Breastfeeding Myths Part 1

breastfeeding mythsThere is a lot pressure to breast feed a baby. However, for many it is a difficult and emotionally charged journey. Just because women have breasts, doesn’t mean that a baby will naturally latch and everything goes smoothly. Often, complications can arise that lead breastfeeding to become difficult and even overwhelming. Below are some breastfeeding myths explained.

Breastfeeding comes naturally

Breastfeeding, just like anything new, requires time, patience, practice, and problem solving. Babies are reflexively born looking for a mother’s breast. However, many mothers need support with positioning of baby and making sure the baby has a good latch. Just because a body is biologically predisposed to something, does not mean it will be easy. It can be frustrating, especially during this emotional time in a new family’s life.

Nipple pain is normal

Many women say they have experienced pain while breastfeeding. However, pain is not considered normal. Initially when breastfeeding there may be slight discomfort, pulling, or tugging, but it should be painless. If you find yourself anticipating pain, not wanting to breastfeed due to pain, or tensing up when your baby begins to nurse, ask for help.

You need to toughen nipples before breastfeeding

When you are pregnant your breasts undergo normal changes that get them ready for breastfeeding. One example is that the area around your nipples will thicken and oils will be produced in your areola. This assists with lubrication and protection. Oxytocin is released at the onset of breastfeeding. This makes it easier for your baby to latch onto your nipples. Some women do have difficulty with nipple size, structure, or sensitivity, though a lactation consultant can assist you with techniques that can help baby latch.

If breastfeeding is hard, it will only get harder

Some breastfeeding issues are manageable but even in a short amount of time, challenging ones may arise. These could include nipple pain, nipple breakdown, thrush, or a painful latch. Other problems, such as low milk supply or baby having difficulty latching and getting milk, may require a professional to provide assistance.

If you have small breasts you won’t produce enough milk

A woman’s ability to produce milk is not determined by breast size, which is fat and does not contribute to milk production. What does is the breast tissue, which produces milk.

You can’t get pregnant while you are breastfeeding

This is one of the most common breastfeeding myths. You can get pregnant at any time while breastfeeding if you are having sex. It is less likely during the first six months if your baby is nursing every 2-3 hours, nursing at night, or your period has not returned. However, it can happen, so do not rely on breastfeeding as a form of contraception.

If you do not breast feed, you are a bad mom

The most important of the breastfeeding MYTHS. A lot of moms choose not to breast feed or are unable to do so. What is important is that your baby is fed, whether breast, bottle, or a combination of both. Your baby will thrive on your love and affection, not the method by which they are fed.

If you have questions regarding breastfeeding or are experiencing complications, seek assistance right away. Alyssa Lundquist, a speech-language pathologist AND certified lactation counselor, can help with breastfeeding issues from both mom and baby’s perspective. Or click here for more breastfeeding information.