We’re sure you’ve experienced it: the waves of advice you get from everyone the moment you tell people you’re having a baby. Everyone from your hair stylist to your dry cleaner to the guy who stocks the produce at your supermarket will be eager to give you tips about how to navigate the rocky road of new parenting.
Among those bits of wisdom will likely be breastfeeding advice. Unfortunately, many myths about breastfeeding still exist. We’re going to address these common myths and give you accurate information to help you succeed
MYTH: You Won’t Produce Anything until the First Few Days after Birth
Your body actually begins producing colostrum during the second half of pregnancy. Colostrum is a thick fluid full of important antibodies, immunoglobulins and essential nutrients important for your baby the first few days. You will only produce small amounts of colostrum, which is perfect for your baby’s tiny stomach. Once your baby begins latching and suckling well, your body will produce more milk
MYTH: Breastfeeding Will Hurt
This is one of the most prominent myths – and one that causes a lot of undue stress. You’ll hear horror stories from women about their bloodied and bruised nipples. Will you experience tenderness? Absolutely. But it shouldn’t be severe or lasting. If your pain doesn’t resolve itself, contact your doctor or lactation consultant to diagnose any underlying issues.
Breast milk actually contains components that help heal your nipples. If you’re experiencing pain, massaging breast milk onto your nipples may give you some relief. Since breast engorgement can cause significant discomfort, make sure that you are familiar with some ways of relieving breast engorgement.
MYTH: Most Women Don’t Produce Enough Milk
Have no fear. Most women do (like over 98%!) produce an ample amount of milk for their babies. Why the misconception?
Many women overestimate how much milk their babies actually need, because they don’t realize just how small their baby’s stomachs are for the first few weeks. At one day old, their stomach is only the size of a cherry, at three days the size of a walnut, at one week the size of an apricot, and at one month the size of an egg!
Additionally, breastfeeding is slightly less quantifiable than bottle feeding because you aren’t able to gauge the measured amount of breast milk your baby is receiving at each nursing session. So, consider these things before worrying too much.
If you think you have a supply issue, consider some tried and true ways to increase your milk supply or talk to a lactation consultant, since the issue could be your baby’s latch rather than a problem with milk production.
MYTH: If Breasts Don’t Feel Full, There is Little Milk Supply
The truth is, your breasts don’t need to feel full to mean that they’re producing milk. Soft breasts are just as capable of nursing your baby as breasts that feel full.
Also keep in mind that after the first few weeks of nursing, your body regulates its supply according to your baby’s needs and the feeling of full breasts often disappears. Your breasts are never empty regardless of whether you just finished nursing five minutes ago or two hours ago.
MYTH: Small Breasts Won’t Produce Enough Milk
This is one of the oldest myths in the book! Contrary to popular opinion, large breasts do not equal more milk just as small breasts do not mean low supply.
Regardless of your breast size, the tissue that you need to nurse your baby grows as a result of pregnancy. This is known as functional tissue and is where the milk ducts reside, as opposed to the fatty tissue that is responsible for your breast size.
MYTH: Frequent Breastfeeding Will Spoil Your Baby
Many moms believe that frequent nursing will lead to a baby who is spoiled and can’t be put down. Rather than thinking of it as spoiling your baby, look at it as responding to your baby’s needs.
Breastfeeding is not only a source of food and nutrition. Babies also nurse for reasons like thirst, overstimulation and wanting physical contact. Comfort nursing on breasts is completely natural. Allowing your baby to nurse for comfort only helps you and your baby bond.
We promise that with enough education and support you will be able to successfully breastfeed your baby. Stick with it, get the help you need, take care of yourself and you will find that breastfeeding becomes easier as time goes on.