Breaking Myths about Breastfeeding ⋆ The Costa Rica News

Breastfeeding is the greatest act of love that a mother can offer to her children, it is to provide a liquid whose value exceeds that of any milk formula for 2 years because it contains everything necessary to guarantee the optimal development of a human being up to First 2 years of his life.

It is common for grandmothers, aunts, and neighbors to offer breastfeeding advice based on 4 generations old recommendations that science has demystified today. One of these conceptions is that “the mother should avoid the consumption of certain foods” because these could somehow affect the baby and be the cause of colic, a condition that very often afflicts infants characterized by flatulence and abdominal pain.

To clarify why this is not possible, I will explain the process through which a portion of food must pass until it becomes part of breastfeeding. We will take as example legumes which are some foods rich in protein that are forbidden by breastfeeding mothers very often.

Breaking down proteins

Once the grain is in the mother’s stomach, it will be broken down into small parts thanks to the effect of gastric acid, then it will continue its transit to the duodenum where it will meet an enzyme derived from pancreatic juices called pepsin, in charge to break down the protein of legumes into small fragments called amino acids, these amino acids will then continue their way to the small intestine to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

 Once they are in the blood, most of these amino acids will be taken up by the liver, for the manufacture of important proteins such as albumin, the rest of the amino acids will be free in the blood to be taken up by the mammary gland for manufacturing from casein, one of the proteins found in breast milk.

 Do you notice that the food that the mother receives in her digestive system does not pass directly into breast milk?  They require a meticulous process of filtering and absorption, so that breast milk is manufactured independently of the sources of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, etc.


Raffinose is a carbohydrate that is part of legumes and is the main cause of flatulence and colic in the adult who consumes them, in this case, it will be in the mother. This occurs because human beings do not have the enzyme capable of digesting this carbohydrate (alpha-galactosidase), therefore it cannot be absorbed by our intestines so it will not become part of breast milk.

 Consequently, this molecule will be digested by the bacteria in the colon through a process called fermentation, producing gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which translates into flatulence and abdominal discomfort, in the mother, but not in her baby. The bottom line is that the mother can eat as much as she wants while breastfeeding.

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