Breastfeeding Myths

Sifting the breastfeeding myths from the breastfeeding facts, will help you get one step closer to a successful breastfeeding experience.

Be sure to get information and advice from a lactation consultant or counselor, not just anybody; most doctors and some pediatricians have very little insight and knowledge about breastfeeding.

Sometimes of these people that you would trust to know better, only have a very basic knowledge of breastfeeding, or none at all.

Many nurses, pediatricians and doctors have been known to spread some outrageous breastfeeding myths.

So don’t believe everything you hear; even if the advice comes from a granny or a mother.

There are so many opinions on breastfeeding; here we will uncover a few famous breastfeeding myths that could affect your breastfeeding relationship.

Common Breastfeeding Myths...

1. Myth ~ Very few mothers actually produce enough milk for their babies.

Truth ~ Even though there are some women who cannot produce milk, most of the time, a mother only perceives her milk production to be low. 

Many times, a new mom will think that she is not producing enough milk, but the truth is that during the first few days, you only produce colostrum. A newborn baby has a very small tummy, the size of a wallnut! He/she only needs a small amount of colostrum during the first few days of life.

pregnant mom playing with her child

2. Myth ~ It’s quite normal for breastfeeding to be painful.

Truth ~ Breastfeeding can cause some nipple and breast sensitivity in the first few days. If you are experiencing immense pain, it indicates that your baby is not latched on well.

3. Myth ~ Baby should drink from each breast for a certain amount of time, during each feeding.

Truth ~ A baby should be allowed to finish one breast, before being put on the other one. This is so that he/she can receive the substantial fatty hind milk that is released later in a feed. Doing this will decrease runny explosive stools and colic symptoms.

4. Myth ~ Breastfed babies need extra water.

Truth ~ Breastfed babies do not need any other supplements, breast milk contains everything that a baby needs.

5. Myth ~ You need to wash your nipples before every feed.

Truth ~ A mother does not need to wash her nipples before every feed, your nipples produce natural cleaning oils, and when you keep washing them, they may become dry and might crack.

6. Myth ~ If you pump, you will be able to see or calculate how much milk you are producing.

Truth ~ A pump cannot remove as much milk as a baby, and can also not stimulate the breasts like a baby can. Pumping cannot give an accurate estimate of how much milk you are producing.

7. Myth ~ Breast milk does not contain enough Iron.

Truth ~ Breast milk generally does contain enough iron, the only reason why formulas contain more iron, is because the Iron in breast milk is absorbed much easier than the Iron in Formulas. 

8. Myth ~ Breastfeeding is more effort and more time-consuming.

Truth ~ It depends on the individual, but most mothers who have breastfed and formula fed, have said that formula feeding involves more effort. When you formula feed, you have to get the bottles ready and clean them. Breast milk is always available and at the right temperature, with no cleaning needed afterward.

9. Myth ~ Formulas are just as good as breast milk.

Truth ~ Formula contains no antibodies to help fight infections, no hormones or enzymes, their protein and fats are very different from those found in breast milk. Read more about the immune factors found in breast milk.

10. Myth ~ Mom should stop breastfeeding if she becomes sick.

Truth ~ A mother should continue to breastfeed if she is sick, this will ensure that her baby receives the antibodies that protect him/her later on in life. Read more about breastfeeding while being sick.

11. Myth ~ Mom should stop breastfeeding if her baby is vomiting and has diarrhea.

Truth ~ No, the mother should continue to breastfeed. Breastfeeding will help her baby heal faster. Breast milk is the best medicine for a gut infection.

sleepy baby, sleeping baby

12. Myth ~ Mom must stop breastfeeding if she is on medication.

Truth ~ There are medications that should not be taken while breastfeeding, but most of the time there are safe alternatives.

Let your doctor know that you are breastfeeding and that you would like to continue breastfeeding. There are even safe antidepressant MEDs that can be taken, if nursing. 

13. Myth ~ Breastfeeding can make your breasts change shape and make them sag.

Truth ~ Pregnancy is what changes a person's breasts, not breastfeeding. Read more about breast changes after breastfeeding. 

14. Myth ~ If your breasts are small, you won't produce enough breast milk.

Truth ~ The size of your breasts do not determine your ability to produce milk. 

Read more about breastfeeding with small breasts.

15. Myth ~ A mother must wean her baby when he/she starts to teethe.

Truth ~ Mom can continue to breastfeed.

Read more about breastfeeding a biting baby.

Read more about teething remedies.

16. Myth ~ Mom must wean her baby if she falls pregnant again.

Truth ~ Many women continue to breastfeed right through their pregnancies and then tandem feed their babies.

Read more about breastfeeding while pregnant.

17. Myth ~ Breastfeeding after a c-section birth is impossible.

Truth ~ This is not true, read more here about breastfeeding after a c-section.

18. Myth ~ You cannot breastfeed if you are going to return to work.

Truth ~ You can continue to breastfeed, some mothers breastfeed in the evenings when they get home and pump during the day.

Read more about working and breastfeeding.

19. Myth ~ A mother should not breastfeed past one year, as the breast milk loses its nutritional value.

Truth ~ Your breast milk changes as your baby grows. It always contains all its protective properties and nutrients.

Read more about the benefits of extended breastfeeding.

baby and mom, mom breastfeeding, baby breastfeeding, breastfeeding problems

20. Myth ~ If you are upset, your milk will turn sour.

Truth ~ This is just an old wives tale.

21. Myth ~ If you breastfeed, you won't fall pregnant.

Truth ~ You can ovulate even before your periods show up, so this is not a 100% sure preventative measure.

22. Myth ~ Moms with breast implants or who have had other breast surgery done, cannot breastfeed.

Truth ~ There is still a chance that you can breastfeed after breast surgery.

Read more here about breastfeeding after breast surgery.

23. Myth ~ You need to drink cow's milk to produce breast milk.

Truth ~ Untrue, you do not need to drink cows milk at all. 

24. Myth ~ Mom should not allow comfort feeding.

Truth ~ There are many benefits to comfort feeding, skin to skin contact and kangaroo care

25. Myth ~ Some babies are allergic to breast milk.

Truth ~ It's not the breast milk, but something in the breast milk that the mother has consumed. Read more about allergies.

There is a very rare disease that can cause this, called galactosemia. 

26. Myth ~ You can not breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples.

Truth ~ Many mothers have proven this breastfeeding myth wrong.

Read more about breastfeeding with flat or inverted nipples.

27. Myth ~ You need to harden and prepare your nipples for breastfeeding.

Truth ~ This is one of the breastfeeding myths that can actually cause more harm than good. Your nipples do not need hardening; mothers that do harden their nipples, will find that their nipples are more prone to cracking. You can prepare your nipples by applying pure lanolin cream. 

28. Myth ~ You should not exercise while breastfeeding.

Truth ~ Even the most strenuous exercise will not have much effect on your breast milk.

Read more about exercise while breastfeeding.

29. Myth ~ Mixing breast milk and formula can harm your baby.

Truth ~ Combination feeding is often done and cannot harm a baby.

Read more about combination feeding here.

30. Myth ~ Mothers who smoke should not breastfeed.

Truth ~ Not true! Mothers who smoke should breastfeed, it will help protect their babies against the negative effects of the second hand cigarette smoke.

Read more about breastfeeding and smoking.

31. Myth ~ Babies with cleft lips and/or palates cannot breastfeed.

Truth ~ This is one of the definite breastfeeding myths. Some of these babies can learn to breastfeed. ANY amount of breast milk is valuable, even if given in a bottle or tube.

32. Myth ~ Breast milk will ruin your baby's teeth, especially if you breastfeed at night.

Truth ~ Human milk, by itself, helps protect against cavities! One experiment done, found that teeth became stronger when immersed in breastmilk!! Breastmilk also contains lactoferrin, a component that kills strep mutans (the bacteria that causes tooth decay).

Read more about breastfeeding and tooth decay here. 

33. Myth ~ Breast milk will ruin your baby's appetite, when he/she starts to eat solids. 

Truth ~ Even if this was true, should that stop you from breastfeeding? It is reccomended to breastfeed first and then offer other foods, this is because breast milk is more nutrient and vitamin rich than any other food substance you can offer your baby. (Not to mention all the immune boosting, gut protecting substances in breast milk) Some babies have been exclusively breastfed for two years with excellent results! 

Breastfeeding Myths Dispelled

Other pages on "breastfeeding problems" in connection with breastfeeding myths

- Breastfeeding pictures

- Breastfeeding videos

- Breastfeeding books

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