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Breastfeeding isn’t as wide-spread as it should be, but we’re getting there. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information floating around. Here are some misconceptions I’ve heard numerous times before that should be put to rest.
1. MYTH: Rough up your nipples to prepare them for breastfeeding.
TRUTH: Seriously, don’t do this. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt, while this may have been common practice when our mother’s prepared to breastfeed, it’s not encouraged today. Some breast tenderness is expected during the first few days while you and baby get into the routine, but pain should not be part of the process. Baby your breasts and use softening oils and salves to keep skin supple, hydrated and healthy.
2. MYTH: Many moms don’t make enough milk.
TRUTH: The female body is incredible and can power to sustain our babies, exclusively through breastfeeding, for the first 6 months and in some cases up to a year. Unless you have an extraordinary circumstance or have experienced breast augmentation surgery, low milk production is usually caused by lack of stimulation. Meaning, mom isn’t breastfeeding enough to signal her body to produce more.
3. MYTH: Sick moms should stop breastfeeding.
TRUTH: You’re contagious before you even know you’re sick, so it’s highly unlikely that breastfeeding will pass on your illness. In fact, there’s evidence that the antibodies in breastmilk actually protect your child from catching the same strain. However, a mother must tend to her own basic needs in times of sickness; it’s important for mom to remain nourished and hydrated when ill. If you’re not tending to your own basic needs, you will be unable to provide for your baby and are likely to experience a temporarily reduction is supply. This is entirely normal; your supply will return, once you’re healthy.
4. MYTH: You have to stop breastfeeding at age X.
TRUTH: Breastmilk is safe and nutritious for anyone. There’s no need to stop at a certain point if you prefer to continue. The consistency will change depending on baby’s needs, so it will continue to benefit your child.
5. MYTH: Modern formula is the same nutritional quality of breastmilk.
TRUTH: Nope. Formula simply cannot replicate the qualities of mother’s milk. Formula will never be as perfect and nutritionally complete as the milk supplied by your own body. It lacks white blood cells, antiviral, and antibacterial agents. Plus, breastmilk changes to meet your child’s needs as he/she grows.
6. MYTH: Small breasts don’t make as much milk.
TRUTH: Breast size and milk production aren’t related. As long as you breastfeed on demand, there will be plenty of milk.
7. MYTH: Babies can’t nurse off moms with inverted or flat nipples.
TRUTH: If you’re like me, you probably thought all nipples were the same! As it turns out, nipples come in all shapes and sizes. As you prepare for breastfeeding, it’s important to know your nipple type. While a nipple type doesn’t dictate breastfeeding success, it might affect how you introduce your breast to your little one. Babies with inverted or flat nipples CAN breastfeed and once the milk starts flowing, your baby will know what to do.
8. MYTH: Night feedings aren’t important.
TRUTH: Babies need to be fed when their stomachs are empty, bottom line, regardless of the time. You also need to express milk right often to signal the continued need for milk production. In addition, milk contains its highest level of prolactin, at night, which helps sooth baby, mom, and regulate sleep.
9. MYTH: You have to be careful with what you eat and drink.
TRUTH: Most babies are fine with spicy foods and dairy, however, if they’re not you’ll know fairly quickly. Babies with sensitivities often exhibit periods of reflux after certain types of meals. In most cases, as long as you’re eating a balanced diet, there’s nothing to worry about. However, you should established healthy limits around alcohol and if you’re worried about your milk quality, you can always test it after pumping.
10. MYTH: Breastfeeding moms are just human pacifiers.
TRUTH: Yes, a mother’s breasts can be soothing to her child. Nursing can help a child relax and even drift off to sleep, because it’s proven to increase bonding, closeness, and lessen anxiety. A mother is much more than a pacifier and breastfeeding will NOT create an attachment disorder or unhealthy “mom” dependency. In fact, as your child grows, s/he will develop their own soothing techniques and at some point, your breast will no longer be required, I promise.
Was there anything you’ve heard about breastfeeding that just isn’t true?
Written by Melissa LaHann, Founder and CEO of Happy Fig, LLC
Like many moms before her, Melissa cradled her hungry, crying baby as she clumsily adjusted her bra and sat uncomfortably holding up her shirt. Before she knew it, her baby was squirming, her shirt was falling, and the nursing session was interrupted. She needed a better solution, so she created LatchPal, the first nursing clip of its kind.
LatchPal is a breastfeeding shirt clip that holds up a mother’s shirt during breastfeeding. It eliminates shirt re-positioning and feeding disruptions, and helps a mom nurse hands-free in comfort to maximize milk flow. LatchPal was designed with moms in mind. The multi-use solution only requires one hand to latch. It’s a must-have breastfeeding accessory and essential for post-partum moms, pumping moms, and nursing in public.
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