It is International Breastfeeding Week! Each year countries throughout the world hold weeklong events that celebrate breastfeeding. The week was designed to promote and discuss breastfeeding all over the world. After all, it is a natural action done by women, everywhere.
Breastfeeding is not just a one-woman job. It requires encouragement and support from family members, health care providers, employers, policymakers and others. 🤝👣 #WorldBreastfeedingWeek pic.twitter.com/6Mo4OelLDI— World Food Programme (@WFP) August 2, 2018
However, as the week progresses, so do some misconceptions or myths about breastfeeding. There is so much discussion about the topic but not all information out there is entirely accurate, and that can be scary. In honor of International Breastfeeding Week, we have busted five common breastfeeding myths.
You Can't Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding
There is an old wives tale that has been around for years, which has women believing that they can't get pregnant while breastfeeding. The truth is you can, and many women have gotten pregnant while breastfeeding. Lactation amenorrhea occurs when a woman breastfeeds and it can cause a woman not to have her period. However, it does not stop the woman from ovulating, and as we know, when a woman ovulates, she can get pregnant. There are ways you can test or signs you can look for to find out when you are ovulating such as high temperature, discolored discharge, and an increase in mucus in the vagina. But the best way to ensure that you don't get pregnant while breastfeeding is to use protection if you are having sex. Breastfeeding is not a form of birth control!
The best way to break the myths and normalise breastfeeding is to share our stories. We asked Ayrshire mums to tell us about their breastfeeding journey. #Ayrshirebreastfeeds #bfhappilyhere 🤱💕https://t.co/eV4bIdnI7J pic.twitter.com/S9wmdqXYZv— Bf Happily Here (@BfHappilyhere) April 6, 2018
Breastfeeding Should Come Naturally With No Issues
Most women get discouraged when breastfeeding doesn't come naturally to them but struggling to nurse is completely normal. Even though breastfeeding is biologically natural, it doesn't always happen easily for women because it is a learned behavior. It is a new skill that each new mom will have to learn and it doesn't just automatically click. Breastfeeding may take practice, patience, persistence and time to develop. In no way shape or form is it your fault, as the process is challenging. Every woman is different. Every baby is different. Sometimes it can take a little while for both to get in sync. The good news is that even if you have a difficult time, in the beginning, it does not mean that you cannot breastfeed at all. It is a stressful, frustrating time with a newborn so give yourself a break, keep trying and doing your best!
Women With Small Breasts Don't Produce As Much Milk As Women With Large Breasts
This is a common misconception especially among first-time mothers who have small breasts, but it is 100% false. The amount of milk that a woman's breast will produce has nothing to do with the size of her boobs before she gets pregnant. Size is entirely irrelevant when it comes to producing milk for the baby, yes the one-time size doesn't matter (just kidding, it rarely does!). The breast tissue or milk-producing cells determine how much milk a woman can produce. A small-breasted woman could even produce more milk than a woman who has larger breasts. Remember, and this is really important, fat tissue determines breast size. That kind of tissue has no bearing on the lactation process that a woman will go through after giving birth. In all honesty, this should not even be a myth anymore, since there is so much scientific information to disprove it, but many women around the world still believe it.
Breastfeeding Is Supposed To Hurt
There is a misconception that breastfeeding is supposed to be painful and that it is alright if your nipples are always hurting. But, surprise! Neither of these conceptions are true. The fact is that other than giving birth, our bodies use pain as a way to alert us that something is wrong. In the case of having nipples that are always in pain, this is a signal that a change needs to be made. When this happens, women should reach out to their doctor. It doesn't necessarily mean that anything serious is wrong, but nipple pain should not be ignored, especially if there is any bruising around the area. Breastfeeding might feel a little uncomfortable; after all, you do have a little human on chomping on your flesh. However, a little tugging and pulling should not be an action that is causing harm. Discomfort maybe, but not a lot of pain. In fact, by ignoring the pain, you might be introducing unnecessary stress to you and your baby.
You Will Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
"New moms will lose weight when they breastfeed" is one of the most common myths out there, but it is not exactly black and white. The truth is that breastfeeding does cause a woman to burn calories, but that doesn't mean that she will lose the pregnancy weight. In reality, when you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight. However, typically a woman who is breastfeeding is hungrier and will eat more calories than she is burning by nursing. But, if you pay attention to what you are eating and try to maintain a healthy regimen you could drop some pounds. But the myth that a new mom will magically lose the pregnancy weight because she is breastfeeding is clearly not entirely true. It can definitely help to some extent but sitting on the couch eating bonbons doing nothing but breastfeeding will not result in dropped pounds.
It's #NationalBreastfeedingWeek and the theme today is 'Myths and Facts about Breastfeeding' - #breastfeeding is what babies are expecting and is all they need: they don’t need water or food until they are 6 months! #BreastfeedinLancs pic.twitter.com/DO5e3yoiTg— Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (@LancashireCare) June 25, 2018
There are so many misconceptions and myths when it comes to breastfeeding. Make sure you do your research, consult a specialist, talk to a friend don't just believe everything you hear!
What is the craziest breastfeeding myth that you have heard? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!