How the Physical and Emotional State of the Mother Influences Breastfeeding
Does the physical and emotional state of the mother affect the production of breast milk?
Some women believe that some moments of high stress, a great sadness or a strong worry have had an impact on breastfeeding.
We tell you if it influences the state of the mother at the time of breastfeeding the baby.
How the physical condition affects milk production?
In many occasions the nursing mother is told that she has to take great care of her diet, since it depends on her that the milk she is giving to her baby is more or less healthy. This is totally false! The truth is that the mother’s diet has very little influence on the quality of breast milk.
In fact, and I quote the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics: “The nutritional status of the mother, except in cases of extreme malnutrition, does not interfere in the capacity of milk production or in the quality of breast milk.”
Having said this, it is clear that the physical condition of the mother does not affect the production or quality of breast milk, except in cases of extreme malnutrition to which, fortunately, most of the women in our society are not exposed. It is true that many women are “malnourished” (not malnourished), we do not have a balanced diet and there is a high rate of overweight. All this is bad for the health of the nursing mother, just as it is for any other person, but it is not bad for her milk or for her baby.
If breastfeeding your baby is an extra motivation to take care of yourself and feed you better, go ahead. But not overwhelmed: breast milk is the best, regardless of the physical state of the mother at all.
How the emotional state affects the production of breast milk
Many nursing mothers have noticed in their own flesh as an event of much stress, fear or worry has affected their milk production.
When you are breastfeeding your baby and you are affected by some negative event: they give you bad news, you see impressive images on television or someone tells you something negative that affects you, you can notice that suddenly milk is not coming out, or much less comes out amount, and the baby begins to suck much more strongly or gets angry and starts crying.
The important thing about this is that it is something totally temporary: in a few minutes, when that first moment of stress or blockage passes, when you manage to relax a bit, the milk comes out again as before.
A woman I accompanied a few years ago told me how every time her mother-in-law told her, during the first days of postpartum, that she had no milk and that the baby wanted to be in the breast all the time, the baby would immediately release the baby. She began to cry, which reaffirmed her mother-in-law’s theory that no breast milk came out. However, simply the fact of going to another room caused the baby to get hooked again and breastfeed calmly. And of course there was milk, only it stopped coming out in that moment of stress or overwhelm.
One of the most reliable proofs that milk is not “cut” forever, no matter how stressed our lives are, are women who live in countries at war, or women who find themselves involved in a terrorist attack or a catastrophe. natural. These women continue to breastfeed their babies, and normally in these catastrophes breastfed babies survive, since there is no access to formula or drinking water and the only way to feed a baby is the breast.
So, we can have a moment of stress and somehow our whole body is paralyzed (you can not think clearly, sometimes you also get physically paralyzed, and also your milk can stop coming out) but in a few minutes somehow your body and your mind look for the exit, they look for to adapt to survive, and you return to recover the “sanity”, you look for the way to act and your milk comes out again as before.