Breastfeeding can be extremely overwhelming. There is a lot of information floating around on the Internet and it can sometimes be hard to determine what is fact or what is a myth. When you begin your breastfeeding journey, doing your research is extremely important. Make sure you are gathering information from trusted and reliable sources. Let us take a look at some of the most common breastfeeding myths floating around today.
Table of Contents
- 1. New Mothers May not Produce Enough Breast Milk
- 2. Breastfeeding is Supposed to Hurt
- 3. You Must Alternate Breasts for the Same Period of Time during Each Feeding
- 4. It is a Hot and Humid Day; My Baby Needs Extra Water
- 5. Pumping Breast Milk is a Great Way to Determine How Much Breast Milk I am Making
- 6. Breastfeeding is Much Harder than Bottle-feeding
- 7. Breastfeeding Will Come Naturally
- 8. You Will Lose All Your Baby Weight If You Breastfeed
- 9. A Lot of Women Believe that Breastfeeding is a Form of Birth Control
- 10. You Cannot Drink Any Alcohol while Breastfeeding
1. New Mothers May not Produce Enough Breast Milk
This is a huge misconception when it comes to breastfeeding and can be very scary for new mothers. As a mom, we want to make sure our babies are receiving enough nutrients and are healthy. A lot of times if a breastfed baby is not gaining weight or may be losing some weight, it is because the baby is not breastfeeding properly. If your baby is not breastfeeding properly, it is not receiving all of the breast milk you are producing. In order to get down to the root of the problem, contacting a lactation consultant is highly recommended.
2. Breastfeeding is Supposed to Hurt
Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. This is a common reason why women give up on breastfeeding and do not seek help because they think it is normal. If you are breastfeeding and it is painful for you, contact a lactation consultant! It is likely that your baby does not have a proper latch and there are many things that can be done to make breastfeeding more comfortable for you.
3. You Must Alternate Breasts for the Same Period of Time during Each Feeding
This myth stresses moms out. It is extremely important to watch your baby’s cues to help guide you in this situation. Your baby may breastfeed for 15-20 minutes and receive everything he or she may need from one breast and be done. If this happens, just remember that at the next feeding to breastfeed your baby from the opposite breast. Sometimes your baby will breastfeed for a few minutes on one breast and you may feel empty, but if he or she is still hungry, then offer the other breast. This is a great guideline and if you are having problems with supply a lactation consultant may help you create a plan like this to help with supply. Otherwise, do what feels comfortable for you; you also want follow your baby’s cues.
4. It is a Hot and Humid Day; My Baby Needs Extra Water
No. Never give your breastfed baby additional water. Your baby will receive everything they need from breastfeeding and will stay hydrated.
5. Pumping Breast Milk is a Great Way to Determine How Much Breast Milk I am Making
This is not true and a lot of new moms do this and get themselves stressed and scared because they think they are not producing enough milk. A breast pump can never empty out a breast as well as a baby who can breastfeed well.
6. Breastfeeding is Much Harder than Bottle-feeding
This is unfortunate that some people believe this. This definitely should not be true. If a woman receives enough help and support in her breastfeeding journey, breastfeeding by far is much easier than bottle-feeding. It is also much cheaper!
7. Breastfeeding Will Come Naturally
This is a common statement made and if women have problems breastfeeding they may feel like they are failing and give up. Breastfeeding is very natural, but women may have struggles and that is okay! It is important for breastfeeding women to be able to reach out for help and support from a professional such as a lactation consultant.
8. You Will Lose All Your Baby Weight If You Breastfeed
A lot of new, breastfeeding women do lose all their baby weight while breastfeeding, but that is not a true statement for everyone. Do not be hard on yourself if you are not losing weight fast. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and being active are the true and tried ways for losing weight.
9. A Lot of Women Believe that Breastfeeding is a Form of Birth Control
Although you have lower chances of becoming pregnant while breastfeeding, you definitely can still get pregnant. It is also very common for women to come back for their 6 week or 4 month check-up to discover they are expecting again! There are birth control methods available that are safe to use while breastfeeding. Ask your care provider.
10. You Cannot Drink Any Alcohol while Breastfeeding
This can be a hot topic for a lot of people, but you are able to drink alcohol if you are breastfeeding. There is no need to “pump and dump”. The amount of alcohol in your breast milk is the same amount that is in your blood stream. Feed your baby and then enjoy a glass of wine or beer with dinner. You will be just fine!
These are just a few of the hundreds of myths floating around regarding breastfeeding. It is important to do your research and use reliable and trusted resources. As long as you are confident and have done your research, you will be just fine! It is also okay to ask questions; do not hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant or a La Leche League group for questions and support regarding breastfeeding.