8 Breastfeeding Myths You Might Not Know
Breastfeeding myths are EVERYWHERE!
They spread like wildfire on the web.
They circulate in inner circles. (perhaps by your mother-in-law who never breastfed or your well-meaning-but-clueless friend)
Lactation consultants hear them ALL THE TIME as they meet with their clients.
IBCLCs share with you right now the BIGGEST breastfeeding myths they hear all the time that they’d like to set straight!
Here’s what they said…
Breastfeeding myth #1: My milk hasn’t come in yet
“Mama, you have milk even before baby is born!
By the end of your second trimester you’re already producing colostrum for your baby.
Colostrum isn’t a limited quantity either.
It’ll be there as your baby needs it until your hormones shift and your milk transitions toward mature milk.
Colostrum is such an important first milk for ALL babies.
Colostrum is power packed with more calories, protein, and powerful antibodies for your baby per ounce than mature milk.
I recommend changing our language from “My milk hasn’t come in yet” to “My milk hasn’t transitioned yet,” or “My milk transitioned on day ___.”
(referring to when it transitions from colostrum to mature milk)
-Ashley Barrett, IBCLC at Nuturing Bonds
Breastfeeding Myth #2: my colostrum isn’t enough for baby
“Babies are born with a SMALL stomach (about the size of a cherry) and are not yet prepared to consume high quantities of milk.
The amount of milk your breasts produce those first few days is just right!”
Ileana Berrios, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Latinas
Breastfeeding Myth #3: Breastfeeding will be painful
“Painful breastfeeding is NOT normal.
It might be “common”, but it’s not part of the normal physiological process of breastfeeding.
Painful breastfeeding is a vital sign that something dysfunctional is happening and that mom and baby need professional help.
If fixing the latch is not bringing relief, the baby’s anatomical structure should be checked out to look for an explanation as to why the painful latch/feeding is occurring.
A skilled IBCLC can help!”
Jacqueline Kincer, CSOM, IBCLC at Holistic Lactation
Breastfeeding Myth #4: Breastfeeding mothers get less sleep
“The honest truth is babies don’t sleep for long stretches of time, breastfed or not!
The first few weeks can be OVERWHELMING since newborns eat around the clock and a breastfeeding mother is the sole source of nutrition.
Once a mother’s supply is regulated, a breastfeeding mother saves time in preparation of bottles; there is no mixing, heating, and washing bottles!
Also when you’re breastfeeding your body releases hormones that help make you feel peaceful and relaxed (and fall asleep faster!)”
Nicole Kekesi RD, RLC, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Resource Center at Virtua
Breastfeeding Myth #5: Pumping will tell you how much milk you’re making.
“A pump is a poor way to measure milk supply.
A pump is a tool and not equivalent to your baby's ability to transfer milk from the breast.
No woman should be told to pump to see how much milk they’re making.
My advice if you want to see how much baby is transferring is to do weighted feedings with an appropriate scale.”
Allika Alce, IBCLC at Your Bold Birth
breastfeeding myth #6: Limit the amount of time you breastfeed
“Who are we to say when a baby (with their own appetite, needs and wants) will be finished feeding from a breast?
I discuss with my clients how we are all individuals, and we don't eat the same meals for the same length of time.
You should not remove a baby from a breast who is actively sucking and transferring milk. Allow baby to drink for as long as they wish!”
Bronwyn Balcomb, IBCLC at Mama Nature
breastfeeding myth #7: you need to drink a ton of water to make enough milk
Not so! Drink to thirst just as you normally would.
Beverley Rae, IBCLC at Breastfeeding Resources
breastfeeding myth #8: I have to give my baby 100% breast milk or switch entirely to formula
It’s still a good idea to give whatever breast milk you can provide for your baby! Whether it’s 50% formula and 50% breast milk, or even 75% formula, 25% breast milk… it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing."
Don't judge yourself and just do the best you can!
Jill Lancaster RN, BSN, IBCLC, at Lactivist Activist