10 Breastfeeding Myths
August is National Breastfeeding Month and to celebrate, Upland Hills Health Birth Center is debunking breastfeeding myths!
Myth: Many women do not make enough breast milk.
The milk you make in the first few days is called colostrum or “liquid gold”! This milk is packed with all the nutrients your baby needs. It is small in volume, but enough to keep your newborn’s tiny tummy full. Nursing every time your baby is hungry will help to ensure your baby is getting enough and will also build your milk supply.
Most women make enough milk for their baby, but ultimately second guess this because they aren’t seeing the volume in a bottle. Instead of measuring the milk, we should focus on baby’s output of at least six wet diapers and four stools by day 5, a minimum of eight breastfeeding sessions in a 24 hour period, noticing a rhythmic suckling and swallowing pattern while at the breast, and back to birth weight by 10 to 14 days old.
Myth: Breastfeeding is painful.
While breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, it’s common for your breasts and nipples to feel sore and tender for a few days while your body adjusts to nursing. If you feel continued pain or discomfort with feedings, we encourage you to reach out to our lactation consultants who can help you and your baby with latching issues and breastfeeding positions.
Myth: If my baby cries, it probably means I’m not making enough milk.
Babies cry to communicate. While they may be hungry, babies also cry if they are too hot, too cold, have a dirty diaper, feel overstimulated, are tired or just want to be held. If your baby seems to be crying more than you think is normal or you feel your baby is not getting enough to eat, call your physician or lactation consultant.
Myth: Breastfeeding is hard work and takes too much time and energy.
Breastfeeding does take time and energy, but think of the break you get by not having to prepare formula, especially in the middle of the night! There is no water to boil, no bottles to clean and sterilize, and no formula to mix and get to the right temperature. When you breastfeed, you have breastmilk available in the right amount and at the right temperature whenever your baby is ready to eat.
Myth: Using formula won’t affect your milk supply.
Replacing a feeding at the breast with formula can impact your milk supply and may be a little harder on your baby’s tummy. For the first 4 to 6 weeks, feeding should be primarily be at the breast to build and protect your milk supply. If you need to skip a breastfeeding session, be sure you replace it with a pumping session. If you regularly supplement breastfeeding with formula, you can work with your lactation consultant to help build and protect your milk supply.
Myth: Giving a baby formula will help them sleep better.
Formula may cause your baby to sleep for longer periods of time, but this is because formula is harder to digest than breastmilk. Babies digest breastmilk much more easily and, because of this, they are ready to eat more often.
Breastfeeding can also reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 64 percent.
Myth: Breastfeeding makes it harder for Dad and other family members to bond with the baby.
New moms and their babies need everyone’s love and support, and there are many ways that support people can help. One way for family members to strengthen their bond with baby is to hold baby skin-to-skin. This powerful tough has so many benefits not only with mom, but with other special family members including keeping babies calm and comforted. Once breastfeeding is going well (around 4-6 weeks postpartum), many moms choose to pump their milk and let their partner give the baby a bottle occasionally.
Myth: Moms who breastfeed don’t get enough sleep.
Research shows that breastfeeding moms actually get more sleep! You don’t have to go to the kitchen to prepare a bottle. When you breastfeed, your milk is readily available at the right amount and temperature for your baby.
Myth: Breastfeeding in front of people is rude. No one else should see that.
There is absolutely no shame in feeding your hungry baby — ANYTIME, ANY PLACE. If you prefer, you can use a lightweight blanket as a cover. However, you don’t have to cover up. The law says you can breastfeed in public anywhere you are allowed to be, including restaurants and parks. Go for it, momma!
Myth: It’s not worth learning to breastfeed if you’re going back to work.
It takes planning, but breastfeeding is possible and beneficial for working moms. Most employers are legally required to provide moms with regular breaks and a private place to pump breastmilk. There are lifelong benefits to breastfeeding your baby through the first year (or longer). Remember, every ounce counts!