New moms often research the pros and cons of breastfeeding before deciding how they’ll want to feed their babies. Although health experts advocate for the breast, it’s doesn’t always work out for all moms.
So many questions arise during and after a new mommy starts feeding that it can get confusing! Am I doing it right? What can I eat? What can I drink? Why does this hurt? One of the reasons that women stop nursing or choose not to is due to common fears and misconceptions about breastfeeding.
Although there are plenty of resources and supportive folks available that guide and answer pressing questions, we figured we would share some common myths about breastfeeding and pumping.
Keep Your Diet Bland
Been on a break from your chili or kimchi? Worried about spiciness, gassiness, or other baby belly woes? You don’t necessarily have to lay off your favorite foods while you’re breastfeeding, especially if you ate them when you were pregnant.
Believe it or not, but babies get accustomed to what they were getting in the womb and can have a preference for those same tastes. So if curry or garlic pasta was your thing and your baby’s stools are normal, go with it.
Pain is Normal
Whether the pain is in the entire breast or concentrated in the nipple, it is never normal. Many women experience discomfort when baby latches on, but this usually goes away after a few days. If you have pain in the breast or nipple beyond a few days, speak to a doctor as you may have an infection.
Engorgement is a Good Sign
Nope, it’s not. Let’s hop back to the topic of breast pain and fullness: engorgement. Just because your breasts are full of milk does not mean engorgement is healthy. Milk needs to be able to flow without becoming backed up. If the tissues become inflamed, your milk flow could stop and it can lead to infection. Apply ice packs or cabbage leaves to the breasts to relieve engorgement.
You Will Need to Supplement with Formula, Especially with Multiples
As long as you’re producing milk and your baby is latching on properly, supplementing with formula is not a requirement. That goes for moms of twins and other multiples too!
You Have to Wait for the Milk to Come Before You Start
Some mothers are under the impression that it will take up to a few days for their “milk to come in”, and until then, bottle feeding is necessary. What is true is that those first few days your baby is getting mostly colostrum, but milk production picks up during the period too. You’ll notice your breasts will be fuller after 2-3 days.
You’ll Sleep Less if You Breastfeed
If you have a newborn, you’ll sleep less – period. Many people assume that if you get up to nurse, your sleep suffers more than if you’re bottle-feeding.
But studies have found that there really isn’t any significant difference in sleep patterns for moms who nurse and those who use formula. Some experts even think breastfeeding moms fare better.
Your Baby Will Shun the Breast if Given the Bottle
Babies can develop a preference for one nipple over another, but that doesn’t mean they will prefer bottle nipples over breasts. If given two choices early on, they may have trouble sticking to one, but an all-out breast refusal is unlikely.
You Can’t Get Pregnant While Nursing
Though your hormones are still trying to adjust after having a baby, that does not mean you are in the clear when nursing. You can still ovulate whether your cycle is back on its regular schedule or not. Be careful! Breastfeeding does not equal automatic birth control.
Newborns Should Be on a Feeding Schedule
Some conventional wisdom dictates you should feed every 2-3 hours, but it really should be on demand. Those first few weeks are crucial in terms of baby gaining weight and getting nutrients.
Pumping Trouble Means Your Supply is Low
It’s normal for your body to regulate its own supply after about 5 to 6 weeks. Don’t fret if it seems like you are pumping less than in the beginning. After a few weeks, your body will adjust to what it is your baby needs and is used to.
Breastfeeding (and Pumping) Causes Sagging
This one has been heard far and wide, but it’s actually hormones that are responsible for breast changes. If you’re worried about sagging boobs, take your time weaning your little one so that your breasts can take their time getting back to “normal”.
Don’t forget to watch the video below for a quick debunking of certain breastfeeding myths. If you’re on the fence about what to do or how to do it, speak with a lactation specialist or your health care team to learn more about what’s best for you and your baby.
Which of these myths did you believe about nursing? Did you settle on one feeding option over the other? What did you like or dislike about breastfeeding?