There are some myths about breastfeeding which are totally untrue but somehow continue to scare mothers about their choice to breastfeed. Outlined below are the facts of the most common breastfeeding myths which should help to put any anxious mummy’s minds at ease!
Myth: Many women do not produce enough breastmilk.
Fact: Most women produce an over abundance of milk. The most common reason for a baby not getting enough milk is poor latch on. Ask a lactation consultant to show you the correct latch on technique.
Myth: It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.
Fact: Your breasts may be tender for the first few days but this should disappear after a few days and should never be so bad the mother cannot feed. Any nipple or breast pain is most likely caused by poor latch on or could be due to thrush if the pain is not going away.
Myth: There is no milk produced for the first 3 to 4 days.
Fact: There is not as much milk produced in the first few days and the baby must be latched on correctly in order to feed successfully.
Myth: A breastfed baby needs extra water during hot weather.
Fact: Unlike formula fed babies breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs. You can combat dehydration by nursing more frequently.
Myth: A mother should wash her nipples before each feed.
Fact: Unlike bottle feeding breastfeeding is completely hygienic and protects your baby against infection. There is no need to wash nipples before breastfeeding as it washes away oils which protect your nipples.
Myth: Breastmilk doesn’t contain enough iron for babies.
Fact: Breastmilk contains enough iron to sustain a baby for at least the first 6 months of their lives. Formula contains too much iron as it is not as easily digested as breastmilk.
Myth: Bottle feeding is easier than breastfeeding.
Fact: Breastfeeding is the easiest and most natural way to feed your baby. If it seems harder than bottle feeding then chances are it is due to a poor start. Speak to a lactation consultant who will be able to offer support if you’re having problems.
Myth: Breastfeeding ties the mother down.
Fact: If anything the opposite is true, as you can breastfeed your baby whenever and wherever you want. There is no need to worry about sterilising bottles.
Myth: There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting.
Fact: As long as your baby is gaining weight and producing enough dirty/wet nappies then your baby is getting enough! Learn to how to tell when your baby is drinking as opposed to sucking.
Myth: Formula and breast milk are practically the same.
Fact: Formula can never compete with breast milk. Formula milk contains no antibodies, no enzymes and no hormones. They contain far more substances that are potentially harmful to your baby such as lead, aluminum, and manganese. Breastfmilk changes constantly to suit your baby’s needs and is the perfect way to bond with your baby.
Myth: If the mother is ill she should stop breastfeeding.
Fact: If you are ill you should almost always continue to feed your baby as it will protect them from contracting any illness. By the time you are displaying any symptoms you have already been infectious for several days. Breastmilk contains antibodies which will protect your baby from becoming ill. If you need to take medication, remind your G.P. you are breastfeeding and they will prescribe you with a medicine that is compatible with breastfeeding.
Myth: You should never wake a sleeping baby.
Fact: Newborns can often sleep through feeds. Certain types of medications prescribed during labour can make a baby sleepy during the first few days so you may need to wake your baby to ensure they feed at least 8 times a day.