Common Breastfeeding Myths:
As a new mom, you will often find yourself being bombarded by heaps of (unsolicited) advice that can cause confusion and fear- the last thing a new mother needs! Luckily for you, YML did the extensive research FOR you, so you don’t have to lose even more sleep than you already do ?
Myth: Breast size determines your ability to effectively breastfeed:
Breast size does not influence or determine your body’s ability to produce milk for your baby. Breast size is determined by the amount of fibrous tissue as well as fatty tissue whilst milk production is hormonally stimulated by the brain and fluctuates with your baby’s needs or hormone levels in the body. Therefore, the more you breastfeed your baby, the more your body will continue producing milk . Other factors can influence milk production such as depression or stress but size is not a determining factor.
Myth: Nipple shape matters:
Certain nipple shapes (inverted or flat) can make breastfeeding somewhat trickier but NOT impossible. Breastfeeding can always be stimulated with suction devices or cosmetic surgery if needed.
Myth: Babies can be allergic to breast milk:
Babies cannot be allergic to breastmilk but they CAN be intolerant to foods that the mother eats such as dairy. If you see adverse reactions in your baby after consuming breastmilk, it is advised to keep a food diary for a few days to pick up on patterns and what you can avoid. Common irritants in breastmilk that stems from the mother’s diet can include high fat foods, dairy products, high amounts of caffeine and gluten.
Myth: You cannot breastfeed while you’re sick:
This is an extremely inaccurate belief! In fact, when you are sick, your milk contains antibodies to reduce your baby’s likelihood of contracting whatever you have. Your breast milk is still safe to drink, given you didn’t take any strong medications that was not approved by your doctor or lactation specialist.
Myth: Mastitis means you have to stop feeding:
Yet another misconception about halting feeds. Feeding more when you have mastitis can help milk flow and unclog the affected ducts, thus shifting inflammation. In fact, the more you reduce feedings from the affected breast, the more severe mastitis can get.
Myth: Night- time feedings aren’t as important:
Research indicates that Prolactin (hormone responsible for milk production) is at its highest levels during night-time. Therefore, night feedings are just as important, if not more, than day feedings.
Myth: Breastfeeding and holding your baby frequently will cause them to be spoilt:
Science has found that babies who are held and nursed on a frequent basis cry fewer hours a day. Furthermore, these babies were found to be more mature and adventurous as they grow older.
Myth: Breastfeeding keeps you from getting pregnant:
Perhaps the most popular myth (leading to surprise pregnancies). This is simply untrue. Although breastfeeding causes hormone release, that makes conception a bit less unlikely, it is not impossible. As soon as you start menstruating after giving birth, you can get pregnant. Try low hormone birth control forms such as the mini-pill.