Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breast Feeding Myths in Mexico

I did an express trip to Mexico for a family event. Took Tiny Guy only, leaving Little Guy with his Daddy, along with tons of snacks and easy food (organic and all that).

Tiny Guy was just fantastic, there's nothing I would ask for in a 1 yearold during a 4 day 3000 mile trip. Not only he slept during flights, ate well and held on even with a huge airport hold and an 8 hour delay, but during the party and the after party he was all smiles, from arm to arm, smiling at everyone and keeping his cool self, I think he was happy of not having a big brother taking his toys away.

Anyway, I got the same question over and over again: why is he so good? with all the variables: what drug did you give him, how come he's so smiley, is he always like this.....

But as soon as they heard the answer, which was always the same: BREAST MILK, their tone would change and the fear face would replace the happy face.Had my answer been "morphine" or "extasis", their faces would have softened up a tiny bit. Why are they so weary of the only food made specially for the baby by our own bodies?

Anyway, extended breast feeding in Mexico is declining fast after a decent period, here are some of the cultural barriers that we as Mexican moms have to face on a daily basis:

  • The baby will bite you - My mom has a brother 2 years younger. She tells me that she remembers her mom feeding him and requesting to be breast fed as well, her mom told her that the breast was only for teethless babies, so she was satisfied with the answer and never requested it again. On several occasions I've seen friends afraid of older babies biting you and that seems to be enough of a reason for stopping. True or false? Neither. Babies bite when they get their new teeth. It took me a couple of sad faces and complaints to teach him how to feed without biting. They are fast learners and believing that they would bite on an every day basis underestimates them.
  • Production fades in 3 to 4 months - I loved that one. It was not prejudice knowing the babies biggest source of food, it was just amazement that it could be done. No, production does not automatically go away in a few months. A mother was court ordered to stop breast feeding her 6 yearold child. As long as it is required and no other factors come to place, production will continue.
  • If you breast feed, the baby won't eat anything else - That one was given by 2 different uncles. Seems like they think babies that are breast fed don't eat anything else. Again, some mothers may do that, but that's neither the rule nor the general practice. Exclusive breast feeding may go longer than formula fed babies, but by the time they hit their first birthday, most of them are eating all kinds of foods.

Truth is, not everybody is able or willing to do it. Truth is babies can grow happy and healthy being bottle fed. But this type of myths is not helping the situation

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