These days, as misinformation is easily spread, it may be easy to stumble into things that are not entirely true — such as in the case of breastfeeding. Whether you’re a parent-to-be, a new mother, or just curious about the realities of breastfeeding, Kindred is here to help you debunk common myths and misconceptions to remain better informed and educated!
Breastfeeding is an easy task
It is important to know that babies are born with the reflex to look for their mother's breast. However, many mothers need practical support with breastfeeding especially when it comes to positioning their baby and making sure they are correctly attached to the breast.
Breastfeeding is something that takes time and practice for both babies and their mothers. Breastfeeding is natural but doesn't always come naturally. Getting a good latch early helps build a solid foundation for nursing. Take note that your baby's anatomy and your anatomy might make breastfeeding more complex at times and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
Breastfeeding is painful
While breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, it is common for your breasts and nipples to feel sore and tender for a few days while your body adjusts to nursing. If you feel any pain or discomfort, get advice from your doctor so that you can be guided through latching and breastfeeding positions. Take note that pain usually peaks around the third day after birth, and is gone within two weeks.
Breastfeeding will ruin the shape of your breasts
Most women find that their breasts go back to their pre-pregnancy size and shape after they stop nursing. Age, the effects of gravity, and weight gain have more effects on breast size than nursing. Breasts will always change in consistency after pregnancy.
Small breasts won’t produce enough milk
The size of your breasts has nothing to do with the quantity of milk that you can produce. It will mostly affect your baby’s appetite since the more your baby nurses, the more milk you will produce. Women with smaller breasts can produce ample milk, while those with larger breasts may not necessarily produce more since it is your baby’s effective latch and frequency of nursing that will stimulate milk production.
You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding
While it's true that breastfeeding prevents ovulation in some women, it should not be used as a form of birth control nor is it a foolproof method. Getting pregnant as soon as three weeks after birth is actually possible. To prevent an unintended pregnancy, it's recommended to use additional contraception methods. Consult your doctor about an acceptable form of contraception.
Breastfeeding makes you lose sleep
Breastfeeding can affect your sleeping patterns — especially in the early stages. However, as time goes on, your baby’s feeding schedule will become more predictable and your sleeping pattern will be more consistent as well. For newborns, they will typically require frequent feeding (every 2 to 3 hours, day and night). This means that you might need to wake up multiple times during the night to nurse your baby.
Take note that it is essential for mothers to take care and prioritize their own well-being and reach out for support when needed whether it is from a partner or a healthcare professional.
You should only eat plain food while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding mothers need to eat a balanced diet just like everybody else. You are not required to change your eating habits or your diet since your baby is already exposed to your food preferences when they were in the womb.
However, there may be certain foods to stay away from or lessen for the benefit of your baby. Consult your doctor for more information and personalized advice.
Formula feeding is just as good as breastfeeding
While formula feeding can provide necessary nutrients, it is good to know that breast milk is still unmatched in its composition. Breast milk contains antibodies that will boost your baby’s immune system and help facilitate proper digestion. It is also easier for infants to digest breast milk and it will reduce the possibility of getting colic and other digestive issues.
Breastfeeding also promotes a unique bond between a mother and child that is beyond nourishment and something that formula feeding may not be able to provide.
It is normal for breasts to leak excessively
In the early stages of breastfeeding, leaking breasts can be a common occurrence. However, excessive leakage may indicate an oversupply of milk or other issues you should consult your doctor about.
Using nursing pads and adjusting your nursing position and technique can help reduce leakage. However, if this continues to persist, consult your doctor in order to prevent any possible issues.
You should stop breastfeeding when your baby grows teeth
One of the most common misconceptions is that breastfeeding should no longer be continued once your baby’s teeth start growing. This is a myth. Breastfeeding can continue without causing harm to you or your baby. As long as proper latching and positioning are maintained, babies can learn to nurse without biting. If biting occurs, this can be addressed through patience and gentle correction.
Breastfeeding ruins your body
This is a myth, breastfeeding will not negatively affect a mother’s body. Breastfeeding can actually help you shed pregnancy weight more effectively by using stored fat reserves for milk production. Any changes in breast size or shape are also temporary.
Breastfeeding is not an easy task. Make sure that you have the support that you need physically and emotionally with your partner and healthcare provider. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when needed!
Got more questions or concerns about breastfeeding? Book a consultation with our lactation specialists at mykindred.co today!