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May 11, 2015
Deciphering between what is myth and what is fact when you’re reading about breastfeeding information doesn’t have to be frustrating. Whether you’re a new mom or a seasoned veteran who is hearing about these things for the first time, there are things that can be scary when they concern nourishing your baby and you want to know what’s real. Before you rush to the doctor’s office in a panic, educate yourself about what is myth and what is not so you can ask the right questions.
Breastfeeding Myth #1: Breastfeeding hurts and your nipples will get tougher or you’ll get used to it.
A little bit of chafing, dry skin that results in cracking and bleeding, or a small amount of pain may happen but if it happens over and over, that’s not something you should ignore. If you’re uncomfortable [interlink to article ‘what can I do to prevent sore nipples] every time your baby feeds, seek some breastfeeding support and/or a lactation specialist for help.
Breastfeeding Myth #2: If your baby can’t feed as long as you want him to, he’s a “lazy eater” or there’s something wrong with him.
During the first few weeks of breastfeeding, there should not be a schedule. Some babies can handle long feeding times and some need to feed for shorter times. Adjust to when your baby is hungry and how he eats, feeding him several times a day for as long as he needs. Try feeding him as soon as he wakes up because that’s when babies are usually hungry in those first few weeks.
Breastfeeding Myth #3: If you can’t make enough milk, you can’t breastfeed.
If you feed or pump often in the first two weeks and feed your baby whenever he’s hungry, your body will most likely produce the milk it needs to and if you can’t do this, that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Breastfeeding takes commitment and there are many breastfeeding resources and breastfeeding products that will help you find the right way to stimulate flow if you’re not making enough milk. Most importantly, observe proper nutrition and hydrate often to keep up your strength and good health to give your body the best chance to keep up with your baby’s feeding needs.
Breastfeeding Myth #4: Your baby’s mouth may be too small or your nipples may be too large for him to latch on comfortably.
For centuries before modern breastfeeding products were made available to mothers and wet-nurses alike, women had to find ways to get their babies to latch on in order to give them the sustenance they needed to survive. There are ways to encourage him to latch on comfortably such as compressing the breast or changing positions (often with the aid of breastfeeding pillows) until the baby is feeding at a good rhythm. Listen to the sounds he makes and his movements in each position to see what is right for him.
Breastfeeding Myth #5: Tongue tie and problems concerning the frenulum stretching (or not stretching) have no effect on breastfeeding success.
Your baby may cry you when something is wrong but that doesn’t mean he won’t feel discomfort that he can’t express. If he has a lot of trouble latching on and you notice one of these issues even after changing positions and doing other things to encourage him to latch on, it’s time to talk to a doctor. You may also want to seek additional breastfeeding support from other mothers who have experienced dealing with these problems and find out what they did to get past it.
Go With Your Maternal Gut
At the end of the day, you’re the Mom and if you want to breastfeed but you’re afraid of these myths or others you may have heard, do some research, look at the potential benefits, and make decisions based on what feels right for you. Stand your ground when you make these choices and seek a second (or even third) opinion if you’re not comfortable with what your doctor and/or lactation specialist suggests.