The 9 Biggest Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Breastfeeding

We interviewed certified lactation consultants and asked them: “What's the biggest mistake you see new moms make that sabotages their ability to reach their breastfeeding goals?”

9 IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) responded. Here’s what they said the BIGGEST breastfeeding mistakes are…

 
9 biggest breastfeeding mistakes new moms make

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MISTAKE #1: NOT BREASTFEEDING AT NIGHT

“One mistake I see with new parents is supplementing with the hope that their baby sleeps longer overnight.  Nighttime feedings are just as important as daytime feedings, if not more! Your body produces more prolactin (the hormone that promotes milk production) when you breastfeed at night. Those night feedings will help to keep up with milk production. I remind parents that human milk contains tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to make melatonin which helps induce and regulate sleep. “

-Ileana Berrios, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Latinas




MISTAKE #2: Not taking a prenatal breastfeeding class

“I believe a lack of prenatal education can sabotage new moms. There are so many factors with labor and delivery that can also trickle into initiating and maintaining breastfeeding. Knowledge empowers and boosts confidence before baby arrives. Many of the women I work with who advocate best for themselves and their babies took the time to take a prenatal breastfeeding class.”

-Holly Beck, IBCLC at The Holding Presence

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MISTAKE #3: doubting yourself

“The biggest mistake is the self-doubt many women experience when they’re tired or overwhelmed.  What I mean by self-doubt is that fear they are not feeding their baby enough, or that they don’t have enough milk.  So often mothers hear messages of failure… “I had to supplement right away,” “My milk wasn’t enough,” or “My baby needed more than breastmilk”.  While these situations do occur, most situations can be improved with support. I tell my mothers who express concern is to trust your body and ask for help.  Don’t let that little voice take over and take away what your breastfeeding goals may be. Talk with a lactation consultant, nurse, or doctor to address your concerns before giving up.  Along the same lines, I encourage all breastfeeding mothers to spread the POSITIVE aspects of breastfeeding.”

-Nicole Kekesi, RD, IBCLC at The Breastfeeding Resource Center at Virtua




MISTAKE #4: NOT FEEDING ON DEMAND

“A mistake I see is the belief that babies can be spoiled.  Babies are designed to be held all the time, kept skin to skin, breastfed frequently around the clock, and sleep in short stretches. These are features, not flaws. The baby that wants to be held and nurse all the time is a healthy, normal baby. Just hold the baby and feed on demand!”

-Danielle Downs Spradlin, IBCLC at Oasis Lactation Services




MISTAKE #5: NOT GETTING SKILLED HELP

“The biggest mistake I see moms making is trying to figure out breastfeeding on their own. Reaching out to moms groups, scrolling YouTube, and reading through blog posts isn’t going to get them to their breastfeeding goals. MOST moms struggle with breastfeeding and a lot of the advice online is wrong or outdated as best, and certainly can’t assess what’s really going on. If breastfeeding successfully is really important to a woman, the number one thing she can do to reach her breastfeeding goals is seek out a truly skilled IBCLC.”

-Jacqueline Kincer. IBCLC, CSOM at Holistic Lactation





MISTAKE #6: IGNORING YOUR PAIN

“If you have a painful latch and someone tells you that your latch "looks perfect", don't believe them.  Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt, and pain is indicative of a problem. Get a second opinion or as many opinions as it takes until you're pain free.  Don’t give up.”

-Mary Lynne Biener, IBCLC at The Breastfeeding Collective

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MISTAKE #7: WAITING TO SEEK HELP

“Mistakes are part of parenting, breastfeeding included. Parents are all just doing the best they can within a system that generally isn’t very supportive of breastfeeding. That said, if you’re struggling don’t wait to seek the help of a skilled lactation consultant.”

-Alex Thompson, IBCLC at The Breastfeeding Collective




MISTAKE #8: NOT TRUSTING YOUR BODY

“I don’t like to look at it as a mistake, but more a lack of confidence.  Many new moms think they have low milk supply. Yes, this can be true, but I find daily in my private practice that it is not the case.  Trust your body, don’t doubt yourself, and work closely with an IBCLC to be successful.”

-Barbara Ryan, IBCLC at Barbara Ryan IBCLC




MISTAKE #9: TAKING THE ADVICE OF THE WRONG PEOPLE

“If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, don’t wait to seek the help of a skilled lactation consultant. In my experience, women wait too long to seek help, don’t trust their instincts, and instead take the advice of well-intentioned but ill-informed friends, relatives or healthcare providers.”

-Laura Coulter, IBCLC at Chicago IBCLC



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