Just like pregnancy, even breastfeeding is surrounded by several myths. In this MomJunction article, we dispel 8 such myths that will make your breastfeeding experience a whole lot better.
Myth #1: Breastfeeding Is Easy
Many might have you believe that breastfeeding is easy. While it may come naturally to some women, that is not the case for all. Breastfeeding and the challenges that come with it are something most women struggle with, especially during the first few weeks after birth. And the wear and tear one’s body goes through during childbirth doesn’t make nursing any easier for new moms.
Myth #2: Skipping Feeds Won’t Affect Breast Milk Production
There could be several reasons to skip a feeding, the most common one being work commitment. But if you find yourself constantly missing your baby’s feeds, it can affect your milk supply. However, the good news is that you can do something about it. That’s where pumping comes in. Make sure you pump your breasts if and when you skip feeds to boost your milk supply (1).
Myth #3: It’s Safe To Take Medications While Breastfeeding
Any medication that you take while breastfeeding will pass into your breastmilk as well. People generally consider medications to be safe as most of these drugs transfer to your breast milk at low doses. Which generally doesn’t pose any threat to your baby. However, it is always recommended to consult a doctor to know which medications are safe while breastfeeding and at what doses (2).
Myth #4: Drinking While Breastfeeding Is OK!
Your friend might tell you that she had a few glasses of wine while breastfeeding and her child turned out just fine. But studies show that there is no amount of alcohol that is considered safe for a baby. A newborn cannot expel alcohol from their body at the same rate as adults. Exposure to alcohol can cause impaired motor skills and disruption in their sleep patterns. Hence it is best to steer clear of alcohol as long as you are breastfeeding (3).
Myth #5: Breast Size Matters In Milk Production
Breast milk production has nothing to do with how big or small your breasts are. Breast size depends upon the fatty tissue on each breast. Milk production, on the contrary, is depended on one’s glandular tissue (4). Breast milk production works on supply and demand, so make sure you feed the baby frequently and soon after birth.
Myth #6: Breastfeeding Will Make Your Baby Clingy
Breast milk is known as liquid gold for a reason. It is the best gift you can give your baby after birth. Breast milk has all the essential nutrients to keep your baby healthy and safe. It is recommended to exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months of their life and then supplement with other foods for 2 years or as long as the mother and child desires (5).
Myth #7: Pumping Will Reduce The Milk Production
On the contrary, pumping is a great way to boost your milk production if you have missed feedings or if your milk flow has started going down (6). You can buy either a manual pump or an electronic one. Pumping also allows others to pitch in during feedings so that mommy gets a good night’s rest.
Myth #8: Babies Should Be Fed From One Breast During Each Feeding
There is no rule that says babies should be fed from only one breast during each feeding. While some babies choose to feed only from one breast at a time, other babies might feed from both (7). Just make sure you feed from both breasts or alternate between each side during each feeding. If you find it hard to remember which breast you fed from last, sticking a band on your bra strap is a good way to keep track.
We hope we made the concept of breastfeeding a lot simpler for you by busting these myths. Which myth did you find the most shocking? Let us know in the comments.