We Debunk Five Age-Old and Persistent Breastfeeding Myths That Don’t Seem to Go Away
In the last few decades, more and more parents and child experts have advocated a return to breastfeeding for infants, citing the various studies that have revealed its benefits. However, despite all the things we now know about breastfeeding, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding it. In this article, we will debunk some of the common myths and see the truth behind them.
Myth no. 1: Breastfeeding will come naturally
Indeed, breastfeeding is a natural part of the infant raising period. However, it does not necessarily mean that it will as easy as just letting your baby suckle on your nipples. At times, you will be encountering some difficulties, which can discourage you.
But don’t be. Keep in mind all the benefits you will be giving your child and it will make all that effort worth it. If you are having problems, you can consult a lactation specialist or a breastfeeding support group to find solutions.
Myth no. 2: Breastfeeding can be painful
This is a particular concern for first-time mothers who are worried about the discomfort. However, breastfeeding is not as painful as you might be led to believe. In fact, in most cases, you will only feel a light tingling sensation, which you will get used to as time goes by.
However, if you do feel pain and have cracked and or bleeding nipples, then it is likely that there is a problem. Have it checked by a specialist who will give you the needed treatment. You might also want to discontinue breastfeeding for some time, as it can also become uncomfortable to your baby.
Myth no. 3: You should be following a definite breastfeeding schedule
This one is a popular advice given by a lot of people and even some baby books. However, you need to remember that every child is different. Hence, your little one might not be able to fit into a particular schedule. Here, you have to trust your instinct to determine when he is actually hungry.
Also, note that there would be times that your child simply wants to have non-nutritive sucking. In this one, they would still be drinking more of your milk, but they will primarily be doing it for warmth and comfort.
Myth no. 4: Breastfeeding can cause your breasts to sag
This particular myth is more of a concern for mothers who want to keep their pre-pregnancy figures. However, contrary to what you might think, it is not breastfeeding itself that causes your breasts to sag. Rather, it is a natural part of pregnancy, with your breasts becoming larger as they fill with milk in preparation for childbirth.
During the first few months of breastfeeding, your breasts will become even more swollen as they produce more milk, a process referred to as engorgement. However, once you begin to establish a steady feeding routine for your baby, your breasts will begin to shrink in size, as the stored milk is consumed. Finally, as you start weaning your little one, they become softer and return to their pre-pregnancy size.
Myth no. 5: You shouldn’t nurse when sick
The justification for this particular myth is that you don’t want the disease you have transferring to your baby. However, you might be surprised to find out that the truth is actually the opposite of this one. In case you have colds or flu and still breastfeeds, the antibodies your body produces to fight the illness will be passed to your baby. This will actually give him some immunity to the disease.
Do note that this, of course, depends on the particular sickness you have. Also, if you are taking medications, it would be a good idea to first consult your doctor to determine if these could be passed to your baby and if there are potential side effects on him.
These are just some of the many myths surrounding breastfeeding. As you and your child go through this important stage, you will likely encounter more, which is why you should learn more about them.