What is the emotional support that a woman can receive during the breastfeeding period? We have to remember that breastfeeding is not an issue that only corresponds to the mother, this is a family issue. Breastfeeding is exclusive to the mother, but the role of the father is also very important since he is the physical and emotional support that the mother needs so that she is able to have a healthy breastfeeding relationship. During lactation it is important to have emotional calm; Let’s remember that after giving birth, women have emotional changes due to hormonal changes, or what is commonly known as the Baby blues. For this reason, it is essential to be properly informed and to have support networks that provide support in these times that can be difficult.
We hope that this article will be of support to mothers and fathers who are in this period with their babies today. In addition, we recommend that you stay tuned for our next editions that will have more installments of this interview. Remember that if you want more information and advice you can follow Paula on her Instagram account: @PoderMaterno