August is National Breastfeeding Month, and in honor of sleep-deprived mamas everywhere (we see you and salute you!), here are some breastfeeding myths you should stop believing right now. The following was adapted from a post that originally appeared on milkmakers.com.
- Breastfeeding is painful for the first few weeks.
No, it should not be painful. If it is, it’s a sign that something isn’t right with baby’s latch. It can be painful feeding a baby when your breasts are ripped to shreds, though! Contact a lactation consultant ASAP so you can get your baby latched on correctly and save yourself a lot of agony!
- Engorgement is normal and is a sign that everything is going well.
Not quite. Some engorgement after birth or during weaning can be a sign that your body hasn’t caught up to the changes in demand for your nursling. But, often engorgement indicates latch issues or oversupply. A lactation consultant can help get you back on track.
- A baby should be on the breast for a certain amount of time.
Some babies like to take their time, and others prefer to get it done quickly. What’s important is that baby is gaining weight and having enough wet and soiled diapers per day. Women for centuries have successfully fed babies without Excel sheets and egg timers. You can, too!
- Pumping is a good way to know how much milk you have.
Often, moms don’t produce the same amount of milk for the pump as they do for their actual nursing baby. Don’t get discouraged by a low pumped milk supply. Again, if baby is gaining weight and wetting/soiling her diapers, there is no need to worry!
- Some babies are allergic to breastmilk.
They may be allergic to something you’re eating, but not to your milk itself. If your baby is gassy or cries a lot, it doesn’t mean he is allergic to your milk. It could just mean you ate a bean burrito.
- Nipples need to “toughen up” before breastfeeding.
Luckily, nipples are already perfectly designed to breastfeed. No need to take out the sandpaper before baby arrives. I know, yikes, right?
- You can’t have a glass of wine if you breastfeed.
Happily, drinking in moderation does not affect baby (out of the womb, of course)!
- Breastfeeding makes your breasts sag.
Nope! That’s just age. (Sorry).
- There is no reason to breastfeed beyond the first few months because your milk will turn to water.
False! Does anyone actually believe this? (We hope not).
- Breastfeeding will lead to bone loss.
Actually, just the opposite. In the long term, lactation may actually help reduce osteoporosis!
- If your baby doesn’t breastfeed in the first week, he probably never will.
Never say never. There may still be time! Contact a lactation consultant if you’re interested in re-lactating.
- If you have flat nipples, big nipples, large breasts, small breasts, or [insert adjective here] breasts, your baby won’t be able to latch and you won’t be able to breastfeed.
Breasts and nipples come in all shapes and sizes, and aesthetics have nothing to do with milk supply or breastfeeding success.