We live in a time and a world of #FedIsBest and we are all for it, because it really doesn’t matter how or what a mother feeds her baby as long as it is safe and helping them grow. However, this article is going to be about breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding appears to be easy and that is probably because people keep saying it is "natural." Breastfeeding has many benefits, but it is anything but easy. Breastfeeding can be hard, and it can cause a lot of stress in new moms who are just trying to figure everything out. They are dealing with supply issues, sore lady parts and wondering if they have enough for their baby.
Then comes along well-meaning people who offer advice and words of wisdom when it comes to breastfeeding and while they mean well, they may not actually be helping at all. Information gets passed down through generations, but the problem is they don’t check up on recent studies and medical articles. This means this information is usually outdated and just plain wrong.
We went through the top 20 things that a lot of people get wrong about breastfeeding. We are going to break the cycle here and now.
20 Size Matters
This is a myth that is a tale as old as time. The myth is that it matters what size you are when you want to breastfeed. There are (still) a lot of people out there who think that if you are a woman of a larger size that you will have a better chance when it comes to nursing. That you may have a bigger supply. This is not true.
Milk ducts and the things that make the milk are still there and it doesn’t matter what size you wear. Size is no indication on a woman’s potential success at breastfeeding.
19 Watch What You Eat …
When we are pregnant, everything we put into our bodies will affect the baby, whether it be good or bad. That is why it is so important to watch what we eat, drink and what medications we put into our bodies. A lot of people think the same rule applies when you are breastfeeding, and the truth is it does – but just a little bit.
There is no reason to avoid dairy, spicy food or gassy food when breastfeeding unless your baby shows that they have an intolerance for these items. You can keep on eating whatever you want unless your BABY tells you differently.
18 …And Drink!
Here is another point of controversy when it comes to what you ingest while breastfeeding. We know that there is no safe level of alcohol while you are pregnant and that even one glass can have dangerous consequences. Many would assume that it is the same when you are breastfeeding, but it is not.
Many women would pump and dump when breastfeeding to make sure no alcohol gets into their baby’s system while they are nursing. The truth is, very little alcohol gets into your milk and if you are sober enough to drive than you are sober enough to nurse.
17 Past Surgeries?
There are many reasons why a woman may have a surgery done, and these reasons are really none of our business and not the point of this article. However, there are a lot of people out there who believe that if a woman has undergone these procedures that she will not be able to breastfeed. This is not true.
Surgery has come a long way and the way they do these procedures has little to absolutely no impact on a woman’s ability to breastfeed when the time comes. They are not altering the milk ducts, so they are not harming the areas where milk is made and transported. If you plan on breastfeeding in the future and having a procedure done just bring it up with the surgeon.
16 Timed Feedings Are Important
Everyone always says how important it is to introduce a schedule to your baby and they are not wrong. However, this is nearly impossible until your baby is no longer a newborn and mom should not even attempt it until then. She can try, but don’t expect much to happen. Schedules are important so that mom can keep her sanity and plan her day, but feedings should happen at any time.
You should not attempt timed feeds with your breastfed baby. Let them nurse when they want too and for as long as they want too. Babies nurse for comfort as well and they will often nurse frequently when a growth spurt is coming. It is also a great way to ensure your supply.
A term that is big in the breastfeeding world is ‘confusion.' Some will warn you to avoid introducing bottles and pacifiers because it could confuse your little one and they will no longer want to latch on to mom. There may be an ounce of truth to this one, but not very much. Establishment of breastfeeding happens pretty quickly so it is really only important that there are no combinations for the first bit.
After breastfeeding is established, there is no fear when it comes to introducing other oral items to your baby. Having someone else feed your baby or calming them with a pacifier will give mom a little break.
14 Sick Mom = No Milk!
There is nothing a mom fears more than her baby getting sick. It is a lot more work and we really just don’t want to see them in any pain or discomfort. Babies are also around their moms the most, so it would seem to make sense that if mom is sick she has a good chance of passing it on to her baby, especially if she is breastfeeding.
There is no reason to stop breastfeeding if mom has a cold or even the flu. It is actually encouraged that she should continue to breastfeed. Her body will make antibodies that will be passed on through her milk to help protect the baby.
13 Good-Bye Sleep
If a woman is planning on breastfeeding than she is often told that she will have to say goodbye to sleep completely because breastfed babies take forever to sleep through the night. This may even scare some women into formula feeding, but it shouldn’t. This rumour is born out of the knowledge that breastmilk is digested a lot quicker than formula, so baby will wake more to eat during the night.
While it is true that breastmilk is digested quicker than formula, breastfed babies are quite capable and able of sleeping through the night as soon as any other baby. The only concern may be mom may need to wake up and pump to ease the engorgement she feels when baby skips a feed.
12 Use Protection
Here is one we need to clear up right away, breastfeeding is not a form of birth control. There is talk out there that as long as a woman is breastfeeding she can not fall pregnant. This is because breastfeeding involves a lot of hormones, and there are many women out there who do not see the return of their menstrual cycle while breastfeeding.
This is not something to rely on and you can absolutely fall pregnant while breastfeeding. Women ovulate before they experience a period, so there is the chance that a woman can ovulate at any time. It is always best to use protection if you do not plan on welcoming another baby any time soon.
11 Working Mom Problem
Not a lot of women get to stay home with their children. Either they need to return to work for financial reasons or they just want to get out of the house and be around other people. This can ‘seem’ to cause a lot of problems for moms who have chosen to breastfeed. Some of these women are even told they will have to wean when they want to return to work.
This is not true, and no one has to stop breastfeeding when they return to work. Workplaces are now legally obligated to allow time and space for moms who are employed to pump their breastmilk. Women really can have the best of both worlds now.
10 Pumping = Supply Information
One of the trickiest things when it comes to breastfeeding is making sure that your baby is getting enough. We do not have those handy measurements on our body to tell us how many ounces our baby is taking in and this can cause a lot of stress to a mom. To fix this problem many women will try and pump their milk to see how much they are producing.
This causes a lot of stress as well because often times women can not pump very much out. This is not an indicator of supply. Nothing will ever be as good or productive as your baby at the chest and some women just don’t respond to pumps at all.
9 Baby Nurses Too Much
Breastfeeding is not an exact science, and every baby will nurse differently. Even different babies born to the same mother will have different styles when it comes to nursing. Some believe that if the baby wants to eat often than that must mean they are starving and not getting enough milk. Nothing could be further than the truth.
Babies nurse for many reasons. They often will nurse to comfort themselves and mom will turn into a human pacifier and that is OK. Babies will often go through periods of cluster feeding, which means they are on the chest frequently as they get ready to go through a growth spurt.
8 The Real Deal On Breastfeeding Past One
Another thing a lot of people like to give their opinion on is when mom should stop breastfeeding. This is a decision that is between mom, child and maybe doctor. A lot of people think and say that when a child reaches the age of one that they should be weaned from the breast. That there are no more nutrients in it and there is no point.
This is not true. Breastmilk changes to meet the child’s needs and as your child grows and their needs change, the milk will too. Extended breastfeeding has a lot of benefits for mom and child. No one has any right or place to say when a woman should stop.
7 Good-Bye Pre-Baby Physique!
Here is another myth that is very false. People believe that after breastfeeding her body will be forever changed, especially if she has nursed more than one child. This is not true, and it should not deter anyone from wanting to breastfeed their baby. The truth is that yes, the body does change, but it is pregnancy that changes it and not breastfeeding.
During pregnancy, a woman’s chest will double in size usually and this will always have an impact on how she looks. It makes no difference whether she chooses to breastfeed or not, her body will change. It is time to embrace it, your body made beautiful children.
6 Clingy Baby
Here is another myth and it is one of my favourites. That if you breastfeed your baby they will be clingy and will not want to be independent. That for some reason if we offer our babies the chance to breastfeed that they will become mom’s third arm and will have no sense of self and independence. That sounds pretty ridiculous, right?
It sounds ridiculous because it is. Babies who are breastfed have the same ability to be independent as any other baby. My own daughter was breastfed, and she is the most independent 2-year-old I have seen in a long time. They go through the same separation anxiety stages as every other formula fed baby.
5 Clogged Duct 101
We already mentioned that breastfeeding is not easy, and it isn’t. It also comes with a lot of painful side effects and one of them is a clogged duct. The milk flows through ducts in our chest before exiting and there is always a chance that these may get clogged. If a clog does not get cleared a woman can develop mastitis, which can be very painful and make a woman ill.
Some may say that if there is a clogged duct that mom should not nurse. This is not only false but could be dangerous. The best way to clear a clogged duct is to get the baby to nurse. The baby can help to clear the clog and get things flowing again. This is when you should be nursing your baby more.
4 No Medications For You
For 9-months we spend so much time being very careful about what we put in our bodies as to not cause harm to our growing baby. A lot of people carry on this notion when they are breastfeeding, and they will continue to not take medications when nursing. This is only half true. There are a lot of medications that mom can still take when nursing that will have no effect on the baby.
All mom needs to do is make a quick phone call to her doctor or pharmacist and she will have an answer. Our body breaks down what we ingest when we nurse so very little of the medication is going to get to the baby through the milk.
3 Time To Quit The Gym
It is no surprise to anyone that our body changes when we are pregnant. It goes through a lot and some women handle this a lot better than others. After mom has gotten the clear form her doctor she is usually excited to get back in that gym and start working out. Some may warn her that she can not do that if she is breastfeeding, which is not true.
There is no reason for a breastfeeding woman to stop working out. She may find it a little uncomfortable doing certain exercises if she is engorged or if her milk is coming in. She may need to wear a tighter fitting sports bra to help give her support but that is all that needs to change.
2 Pregnant And Nursing
Here is another big one that gets people talking, when a breastfeeding mother falls pregnant again. They seem to think she will need to wean the older child. This is not true, and especially if her older child is still quite young. There are many mothers out there who continue to nurse when they are pregnant and have no issues. Due to hormones, the taste of the milk may change slightly but it is usually not a cause for concern.
The better news is that even when that baby comes, the mom can usually still successfully nurse both of her children. Her body knows what to do, and our bodies are amazing things.
1 Weaning Is H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!
When it comes time to wean our baby from our breastmilk, we are often scared and worried. We hear so many horror stories about weaning a child and they usually involve a lot of tears and fighting. It is hard, and when mom is ready to wean she may let her fear stop her which can be damaging to her mental health if she is done.
The best thing to do is to talk to your doctor about different strategies to use when trying to wean. With a little work and love it may be rather easy. It doesn’t have to be a fight filled with sweat and tears, and we should not be thinking it will be before we even know.
References: Fit Pregnancy