Breastfeeding is different for everyone, sometimes difficult, especially for new moms. When you are pregnant or a new breastfeeding mother, you come across various stories from experienced mothers. Although gathering information and learning about breastfeeding from experienced mothers is recommended. These stories are surrounded by many truths and sometimes misbeliefs that may affect you and make you think or plan otherwise.
What Are the Most Commonly Encountered Breastfeeding Myths?
1. Breastfeeding Is Easy for Moms:
Babies have been born with reflexes to look for mothers' breasts. However, for most breastfeeding mothers achieving successful breastfeeding is difficult. A good latch is most important for proper breast milk supply and having a pain-free breastfeeding experience for mothers. It usually takes time and practice for you and your baby to determine and adapt to the most comfortable position.
2. Breastfeeding Hurts and Sore Nipples Are Inescapable:
It is a common belief among most inexperienced mothers that it is normal for breastfeeding to hurt. Many mothers experience problems during the initial few days of breastfeeding. One can easily overcome these problems with appropriate training and the right support. Correcting and practicing proper latch can prevent the development of sore nipples. However, if a mother is facing various breastfeeding challenges, she may seek the help of a lactation counselor or breastfeeding specialist.
3. Cleaning Nipples Before Breastfeeding Your Baby:
Washing your nipples before breastfeeding is not essential as they contain good bacteria that can help the baby develop its immune system. Additionally, the babies are familiar with their mother's smell and sound, and the nipple produces some substance that the baby recognizes about their mother.
4. Separating Mother and Baby for the Mothers to Rest:
All lactation specialists and doctors encourage skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the newborn immediately after birth. Direct contact between the mother and the baby is essential to promote breastfeeding. The attachment should be placed within one hour of delivery and must be practiced frequently to achieve successful breastfeeding.
5. Breastfeeding Mother Should Eat Bland Food:
A breastfeeding mother needs nutritious food consisting of a balanced diet. Moms should not change their food preferences while breastfeeding. Babies are already exposed to their mothers’ food habits while they are in the womb. However, if a mother notices any reaction to some specific foods, it would be best to consult a specialist.
6. Exercise Can Alter Breast Milk Taste:
Exercise is beneficial for everyone, even for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. However, there is no evidence supporting that it can change the taste of your breast milk.
7. Stopping Breastfeeding if You Are Sick:
A mother can usually continue breastfeeding when they are sick. However, it would be best to seek immediate help from a doctor to get the appropriate treatment, rest, and eat and drink nicely in such situations. Some studies claim that the antibodies produced by the mother's body to fight the infection can get transferred to the baby, letting the baby develop its defense mechanism.
8. Many Mothers Cannot Produce Enough Milk:
Almost all mothers make the appropriate breast milk to feed their babies. Successful breastfeeding factors include proper latching techniques, breastfeeding frequency, and complete emptying of the breast milk from both breasts.
9. You Would Not Be Able to Achieve Successful Breastfeeding if You Do Not Start Breastfeeding Instantly After Birth:
It is easier for a mother to begin breastfeeding in the initial hours after delivery as the babies have strong reflexes. However, if you cannot latch your baby immediately, you can do it as soon as possible. You may seek the help of a skilled professional or a lactation specialist for the same.
10. Formula Milk Cannot Be Used if You Continue Breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding is recommended for up to six months. After that period, a mother may use formula milk occasionally while continuing to breastfeed. But, again, it would be best to consult a lactation specialist to plan a diet that works best for you and your baby.
11. It Is Difficult to Wean a Baby if Breastfeeding Is Continued Beyond Infancy:
There is no reliable evidence supporting that weaning could become hard if breastfeeding is not stopped in one year. Reports suggest that breastfeeding is beneficial for both mothers and children for up to two years. The decision to continue breastfeeding should be entirely dependent on the baby's and mother's desires.
12. Weaning Your Baby Is Important Before Going Back to Work:
Many mothers can easily manage breastfeeding even after going back to work. You may check your workplace policies, and if you have the right to breastfeed your baby during working hours, you may go home or ask your family members to bring your baby to you for breastfeeding. You may also express and store breast milk for a day before leaving for work.
13. Babies Become Clingy When Breastfed:
The nature of babies is irrespective of how they are fed, as they are all different from one another. Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for the growth and development of infants. It also enhances the bonding between the mother and the baby.
14. Medication Cannot Be Taken if You Are a Breastfeeding Mother:
You need to inform your doctor before taking any medicine when breastfeeding, as some drugs are contraindicated during the lactation period. It would be best to take the medication in consultation with your doctor.
Breastfeeding is complex, and most mothers require support and guidance from lactation specialists or experienced mothers. Staying healthy, eating, and drinking water well is vital for a breastfeeding mother. Mothers need extra calories and a balanced diet during their lactation period. Almost all mothers need practice and time to learn to breastfeed. Frequent skin-to-skin contact and putting your baby to the breast will help achieve flourishing breastfeeding.
Frequently Asked Questions