Breastfeeding is a natural process but not every new mother or baby is naturally good at it. Add to it the wrong information that gets passed around by people and it can soon turn into a messy situation.
Many myths around breastfeeding can cause stress to the mothers and can be dangerous both for their and baby’s health.
This is why we have prepared this list of the most common myths about breastfeeding to let you know what’s true and what’s not. Let’s get started!
Myth 1: If you have small breasts, you can’t produce sufficient milk
One of the most common myths about breastfeeding, this is far from the actual truth. The size of your breast doesn’t determine the milk-producing capacity but the breast tissue of the mother.
Furthermore, the breast storage capacity will tell if the baby will need to drink from both the breasts to be full or from one breast. Your breast size is just fat and doesn’t have any relation to how much milk you can produce or hold at a time.
Myth 2: Breastfeeding often hurts
While nipple sensitivity is normal, nipple pain isn’t. Sure, in the early days, you might feel mild discomfort but once you get used to the latching process, breastfeeding should feel good and comfortable for the mother.
If you experience pain while breastfeeding, then chances are that the latch or the positioning is wrong. Try to gently remove your baby’s mouth and try to latch again. If the problem persists, then consult a lactation professional.
Myth 3: Mothers need to drink milk to produce milk
Another common myth about breastfeeding is that mothers need milk to produce milk. While you need to stay hydrated, consuming milk is not essential for producing milk for your baby.
Just make sure to have a healthy well-rounded diet so that your body can take the nutrients to add to the breast milk. If you don’t get the necessary nutrients, you will become undernourished as the body will give all the nutrients to your baby.
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Myth 4: If you are sick, don’t breastfeed
A lot of mothers are told to stop breastfeeding when they catch a cold or fever but mothers cannot transfer illnesses to their babies. Breastfeeding at such times is important because breast milk transfers antibodies to the baby as a protection against any sickness.
The only thing to keep in mind is to take health and safety measures such as washing hands regularly, limiting face contact, avoiding sneezing or cough on the baby, and more.
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Myth 5: Babies who breastfeed are clingy
This is completely untrue. Many babies turn out to be clingy and many aren’t, regardless of their feeding method. However, breastfeeding is important for the developing brain of a baby as it provides proper nutrition.
That’s not all, breastfeeding is also the best way to create a mother-baby bond. Hold your baby close to you when breastfeeding and feel the love and comfort flow through your body.
Myth 6: Breastfeeding will change your nipples and breasts
Pregnancy causes hormonal changes in your body which affects the size and the sensitivity of your breasts. And due to the milk storage, your breasts can feel heavy and sag a little. But breastfeeding has no such effect and helps get your breasts back to their original shape and size.
Once you form a breastfeeding schedule, the size of your breasts will reduce. Furthermore, once you wean off your baby, your breasts will return to the softer and pre-pregnancy version of themselves.
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Myth 7: Never awaken a sleeping baby to breastfeed
Another common myth about breastfeeding is that you shouldn’t wake up your baby to breastfeed. Well, this is only applicable if your baby is an established breastfeeder and is older than 3 months. Most newborn babies tend to sleep a lot and it is important to wake them up for feeding so that they can get the necessary energy.
If you let the baby sleep for longer or skip feeding, then he/she is likely to feel sleepier. It is important to form a feeding schedule for which you need to wake up your baby on time.
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Myth 8: Babies who are nursed a lot become obese in life
This is yet another misconception about breastfeeding. Obesity depends on a lot of factors including psychological, environmental, or genetic ones but breastfeeding doesn’t cause obesity. It is normal for babies to nurse anywhere between 4 – 13 times a day.
What you need to remember is that babies feed when they are hungry or need energy. So, don’t force them to feed when they are not willing to. This is known as cue-based feeding and has been found to reduce the risks of diabetes in your kid later in life.
Myth 9: If Baby feeds a lot, then he isn’t getting enough milk
Not at all. Generally, breast milk is easier to digest than formula so your baby feels hungry a lot. It is normal for babies to breastfeed once every 3-4 hours.
Another reason could be that they are experiencing a growth spurt and have a bigger appetite now. In any case, there is no need to worry about generating sufficient milk for your baby. Your breasts follow the supply and demand method and tend to produce more milk to meet your baby’s feeding demand.
Myth 10: Babies and mothers are natural at breastfeeding
Babies indeed have natural infant reflexes such as sucking or rooting reflexes but this doesn’t mean that they know how to breastfeed. The sucking reflex ensures that the baby sucks on anything that touches the roof of his mouth while the rooting reflex makes the baby turn to anyone gently caressing the cheeks.
But breastfeeding requires patience and practice. This is particularly true for mothers who took medications during labor as their baby is still reeling from the effects of it. However, with a little practice, breastfeeding can become a piece of cake for both the baby and the mother.