5 Breastfeeding Myths Smashed

Breastfeeding Myths
Image via Mindi Stavish

Did you know that August 1st to 7th is World Breastfeeding Week (WBW)? This year the theme of WBW is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers, which highlights breastfeeding peer counseling.  Breastfeeding Peer Counselors are trained through La Leche League. Most areas offer the state funded program, which provides specialized breastfeeding education and support to women and infants. Peer Counselors reach out to mothers and babies through home visits, telephone consultations, hospital visits, and support groups. They also assist participants with breast pump use and provide outreach to hospitals and physicians on breastfeeding services.

Whether you are a first time mom or mother of more than one child, breastfeeding can be very challenging.

If you are having a hard time breastfeeding your baby seeking out help is vital to a successful nursing journey. I believe every breastfeeding relationship has its ups and downs. It is the help you receive from professionals and other moms that will get you through the hard times.

Perhaps what was most surprising to me when I was a first-time mom was all the advice I received about breastfeeding. Some of the advice was flat out wrong and some very helpful. Here are just a few of the myths I heard or read about while pregnant:

1. Low Milk Supply

According to Dr. Jack Newman, author of Guide to Breastfeeding in Canada (revised edition, January 2003), and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers , most mothers produce enough milk for their baby. So why the worries about supply? A baby who is not gaining weight adequately typically is not latching correctly to consume an adequate amount of breastmilk. It is vital that a mother is shown what a correct latch looks and feels like on her baby's first day of life. Another cause of low milk supply is infrequent feedings.

2. Measuring Your Milk Production with a Breast Pump

Many people believe that you can determine how much milk a mom is producing by having her use a breast pump. This is not true. A baby who breastfeeds using a proper latch can express more milk than a mother can pump. Pumping only measures how much milk you can pump.

3. Pain While Breastfeeding is Normal

A mother should NOT be in pain while breastfeeding her baby. Breast tenderness during the first few days after birth is normal, but it should not persist. Any nipple pain that persists past the first 3-4 days of a baby's life is most likely due to a poor latch and should be assessed by an experienced professional, such as a lactation specialist.

4.Drink Milk to Make Milk

Another common myth is that a mother must drink milk products in order to make milk. This is far from the truth. A nursing mother should eat a varied diet of fruits, grains, proteins, and vegetables. Calcium is an important nutrient for a nursing mother, as well, but there are many non-dairy foods that contain calcium, including nuts, fish, seeds, and green vegetables.

5. Saggy Breasts

One of the most common myths about breastfeeding is that a woman's breasts will sag from breastfeeding. Plastic surgeon Brian Rinker studied the effects breastfeeding has on breast shape. The results of the study revealed no difference in breast sagging between women who breastfed and those who did not. The study did show that the main factors that caused breast sagging were smoking status, age, and number of pregnancies. Specifically, the negative effects on breast shape increase with each pregnancy.

What are some breastfeeding myths that people have told you?

What do you think?

5 Breastfeeding Myths Smashed

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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1 comment

  1. Profile photo of Lisa Lisa says:

    The saggy breasts one is only true if you use a pump because it has been proven that pumps are very hard on the muscles and tissues in the breasts and can cause stretching in those tissues.

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