30 Myths about Breastfeeding: Fact vs. Fiction


30 Myths about Breastfeeding: Fact vs. Fiction

When you first start nursing your kid, you'll hear a lot of advice, some of it beneficial, some of it not so much. You may also discover that other sources provide you with completely different facts! It's true: There are many misunderstandings about nursing, and separating the truth from the falsehoods can be tough.

We're here to assist you. Here are some of the most frequent myths about breastfeeding and chestfeeding, dispelled with facts, studies, and proof.

Top 30 Myths About Breastfeeding

1. It's always painful at first.

When learning how to latch and situate their baby, many new parents feel breast soreness at first. It should not hurt if the baby is well latched on to the breast. When your baby first latches on, there may be some small tugging, but this should subside within a few seconds.

2. Your child will instinctively know what to do.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies are born with reflexes that aid in feeding, such as the rooting reflex, sucking reflex, and stepping reflex (which helps your baby move to the breast!) (AAP).

That doesn't imply your child will know exactly what to do when he or she is born. You and your child are both learning.

3. You'll bond with your infant immediately away.

Nursing necessitates holding your kid near to you on a daily basis. According to a 2020 study review, it also releases "feel good" chemicals like prolactin and oxytocin, which help you bond with your kid.

However, this does not guarantee that all nursing parents will feel emotionally attached to their children. It's perfectly fine if it takes you a little longer to fall in love with your baby.

4. If you become pregnant while nursing, you must wean.

The process of acclimating your baby to foods other than breast milk is referred to as "weaning." If a mother becomes pregnant while nursing, many parents choose to wean her child (which is perfectly fine!). Continuing to nurse while pregnant is also a viable option.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), breastfeeding throughout pregnancy is widespread, and there is no reason to wean if the pregnancy is normal and low-risk. Many women continue to nurse during their pregnancy, and others opt to tandem nurse (nurse both kids at the same time) after the birth of their second child.

5. To nurse, you must have a great diet.

While breast- or chest-feeding, you do not need to adjust your diet. Regardless of how you eat, you will produce nourishing milk for your kid.

You will require additional calories.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, you will feel thirstier while breastfeeding, but you do not need to follow a specific diet.

6. Having insufficient milk for your infant is a common occurrence.

Some nursing parents have medical, hormonal, or anatomical challenges that make generating a complete milk supply challenging.

However, most birth moms can produce adequate milk for their newborns if they feed regularly and keep their babies well latched to the breast.

7. You should anticipate nursing difficulties.

You may have heard a million stories about new parents having difficulty breastfeeding, and this is true. However, there are those parents who have minimal difficulty or can overcome any obstacles with a few changes. You don't have to approach nursing with a pessimistic mindset.

8. If you're breastfeeding or chestfeeding, you won't be able to get pregnant.

According to the CDCTrusted Source, if you are solely breastfeeding on demand (even at night), haven't had a period, and your infant is under 6 months, you are unlikely to be pregnant. But there are a lot of ifs there, and even these criteria aren't perfect. Yes, you can become pregnant while nursing, and if you don't want to become pregnant, you should take precautions.

9. If you wish to nurse frequently, your infant is utilising you as a pacifier.

While some newborns are fine with feedings every 3 hours or so, doctors say that many babies, especially in the early days, require more frequent nursing. You can't over-nurse a baby!

Not only that, but nursing isn't just about nutrition: it's common for your kid to seek comfort from you in addition to food, which is a legitimate need.

10. You should wean your kid as soon as he or she starts eating solid foods.

Solid foods are usually introduced in the middle of a baby's first year. Breast milk (or formula) should, however, be their primary source of nutrition for at least the first 12 months, according to the CDC.

Nursing can be continued after 12 months at the feeding parent's discretion. Breast milk continues to provide crucial nutrients and immunological protection to babies as long as they nurse.

11. Breastfeeding or chestfeeding will result in drooping breasts.

Breast changes are noticeable in anyone who is pregnant. Sagging breasts are caused by this, as well as the normal consequences of ageing and weight gain, rather than through nursing.

12. Breastfeeding aids weight loss

Nursing is frequently promoted as a great way to decrease weight after pregnancy. According to a study published in 2013, some people lose weight when nursing. Others, according to 2015 research, do not.

Nursing burns more calories, and some parents gain weight as a result. Focusing on excellent nourishment rather than the number on the scale is the smartest thing to do while nursing.

13. If you breastfeed or chestfeed, your partner will have no role or ability to assist you.

Many people believe that nursing will leave their partner with nothing to do. But this isn't the case! Yes, you'll be the one to make and deliver the milk, but your partner will be busy as well.

They can bring you your baby for feedings, supply all of your snacks and drinks, burp the baby, change their diaper, soothe them when they are unhappy, and so much more.

14. You must not have enough milk if you can't pump much milk.

Pumping has different effects on different people, and not everyone can "let down" as easily for the pump as they can for nursing. As a result, the number of ounces you pump isn't always a fair indicator of how much milk you can create for your kid. You have adequate milk if your baby is growing and thriving on it.

15. You don't have enough milk or your milk isn't rich or full enough if your infant wants to nurse regularly.

Some people believe they don't have enough milk if their kid is "hungry all the time." According to experts, some newborns simply nurse more frequently than others. Other newborns will feed at the same time every day, usually in the evening.

During a growth spurt or a developmental leap, babies also nurse more frequently. Looking at your baby is the greatest way to tell if you're producing enough milk. You're doing excellent if they're peeing, growing, and reaching milestones.

16. If you want your breasts to "full up," you should wait longer between feedings.

There is always more milk in your breasts, and your breasts are never completely "empty," so waiting until you are full to nurse makes little sense. Not only that, but doctors claim that leaving your breasts full between feedings signals your body to shut down milk production.

Feeding your infant on demand is the best approach to time your feedings. This entails nursing them anytime they exhibit signs of hunger.

17. After the first few months, there are no benefits to breast milk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months, then continue to be breastfed until they are at least 12 months old, even when solid meals are given. Breastmilk should be given to kids until they are at least two years old, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source.

Breast milk continues to provide crucial nutritional and immunological benefits for babies well into the first few months of life, according to experts.

18. During the first several days after giving birth, you don't have any milk.

Although your breasts don't begin to fill up and produce mature milk until a few days after your baby is born, that doesn't imply you won't have milk at first.

Colostrum, your baby's first milk, begins to be produced in the middle of pregnancy and is available to your infant immediately after birth. Colostrum, according to experts, is the ideal first food for your newborn since it contains antibodies and immunities that safeguard your child.

19. You are not allowed to take any medications while breast- or chest-feeding.

According to the CDC, most drugs are safe to take while nursing, with a few exceptions. Even if a drug isn't appropriate for nursing, there is typically a safe alternative. That means you can use medications to address both basic ailments like pain and fever and more serious medical problems.

Before taking any drug, it's wise to speak with your doctor. You can also look up information on the safety of most common medicines and their effects on breastfeeding in LactMed, a resource from the National Library of Medicine.

20. You’ll spoil your baby if you nurse them too much

Babies are born with the desire to be held and to nurse regularly (every 1 to 3 hours is usual at initially). You can't possibly spoil your child by feeding them constantly. All babies outgrow the need to be fed so frequently, and before you know it, your baby will be crawling, walking, and finally running away from you, exploring the world.

                      21. Breastfed babies don’t get sick

If they are exposed to viruses or other infections while being nursed, they will become ill. That isn't to say, however, that breast milk isn't protective.

Ear infections and stomach viruses are less likely in children who are fed breast milk. This is due to the fact that it isn't just food. It also contains immune elements that keep infants from being severely ill if they are exposed to a virus or infection.

22. Breastfeeding improves your baby's intelligence

According to the Office of Women's Health, breast milk is a fantastic source of nutrients and has been shown to protect your kid from illnesses and diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and obesity, even after they have stopped nursing.

The link between breastfeeding and IQ, on the other hand, is less obvious. Some research, like this one from 2022, revealed no statistically significant correlation between nursing and improved IQ.

23. If you're unwell, you should cease breastfeeding.

When nursing parents are sick, they often believe they must stop nursing in order to protect their baby. Breast milk, on the other hand, is critical for babies who have been exposed to a virus. According to a study published in 2021, breast milk has antibodies that aid in the fight against illnesses.

If you nurse your baby when you're sick, your infant will be less likely to catch whatever ailment you have.

24. If your baby screams after breastfeeding, he or she is still hungry or there isn't enough milk in the bottle.

Babies scream and complain for a variety of reasons, not all of which are related to hunger. Your baby may need to be burped, have a diaper change, or be overstimulated if they are irritable after nursing.

Don't think your baby is fussing because they are hungry or because you aren't producing enough milk if they are growing and feeding frequently.

25. You must wean your infant once he or she has teeth.

Many parents believe that as their children develop teeth, nursing will become painful. However, this is only true if your infant actively grips your breast.

Your nipple does not make contact with their upper teeth during nursing, and their bottom teeth are hidden by their tongue. According to the AAP, many babies with teeth or who are teething do not bite while eating.

26. When you return to work, you must wean.

While returning to work can make breastfeeding more difficult, many nursing parents find methods to make it work. When you're not with your infant, you'll need to pump.

However, you can cut down on the amount of milk you need to pump at work by nursing your baby soon before you leave for work, right when you get home, and frequently during your time with your baby. The majority of parents are able to find a breastfeeding and pumping regimen that suits them.

27. Breastfeeding is completely free.

The cost of formula and bottles can quickly add up, yet it's a common misconception that breastfeeding is absolutely free. To begin with, most parents will need to purchase pumps and bottles, which is an immediate cost. When you factor in breast creams, nursing tops and bras, as well as potential lactation consultations, the expenditures can quickly pile up. In addition, nursing takes time: It takes a nursing parent's time, effort, and labour for hours upon hours.

28. Breastfeeding is impossible if you have tiny breasts, huge breasts, inverted nipples, or flat nipples.

Smaller breasts can produce the same amount of milk as larger breasts. Large breasts and flat or inverted nipples can make nursing more difficult, but not everyone has these concerns. Furthermore, several strategies can help to alleviate these anxieties.

30. If you're breastfeeding or chestfeeding, you can't drink coffee or alcohol.

While you shouldn't consume too much caffeine while nursing, doctors recommend that you consume the equivalent of 2 to 3 cups of coffee every day. Similarly, the CDC states that drinking the equivalent of one alcoholic beverage on a rare basis is unlikely to harm your infant.

You can reduce your risk even more by not breastfeeding or chestfeeding for at least two hours after you've had your drink. It's important to note that you don't need to "pump and dump" after consuming alcohol.

Nursing isn't a zero-sum game. Many nursing moms need to supplement with formula because their milk production is poor, they can't pump enough milk while separated from their infant, or they just don't want or need to nurse.

The main thing to remember is that supplementing with formula does not make you a failure. Breast milk in any quantity is beneficial to your kid, and you are doing an excellent job. When it's time for you and your baby to stop nursing, do so.

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