Breastfeeding can be difficult for any new mom. Between trying to find the right position, getting a good latch, and making sure the baby is getting enough milk, breastfeeding can feel overwhelming and confusing.
Not to mention the countless myths that surround the subject, making it even more difficult for new moms to navigate this method of feeding. If you’re a new or expecting mom who plans on breastfeeding, don’t let these 10 most common breastfeeding myths stand in your way.
1. Breastfeeding is Easy
While breastfeeding does get easier with time, it doesn’t always start off that way. Many moms struggle with positioning, latching issues, tongue and lip ties, milk production, and many other issues.
Just because breastfeeding is one of the most natural things a woman can do, doesn’t mean it comes naturally.
If you’re in the early stages of breastfeeding, know that it’s normal for it to be difficult. If you can stick with it, breastfeeding gets easier and easier with time and practice.
2. Breast is Best
While breastfeeding provides many benefits for both mothers and babies, sometimes, breastfeeding isn’t the best option. As mother’s, we have the right to decide how we want to feed our babies. No matter what reason a mother might have for deciding not to breastfeed, the decision is hers, and it should be respected.
3. Pain is Normal
During the first two weeks of breastfeeding, mothers may experience some nipple pain and pain from engorgement. However, if a baby is latching properly, breastfeeding should not be causing extended pain.
Pain after the first few weeks of nursing is not normal. If you’re experiencing pain while breastfeeding, consult your doctor or a lactation specialist in your area.
4. You can Overfeed a Breastfed Baby
Breastfeeding moms are often shocked by how often their babies want to nurse. Because breastfeeding provides more than just nutrition for newborns, it’s normal for them to be attached to the breast round the clock.
In the early days, babies breastfeed for comfort, thirst, hunger, pain relief, and entertainment. This doesn’t mean that every time they’re at the breast their consuming a lot of milk. Don’t worry about overfeeding your breastfed baby.
Babies will change their sucking and swallow patterns depending on why they’re nursing, and our breasts can only output so much milk in a session. It’s not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby.
5. Breast Size Matters
Breast size has nothing to do with a mother’s ability to breastfeed. Women with small breasts are just as capable of nursing as women with larger breasts.
Many new mothers become concerned when they don’t notice a significant change in their breast size during or after pregnancy. However, this does not correlate with their ability to breastfeed their baby successfully.
6. You have to Pump and Dump
The phrase”pump and dump” has long been associated with breastfeeding. But, there is a lot of misconception built into this phrase. Many women are led to believe that if they have any alcohol, they’ll have to pump their breast milk and dump it down the drain.
The truth is, alcohol leaves your breast milk just as it leaves your blood. As long as there are a few hours between when you plan to drink, and when you plan to nurse, you don’t need to worry about pumping and dumping.
In fact, many breastfeeding professionals take this a step further by saying that nursing mothers can have a drink and nurse their baby without waiting. The general standard is that if you’re sober enough to drive, you’re sober enough to breastfeed.
The only time pumping and dumping is encouraged for the mother’s comfort. If you are consuming alcohol and are away from your baby for an extended period, it is recommended that you pump to prevent engorgement and maintain a healthy milk supply. Because you’re drinking, this milk will need to be discarded.
7. Breastfeeding is a reliable form of birth control
While the lactation amenorrhea method (LAM) of birth control can be an effective way of preventing pregnancy, many conditions need to be met. If your baby is less than 6 months old, your period has not returned, and you’re breastfeeding on demand, then LAM is an acceptable form of birth control.
If anyone or more of those criteria are not met, breastfeeding should not be considered a reliable way of preventing future pregnancies.
8. Breastfeeding will help you lose weight
Although breastfeeding burns a ton of extra calories, it’s not a surefire way to lose the baby weight. Many breastfeeding moms end up consuming extra calories in exchange for those that they burned. As usual, a healthy diet and exercise are the best ways to lose weight postpartum.
9. You can’t breastfeed after a breast augmentation
Women who have undergone a breast augmentation are still able to breastfeed their babies. The ability to breastfeed is based on functioning breast tissue within the breast.
In most cases, this tissue is not removed during a breast augmentation. In the majority of cases, women who have had breast implants are still able to produce breast milk and nurse their children.
10. How Much you Pump is Equivalent to how Much Baby Gets while Nursing
One of the most difficult things about breastfeeding is that you’re never truly sure how much milk your baby is getting when they nurse. This leads to one of the biggest misconceptions about breastfeeding.
Many moms believe that the amount of milk they pump in a session is equivalent to the amount of milk their baby is getting while nursing. This is not true.
Our babies are much more efficient at removing milk from our breasts than a pump is. Some breasts don’t respond to a pump at all. If you’re new to breastfeeding and pumping, don’t be alarmed if you don’t see much output from a pump.
This is not a reflection of how much milk your baby can get. The best way to make sure your baby is getting enough breast milk is to track their wet and dirty diapers and make sure that they are gaining weight at a healthy rate.
When it comes to breastfeeding, the best thing you can do to ensure your success is educating yourself. There are many myths, and misconceptions surrounding the subject and most of them stem from a lack of knowledge. If you’re a breastfeeding mom, arm yourself with the facts, follow your gut, and be your own best advocate.
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