As much as we’d like to say that breastfeeding is pretty straightforward, it’s not. There’s a lot to learn about both yourself and your newborn.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common breastfeeding myths and brought forth the truth to ease your mind.
1. Myth: Breastfeeding is painful for everyone.
While there are circumstances that can lead to discomfort when breastfeeding, it certainly isn’t the case for everyone. During the first few days, most new moms feel tenderness.
But as you begin to navigate which positions work best and assure that your child is latching appropriately, the discomfort will begin to settle.
If you are experiencing ongoing pain, it may be time to get connected with a lactation consultant. They can show you proper techniques while providing much-needed support to have a successful breastfeeding journey.
2. Myth: Mothers should be away from their newborns so they can rest.
When you’re in the hospital, you’re given some time to recoup from giving birth. This prompts people to believe the newborn should be in a separate room from the mother so they can sleep.
But most medical professionals will encourage mothers to be with the child in the same room. This is so that parents can practice skin-to-skin contact starting within the first hour after giving birth.
Practicing this can be extremely beneficial to establish a connection with breastfeeding. Usually, this is because the baby’s reflexes are the strongest and are more able and willing to latch on.
3. Myth: If you don’t breastfeed immediately, you’ll have a much harder time later on.
While it’s recommended to begin breastfeeding within the first hour of your newborn’s life, it’s not always that simple. Your body is in a state of stress and exhaustion after the birthing process.
This can make it difficult to get started. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be unable to breastfeed. Your best bet is to keep trying. Get assistance from a lactation consultant or a nurse if you need additional help.
4. Myth: I’m going to be too depressed to breastfeed.
Postpartum depression as a new mom can be a very real experience. It impacts millions of women around the world. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen to you. And even if it does, you still are capable of meeting your breastfeeding goals.
If anything, bonding with your child can be incredibly helpful for the depression you experience. Remember that you don’t have to go through PPD alone. Seek outside help from a professional if your depression is impacting your daily life or breastfeeding journey.
5. Myth: Don’t breastfeed if you’re sick.
This myth is highly dependent on what kind of illness you have. Most illnesses don’t directly impact breast milk which means you can continue breastfeeding. It’s important during this time that you’re increasing how much water you drink, the rest you get, and the nutrition your body takes in.
If you’re still concerned, speak with your primary care physician or OBGYN. They’ll be able to give you a proper medical diagnosis and give you peace of mind as to whether or not you can continue to breastfeed.
6. Myth: I can’t take medication while breastfeeding.
This goes for medications as well. Always consult with your doctor and let them know what medications you’re taking. Some may be transferable to your child through breastmilk.
7. Myth: I won’t produce enough milk.
During the third trimester of your pregnancy, your body is already beginning to produce milk. In most cases, mothers can produce just the right amount of milk, sometimes in excess, due to their prolactin levels (the hormone that induces breast milk production).
However, breast milk is also affected by how often the baby is breastfeeding and how well they’re latched on. The more frequent and better the connection, the more milk your body will produce.
8. Myth: I won’t be able to wean if I breastfeed my child for more than a year.
There are mothers out there who breastfeed their children anywhere from two to seven years old, and in some cases even longer. As of now, there is no medical research stating that it’s more difficult to wean if you wait until a year to stop.
However, there is substantial evidence pointing to the great benefits of breastfeeding upwards of two years old for both the child and the mom.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends breastfeeding for at least the first six months of the child’s life. From there, how long you breastfeed is solely based on the decision of the mother and her baby.
These breastfeeding myths are only skimming the surface of some of the questionable information that is out there.
It’s important to always speak with a professional such as a doctor, nurse, or lactation consultant to address your specific questions. And always make sure to look for highly reputable resources when doing your research online.