Common Breastfeeding Myths Dispelled

image credit: myllissa

MYTH: Many women do not produce enough milk.

TRUTH: Generally, if babies are allowed to breastfeed without restrictions and no pacifiers or supplementation, moms make the perfect amount of milk for their babies. Many moms make MORE than enough.

MYTH: It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.

TRUTH: The first few days after birth your nipples may be tender with the initial latch, but otherwise breastfeeding should NOT be painful. Pain with breast feeding usually indicates a poor latch. If you are experiencing pain call your Lactation Consultant for assistance.

MYTH: There is no milk for 3-4 days after birth.

TRUTH: Colostrum is a form of “early” breast milk that is present for the baby right after birth.

MYTH: You should time your baby’s feeding.

TRUTH: Your baby should be allowed to eat as long as he or she desires. This helps stimulate your milk production to be the perfect amount that your baby needs.

MYTH: You cannot breastfeed your toddler when you become pregnant or after delivery.

TRUTH: With normal pregnancies it is okay to continue breast feeding your toddler. After the new baby is born, you may continue to breastfeed both. They call this tandem feeding. Call your local Lactation Consultant for more information.

MYTH: Breastfeeding causes sagging breasts.

TRUTH: The latest research shows that sagging breasts risk factors are smoking, age, greater number of pregnancies and higher pre-pregnancy bra size.

MYTH: Drinking a lot of liquids will increase your milk production.

TRUTH: Studies have shown that drinking water or liquids in excess will NOT increase your milk supply. You  should always have water available and drink according to how thirsty you are.

MYTH: Milk supply is not sufficient in the evening.

TRUTH: Babies have fussy periods. Usually they are in the evening hours. Frequently they want to feed a lot during these night time hours. It does not mean you don’t have enough milk. In these cluster feedings, babies will feed frequently in 3-4 hours, then take a longer nap after that.

MYTH: If a mom eats something wrong, the baby will suffer from a stomach ache.

TRUTH: Moms can eat anything in moderation. If you notice that your baby is fussy within 6 hours every time you eat a certain food, then you may want to avoid that food item.

MYTH: Breastfeeding leads to a loss of hair.

TRUTH: It is normal to have some hair loss after you’ve had the baby — that can be caused by normal, temporary changes in your body, not through breastfeeding. If your hair loss continues or is excessive, please speak with your physician. There can be other reasons for hair loss other than pregnancy and delivery of a baby.

MYTH: Breastfeeding must be stopped with many diseases or when taking medicine.

TRUTH: Most of the time you CAN continue to breastfeed your baby . It is on rare occasions that breastfeeding needs to stop or you need to “pump and dump”. Call your Lactation Consultant who has access to available resources for up to date information.

MYTH: Moms who receive immunizations cannot breastfeed for 24-48 hours.

TRUTH: Feeding your baby after an immunization is safe for you and the baby and there is no need to “pump and dump”.

MYTH: Babies need extra water or juice.

TRUTH: Breast milk is ALL that your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. The baby receives plenty of water already in you breast milk.

MYTH: You cannot breastfeed your baby when you have a cold.

TRUTH: With the first sign of a cold your body started to develop antibodies. These antibodies are already being delivered to your baby through your breast milk.

MYTH: You should never feed your baby when they are quiet and wide awake.

TRUTH: This is one of the best times to feed your baby. Crying is a late sign of hunger.

MYTH: When newborn babies smile, it’s just “gas”.

TRUTH: New research says they ARE smiling …….. because they are happy!!

–Martha White RNC, IBCLC

Sources: kellymom.com, llli.org, Dr. Nils Bergman’s conference October 2009

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