Contrary to popular belief, the responsibilities of motherhood does not necessarily come naturally.
Breastfeeding can be one of those things, and it doesn't help when you're getting the incorrect information – albeit from well-meaning sources.
Here we separate fact from myth to make the breastfeeding journey as smooth as possible.
- Also see: Everything about breastfeeding
Breastfeeding: Myths vs. Facts
Mom's milk becomes less nutritious after the first year.
Mom’s milk is nutritious way beyond the first year. At some point your little one will need nutrition from other sources, but your milk remains avaluable contribution to his diet.
After several months the immunities in mom's milk decline.
As long as feeding continues, immunity stays the same and even increases as baby approaches weaning. Studies reveal that breastfed children have fewer illnesses than formula-fed babies have.
Prolonged breastfeeding can make a child excessively dependent and cause psychological problems.
Studies show that children who breastfeed past a year have remarkable social integration qualities. The American Academy of Pediatrics states “there is no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer”.
Nipples must be toughened to prepare for breastfeeding.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy are preparation enough. Creams, rubbing or scrubbing should be avoided as it will only hurt you and make breastfeeding difficult.
Many women don't produce enough milk.
Not true. An overabundance of milk is the norm.
In hot weather a breastfeeding baby will need extra water.
Breastmilk contains all the water your baby needs.
You have to wash your nipples each time before feeding.
Breastmilk protects your baby against infection. Washing your nipples before each feeding will wash away protective oils from the nipple.
Breastmilk doesn't have sufficient iron.
Breastmilk has enough iron to satisfy your baby’s needs for the first six months, after which he’ll be introduced to solids as well. Iron from breastmilk is also far better absorbed than other sources of iron.
It's easier to bottle feed a baby than to breastfeed.
This isn’t true and the myth has arisen because breastfeeding moms don’t get the help they need early on to latch their baby. And technically, when you consider the rigmarole of formula preparation, it’s much easier.
- Also see: Breastfeeding blues
Breastfeeding: true or false?
I have small boobs, so I can’t breastfeed – False
Breast size has nothing to do with whether you’re able to breastfeed successfully. The size of your breasts normally relates to how much fatty tissue you have – but this has no bearing on breastfeeding. The amount of milk you produce from your milk ducts is usually determined by how much your baby nurses – the more he nurses, the more milk you’re likely to produce.
I had a breast augmentation so I can’t breastfeed – True and false
To an extent, this depends on how your breast augmentation was done. Most approaches are compatible with breastfeeding, particularly if the incision was done from the armpit or under the breast, but a “smile” incision may cause more problems with breastfeeding. Your nipples may also be more, or less, sensitive because of the surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options.
Breastfeeding only has benefits for my baby – False
The skin-to-skin touching and eye contact that you and your baby/babies share during breastfeeding help you to bond with them, while the release of the hormone oxytocin helps your uterus contract back to its pre-pregnancy size. Breastfeeding also reduces your chance of breast and ovarian cancer and may also lower your risk of osteoporosis, because your body absorbs calcium more efficiently when you’re breastfeeding.
What's the biggest myth you've encountered about breastfeeding not listed here? What are/were your struggles and what was the best advice you got? Tell us by emailing to email@example.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.
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