Breastfeeding Myths

1: Many women do not produce enough milk.

Not true. The vast majority of women produced more than enough milk to feed their babies. In my experience indeed an over abundance of milk is almost more common. Most babies that gain too slowly or lose weight do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not transfer the milk that the mother has. The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available if that he or she is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it's so important that the mother be showing on the very first day how to Latch their baby on properly by somebody who knows what they are doing.


2: It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.

Not true. Though some Tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation that lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads feeding her baby. Any pain that is more than mild if abnormal and is almost always due to poor latch. Any nipple pain that is not getting better by day 3 or 4 should not be ignored. Likewise any new onset of pain when things have been going well for a while maybe due to something such as a yeast infection or mastitis. Limiting feeding time certainly doesn't prevent soreness taking the baby off the breast for the nipples to heal should be a last Resort only. In either of these scenarios we would always recommend lactation consultant come to review your baby his her mouth and your breasts anatomy as soon as these issues arise.


3: There is not enough milk during the first three or 4 days after birth.

Not true. It often seems like that because the baby may not be latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk that is available. Milk ordinarily does not come in until about day 3 post deliver colostrum is the first milk that will be present after baby is born and is more than sufficient to satiate your baby until your milk does come in. Colostrum is high in fats proteins and antibodies and is more than sufficient for your baby's needs remembering that your baby's tummy is only the size of a marble when they're first born.


4: A baby should be on the breast every "x" minutes on each side.

Not true .Although one must be careful to make the distinction between nutritive and non-nutritive feeding. As a lactation consultant, I always recommend the mother's offer the baby both breasts even if that means waking the baby to change their nappy if they falling asleep at the breast on the first side particularly in the early days when you were trying to establish a good breast milk supply and babies weight is doing well. I do however not recommend swapping after x amount of time I always recommend allowing baby to feed on what side for as long as they wish until they come off the breast themselves.


5: Breastfed babies need extra water in hot weather:

Not true. Breast milk contains all of the babys needs bodies are incredible and will adjust to the requirements of the baby depending on the weather and temperatures, whether baby is sick and their age and calorie requirements.


6: Breastfeeding babies need extra vitamin D

Not true. Everyone needs vitamin D. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D particularly in countries where there is more cloud cover are often deficient in vitamin D. Formula has added at the factory but the baby is in fact born with the Liver full of vitamin D ultraviolet light exposure is not recommended for the baby the baby does not need an awful lot and can get this through mothers breast milk. If mum is low in vitamin D and she is supplementing herself the baby will get this through the breast milk vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is stored in the body. If this is something that you are concerned about if you live in a very sunlight deficient country perhaps consider getting your own vitamin d levels checked.


7: Mother’s should wash their nipples each time before feeding the baby.

Not true. Formula feeding requires careful attention to cleanliness because formula not only does it not protect the baby against infection but it's actually a great breeding ground for bacteria and can also be easily contaminated. Breast milk on the other hand protects the baby against infection each feeling it unnecessarily complicates breastfeeding and is only washing away protective oil from the nipple.


8: Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has.

Not true: how much milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother's stress level. As a rule of thumb the baby who nurses well can get much more milk than his mother can pump. The only thing that pumping will tell you is how much volume you can pump.


9: Breast milk does not contain enough iron for your baby's needs.

Not true: Breast milk contains just enough iron for your baby's needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breast milk to last at least the first 6 months. Factory made Formula contain too much iron which is necessary to ensure that the baby absorbs enough iron from the formula this is because the ironing for me that is man-made and is often poorly absorbed absorbed if the baby poops out most of it.


10: It is easier to bottle-feed then breastfeed.

Not true: Research found the breast-feeding mothers actually get an extra hour more sleep than those who are formula or bottle feeding. If you or a friend are feeling that bottle feeding might be easier than breastfeeding perhaps it is just more support that is required. Breastfeeding can be made more difficult because women often do not receive the help that they should be getting to get started properly. A poor start with breastfeeding can indeed make it much more difficult but then the poor start can be overcome breastfeeding is often more difficult at first but usually becomes easier later just imagine, no sterilising no bottle washing no pumping no getting up in the middle of the night to go to the kitchen.


11: Breastfeeding ties the Mother Down.

This one is tricky but it depends on how you look at it. Well yes a baby cannot be nursed by anybody other than the mother a baby can be nursed anywhere, at any time, and thus breastfeeding can be liberating .No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterilising equipment. No need to worry about how your baby is because he is with you.


12: But how do I know how much breast milk the baby is getting.

Well yes there is no easy way to measure how much milk your baby is getting this does not mean that you cannot know if your baby is getting enough the best way to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding with an open mouth sucking and swallowing and more importantly baby is awake and alert between feeds and is having plenty of wet and dirty nappies.


13: Modern formulas are almost the same as breast milk.

Not true! The same claim was made in the 1900s and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advanced however fundamentally formulas are in exact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breast milk is formula contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminium, manganese, cadmium, lead and iron than breastmilk does. They contain significantly more protein than breast milk.


The fundamental composition of fats and proteins is very different than those in breast milk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed or from day 1 to day 30, nor do they vary from woman to woman or baby to baby. Your breast milk is made as required to suit you a baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby and thus no baby. Formula is fantastic at making babies grow well, but there is much more to breastfeeding than calories.


14: If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! With very few exceptions usually associated with the antibiotics that the mother is being treated with the mother should continue to breastfeed which will further protect her baby. By the time the mother has had a fever or cough vomiting diarrhoea rash etc she has already given the baby been section since she has been infectious for several days before she even knew she was sick. In this instance your baby's best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding since she is now creating antibodies which can protect both herself and the baby against future infections of the same kind. If the baby does get sick he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding. Often it is the baby that gives the mother the sickness but the baby did not show signs of illness since he was breastfeeding. Furthermore breast infections such as mastitis or an infected abscess although painful are not necessarily reasons to stop breastfeeding in this instance I would always recommend getting advice from your local ibclc lactation consultant to ascertain the cause of the abscess or infection as well as attending your local GP to be commenced on the appropriate antibiotics if required.


15: If the baby has diarrhoea or vomiting the mother should stop breastfeeding.

Not true! The best medicine for a baby's gut infection is breastfeeding. Stop other foods for a short time but continue breastfeeding. Breast milk is the only fluid your baby requires when he or she has diarrhoea and no vomiting except under exceptional circumstances. There is no need to push the use of oral

rehydration solutions since they are mainly pushed by formula manufacturers just to make more money. Continue to breastfeed and then milk will contain all the the baby requires until this bout of sickness passes.


16: If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed.

Not true! There are very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely while she is breastfeeding. A very small amount of most medicines appear in the milk but usually in such small quantities that there is no concern. If a medicine is truly of concern, there are usually equally effective alternative medicines that are breastfeeding safe. It is always necessary to weigh up the risks of artificially feeding your baby when weighing in if breastfeeding should be continued.

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