There are so many things about motherhood that can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if we are talking about a first-time mom. Sure, there are 9 months to prepare for the little one’s arrival, but is anyone really prepared? No. The truth is, everyone learns as they go along. They may talk to friends and family members for advice and what to do, but every baby is different and what worked for some people may not work for everyone. There is no universal handbook when it comes to parenting.
One of the most challenging things about motherhood is breastfeeding. If a mom has decided to make that choice for her and her baby then she probably has a lot of questions. Sadly, misinformation or lack of support plays a large role in if the breastfeeding journey continues or comes to a screeching halt. A popular way to get information these days is to look online. We have a wealth of knowledge right at our fingertips, but it is only useful if the information is accurate.
Millennials are starting to get to that age where they are either becoming parents or are starting to think about that time that is coming. Millennials also love their technology and the internet. They are always quick to hop online and learn more about something. This has a lot of benefits, but the one large downfall is that a lot of the information online is not accurate. When it comes to breastfeeding, it is important to have all the right information.
We have found the top 15 things that millennials believe to be true about breastfeeding, and we are here to prove them all wrong with the actual facts.
15 One Year Is A Perfect Time To Quit
The breastfeeding relationship between mom and her baby is a very special and private bond.
It is up to mom to decide when she is done breastfeeding and when to move on. This can range from any amount of time and it really depends on how everything is going and how mom is feeling.
A lot of people believe that once a child reaches the age of one, it is the perfect time to stop breastfeeding. That baby is now on solid foods and can drink other forms of milk, so that there is no longer a need for breastmilk.
While it is true that baby’s food is expanding, there is much more that goes into breastfeeding than just nutrition. It is an emotional bond as well, and one that mom and baby may not be able to end just yet. There is still a lot of nutritional value in breastfeeding well past the age of one. The AAP recommends that a mother breastfeeds her baby until the age of 2. In other cultures, it is quite normal to breastfeed until the child is 4 or 5. There is no rule or guideline on when mom needs to stop giving her baby that liquid gold.
14 You Must Pump And Dump
Pump and dump is a common phrase used when you are talking about breastfeeding. It usually refers to what a breastfeeding mom should do if she wants to have a night out enjoying a couple drinks. A lot of moms choose to refrain from drinking all together when they are breastfeeding, just to make sure that nothing gets transferred through their milk. However, there are a lot of moms out there who like to partake in the odd social drink or two.
They are often told that they need to pump their breastmilk and dump it after they have consumed alcohol due to the transference that can happen through the milk. This is still a myth that only applies in certain situations.
Lactation specialists will advise mom that if she drinks enough to hinder her abilities, such as walking and driving than she needs to pump her milk and use it for a milk bath or anything other than feeding. If mom has had only a glass and is sober enough to drive and function as she normally would than her milk will not be tainted, and she is OK to breastfeed right from the source.
13 Formula Is Just As Healthy!
In an attempt to be as politically correct as I can be I want to add a disclaimer that nothing in this article is meant to state that those moms who formula feed their babies are not giving their baby the ‘best.’ It is a sensitive subject and we all understand there are situations where a mother can not breastfeed, and situations to which she just chooses not to breastfeed. This is all her decision, but this article is about breastfeeding, so we need to address the myth that breastfeeding, and formula are equally as healthy.
The truth is, they are both healthy and they are both fine to feed your babies. However, breast milk is scientifically more nutritious to little babies for the most part.
There are cases where babies can not tolerate moms milk, or the quality is not there, but those situations are on the smaller percentage side. Not only does breastmilk provide food and nourishment, it has shown to reduce the amount of illnesses in infants and help boost their immune system until they can get it up on their own. There are also studies that show that mom’s who breastfeed are healthier as well as they tend to pay attention to their diet more and avoid harmful substances.
12 Breastfeeding Rates Are Low Due To Working Moms
Millennials are a busy generation, probably the busiest we have seen in a long time. This also may have something to do with the cost of living and how it is almost impossible to not have a family where both partners are not out working. It is a necessity. Less and less women are choosing to stay home with their children, mostly because they can not afford it. Millennials are also fiercely independent. They enjoy going to work and earning their own way in the world so a lot of them choose to go back to work for the sake of their own sanity.
This has led to the myth that the rates of women breastfeeding are dropping due to mothers having to go back to work. This is not true.
If we look back to when women first started really joining the workforce in the 1970’s we will see that it was at that point that the breastfeeding rates began to rise.
The whole woman’s movement of the '70s not only allowed women to go to work, but it also encouraged them to embrace what their bodies were capable of which played a large part in more women choosing to breastfeed. Workplaces are also expanding, making it a woman’s right to have a time and place while at work to pump milk for her baby.
11 Size Matters
It is unclear if this is a myth due to millennials or if it has always been a myth, but there is speculation out there that if you have a smaller breast size you may have difficulty breastfeeding. It seemed obvious that the bigger breasts you had, the easier time you would have supplying and feeing your baby.
This is one of the biggest myths when it comes to breastfeeding and it is time that it ends here and now. Breast size has absolutely nothing to do with a woman’s ability to nurse her children.
Judith Lauwers is a spokeswoman for the International Lactation Consultant Association has she has a lot to say about this myth. She states that the breast tissue you need to be able to breastfeed your child grows because a woman is pregnant, and not because of the size of her breasts. The growth is triggered by the hormones that are running through your body due to your pregnancy. Milk is not developed by the fatty tissue in the breasts, more a functional tissue that develops when you see those two pink lines. No matter the size of a woman’s chest, there are mild ducts there and that alone with the tissue is enough to make sure that your body will produce the milk that your baby needs.
10 Don’t Get Plastic Surgery
When we look back a few years, plastic surgery was much more taboo that it is now. It was seen as something only celebrities did, and it usually ended with them looking worse then before. It has come a long way and it is not completely uncommon for women (and men) to go under the knife for some reason. Women are warned not to get any type of work done on their breasts before they have children because it could hinder their ability to breastfeed. If they do choose to go under the knife, than they will be forced to formula feed their baby.
Here we have another myth. Carol Huotari is the manager of the Center for Breastfeeding Information at La Leche League International. She states that changes have been made to how doctors perform these operations that have little to no effect on a woman’s ability to nurse her child.
She states that implants are usually placed near the armpit or under the breast tissue or chest muscle, which shouldn’t interfere with breastfeeding.
The only way that breast surgery may impair your ability breastfeed would be if they removed your nipple in order to insert the implant. In these cases, you should still be able to nurse but you may have to supplement with formula.
9 Healthy, Organic Foods = The Best Breastmilk
There are a lot of food rules when it comes to being pregnant that by the end of our 9-month journey we are either pretty used to our new diets or we are dying to eat a cold cut sandwich and a lot of tuna fish. When a mother decides she wants to breastfeed, she has already resigned to the fact that she will have to continue to eat extremely healthy and watch what she puts in her body. This makes sense, because our body uses what we put in it to make breastmilk for our baby. While you should make sure you do not indulge in too many fatty or junky foods, for the most part it really does not matter.
The foods you eat must be digested and broken down to make the breastmilk, and this is not a quick or easy process. By the time this has all happened, what you have consumed should not affect your baby.
If you eat gassy foods, there is a small chance they will affect your baby, but not a serious one. It is also OK to keep eating spicy or garlicky foods as well, as the flavours will be so diluted by the time they are turned into breastmilk for your baby.
8 Blocked Ducts Are A Big No
Breastfeeding is not easy, there are a lot of challenges and struggles and one of the worst ones is a blocked duct or an infection. It seems like it would be common sense that you should not breastfeed your baby if there is an infection in your breast. Would it surprise anyone if I told you that the exact opposite is true.
If mom has a blocked duct or breast infection she should absolutely continue to breastfeed her baby. The best cure for a blocked duct is to nurse as often as you can, it will help clear the blockage.
A blocked duct usually occurs because there has been a change in the nursing pattern of your baby and the breasts have become overfull.
By getting your baby to nurse as often as you can, and pumping when you can, you can help clear that blockage fast. If mom gets a breast infection, she may be worried that the infection will harm her baby. It won’t. A breast infection will require antibiotics to clear up, but the doctor will prescribe you ones that are safe to take while nursing. Neither the medication or infection will harm your little one.
7 A Breastfeeding Mom Will Never Sleep
Sleep becomes the most precious commodity when you are a new mom, and there are a lot out there who believe that a mom of a breastfed baby will never sleep because she will be constantly be nursing her baby. They feel that a baby will only start sleeping through the night when she starts to eat solid foods.
The facts are that the baby will sleep through the night whenever they are ready, and it has nothing to do with what the baby is eating. A baby’s sleep depends on a lot of factors and there are things moms can do to help their little one gets some more shut eye.
It is true that breastfed babies do need to be fed more frequently than formula fed babies because the milk digests a lot quicker, however this does not mean that formula fed babies sleep through the night right away either. If mom is getting tired and needs a break, she can try expressing some of her milk so that her partner can take over one of the night feedings. She can also try a good nighttime routine to help the little one gets to sleep easier. As long as a baby is getting the right amount of food to eat, no matter the form, then they will sleep as long as they are meant to sleep.
6 No Pill For Me!
This one needs to be covered, and a lot because it is a myth that could have dangerous repercussions.
If you are not ready to have another baby, then please use a proper form of birth control. Breastfeeding is NOT a form of birth control and should not be treated as such.
There are still a lot of women out there who believe that they can not get pregnant while breastfeeding, and this is not true. There is good reason why people believe this and that is because it can be difficult to conceive again if the condition is just right.
The actual method is called Lactation Amenorrhea Method and it applies to a woman who is frequently (day and night) exclusively breastfeeding her baby who is younger than 6 months and if her period has not resumed that it should be difficult for her to get pregnant. This method is said to be 98% effective, but it is very tricky to make sure all the elements are there. A lot of women mistake their period for postpartum bleeding and assume that they have not had a menstrual cycle. Also, if your baby goes through periods of using you as a pacifier, this would also make this ineffective because he is not actively sucking and feeding. It is always better to be safe than sorry!
5 Unwanted Physical Changes
Body image is a big concern with women. There are a lot of women out there who don’t care about their body changes through pregnancy and breastfeeding, but it is not the same for everyone. A lot of women still struggle with how pregnancy, giving birth and breastfeeding changes their body. Some struggle with it so much that it deters them from even wanting to attempt to breastfeed their baby. They are fearful of having breasts that sag and are misshapen after the months of breastfeeding.
The truth is, breasts are not ruined from breastfeeding, it all goes back to pregnancy.
It is pregnancy that changes the shape and tone of your breasts, not breastfeeding.
Whether or not a woman chooses to breastfeed, her breasts will double in weight during pregnancy. This temporary weight gain puts a lot of pressure on the ligaments that support the breasts and makes them appear ‘perky.’ The ligaments get weakened and are unable to support them anymore. This information comes from Pamela Berens, a board-certified lactation consultant and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center. It really is best to embrace the changes that come with your body, and not to blame breastfeeding for changing the girls.
4 “I Want An Independent Baby”
Like we stated earlier, millennials are very independent people, and that is a good thing. However, this means that they normally want to raise a child who is also independent. They feel that this independence is hindered by breastfeeding your baby. That by breastfeeding you are going to end up with a baby who is very clingy and always needs to be by mom’s side. It makes complete sense that they would believe this, because of how strong the emotional bond is when a mother breastfeeds her baby, but it will not automatically make for a clingy baby.
Bettina Forbes, a certified lactation counselor and cofounder of the Best for Babes Foundation states very clearly that there have been studies done to show that the exact opposite is true.
She states that babies who have benefitted from the attachment of breastfeeding tend to be more independent in their later life.
The Best for Babes Foundation is an organization that is dedicated to changing the taboos that surround nursing. Independence depends largely on a baby’s own personality. Some babies are naturally more independent and daring than others, and this has nothing to do with how they were fed as an infant.
3 “You Really Shouldn’t Take Any Medication”
There is a lot of focus on what we put in our bodies being directly transferred to the babies through our breastmilk. When we use that logic, we would safely assume that mom can take absolutely no medications when they are breastfeeding. They assume that all the same rules apply as when we were pregnant. The two situations are very different. When you are carrying your baby, they are getting much more of what you ingest, it is a direct source, so it is good to be cautious.
When you are breastfeeding, we must remember that your body is going to take what you ingest and digest it and transfer what it needs to your babes. This means that the baby is not getting a direct hit of anything anymore, it is filtered through and a small percentage is what actually gets to your baby.
With that being said, there are still some medications that you can not take when breastfeeding, but a quick conversation with your doctor will help you pick the right one for you. This is great news for moms who are living with mental health issues and need medications to make sure that are being the best mom they can be.
2 If It Hurts, Quit!
No one likes pain, I haven’t met anyone who enjoys being in pain. When breastfeeding is painful it is assumed that it is not working, and mom needs to stop and switch to formula. This is a large myth and is one of the reasons so many mothers stop breastfeeding before they need too. It is quite normal and common for mom to have sore nipples in the beginning of their breastfeeding journey. Our nipples are not used to being used to feed and the constant moisture can make them dry, crack and bleed. It is very important to use some nipple cream in the beginning to prevent this from happening. If the nipples are already cracked and bleeding, rubbing some breast milk on them will help as well.
Another common reason for painful nursing is that the baby is not latched correctly. There are many reasons why a baby may have a hard time latching and they are all quickly solved. The first problem may be that he is not latched on correctly, and a quick visit to a lactation consultant can help you correct this error. The baby may also have a tongue or lip tie making it hard for them to latch, and there are simple procedures to correct this to make sure that the breastfeeding relationship is strong and successful.
1 Mom Can Get Baby Sick!
We are always worried about people coming around our newborns when they are not feeling well. We do not want to have to take care of a sick newborn and it breaks our heart. So, when mom gets sick it is thought that she should cease breastfeeding until she feels better. It just seems obvious that if mom is sick, the baby will get sick because the baby is closer to no one more than their breastfeeding mama.
This is another myth where the exact opposite is true. If mom is sick she should be encouraged to continue to feed her baby because her breastmilk has just become a super powered substance. She will pass on antibodies through her breastmilk to help prevent her baby from getting sick. Babies are not born with immune systems, it takes time for it to be built up. Until that time, the baby is vulnerable to all the colds and flus going around. It is up to mom and her breastmilk to protect the baby from viruses until the baby’s immune system strengthens. It can be hard to nurse when you are sick because you just don’t want to get out of bed, so have someone there to help you by bringing you the baby when you need to nurse.