Breastfeeding myths and misconceptions debunked

Woman breastfeeding baby postpartum

A woman breastfeeding her baby. 

Photo credit: Photo | Pool

As a new mother, breastfeeding is already a daunting task. You are trying to figure out how to do it correctly, when to do it, and what is expected of it, and all of this comes with a new set of challenges you have never faced before.

With so much information, it is hard to know what is true and what is not. Here are common breastfeeding myths and misconceptions that are debunked.

Myth 1: Breastfeeding always hurts

This simply isn't true. While it's normal for your nipples to be sore for the first few days after starting breastfeeding, this usually goes away quickly.

If you're still suffering pain after a week or two, check that you're using a good nursing bra that gives your breasts plenty of support, and try using a lanolin cream to soothe your nipples. Also consult a lactation expert to make sure your baby is latched and positioned well.

Once these issues are resolved, most women find that breastfeeding is relatively pain-free. In fact, many women report feeling a sense of calm and relaxation while nursing their babies.

Myth 2: You produce little milk during the first days or weeks post-partum

This is actually the opposite of what happens. In the early days after childbirth, your body is working hard to produce colostrum, a nutrient-rich pre-milk that is perfect for your baby's needs.

After a few days, your milk will start to come in, and you will notice an increase in your output.

Myth 3: You should not breastfeed in public

There are laws that protect a woman's right to breastfeed in public, so you can feel confident and comfortable doing it wherever you are. You can make yourself more comfortable if you are feeling shy or self-conscious by wearing a nursing cover or scarf, choosing a quiet corner in a café or park, or practicing at home before going out in public. Whatever makes you feel more comfortable, go for it.

Myth 4: You need to drink lots of cow's milk to produce enough breast milk

No evidence backs up this information. In fact, some women who cannot drink cow's milk due to allergies or intolerance can still produce plenty of breast milk for their babies. The best thing you can do is to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Myth 5: You should eat plain foods while breastfeeding

There is no need to eat plain foods while breastfeeding, and in fact, you should try to eat a varied and balanced diet. A healthy diet will give you the energy you need to care for your baby, and it will also help improve your breast milk supply.

Myth 6: Breastfeeding is a birth control option

While breastfeeding can help delay your period's return, it is not a reliable form of birth control. If you want to avoid getting pregnant, you should use another method of contraception in addition to breastfeeding.

Myth 7: It is not safe to breastfeed when sick

It is perfectly safe to breastfeed when you are sick. Breast milk will help boost your baby's immune system and protect them from getting sick. Doctors also recommend prescriptions that are compatible with breastfeeding. However, infections such as HIV can be transmitted through breast milk. Therefore, if you are sick with one of these infections, consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

Myth 8: Baby formula is not safe

This is not true. Baby formula is a safe, nutritious option for babies, and there are many different types to choose from. If you are concerned about the ingredients in baby formula, organic and natural options are available. Whatever you decide, know that breast milk and baby formula are excellent choices for your baby.

Myth 9: Being unable to breastfeed makes you a bad mother

Breastfeeding is an important and natural way to bond with your baby and provide them with the nutrition they need. However, if you are unable to breastfeed for any reason, know that you are still a good mother and there are many other ways to care for your child. Baby formula is a safe and nutritious option; you can still provide your baby with everything they need to thrive.

In conclusion

Myths and false information can make breastfeeding seem like a daunting task, but it is truly a natural and beautiful experience. Do not let myths and misconceptions prevent you from giving it a try. If you have any concerns or questions, talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant. They will be able to give you the information and support you need to have a successful breastfeeding experience.