From the moment a mom develops a visual “baby bump”, she will usually find herself on the receiving end of endless advice from friends, family, and well-meaning strangers. When it comes to breastfeeding, everyone seems to have some input. With all of the contradictory information coming in from various sources, it can be hard for a new mom to know what to believe. Although most advice givers only want to help, there are many breastfeeding myths floating around that can be detrimental to a new breastfeeding relationship. Below are 10 common breastfeeding myths that I’m sure most moms have heard at least a few of:
- Your breasts are too small to breastfeed – women with all size breasts are able to breastfeed just fine!
- If your baby is nursing more than every two hours, you don’t have enough milk – It is perfectly normal for your baby to breastfeed often during the first few months and beyond. Remember that breastfeeding is also comforting so your baby may nurse often during times of stress or after a tumble.
- You have to give baby a bottle when you are sick – The best thing that a mom can do when she is sick is to keep baby close and nurse as much as possible. By nursing your baby when you are sick you are making sure she is getting the antibodies that she needs to protect herself from getting sick as well.
- You have to give baby a bottle when you have had any alcohol – It is okay to have one or two drinks and still breastfeed.
- If your baby is still waking up at night he needs to eat solid foods- It is perfectly normal for babies to wake during the night to breastfeed; and babies do not need anything other than breast milk until at least 6 months of age. Try to enjoy these night nursing sessions and special nighttime cuddles with your baby. It goes so fast! Sleeping with your baby often makes nighttime parenting easier.
- Breastfeeding is purely instinct- Although breastfeeding is natural, it is also learned. If you run into problems please contact a Board Certified Lactation Consultant or call your local La Leche League Leader.
- You need to toughen up your nipples to prepare for breastfeeding – Babies who are latched correctly will nurse from the breast, not the nipple. Although some mothers experience mild tenderness during the early days, nursing should not be painful.
- You need to wean when your baby gets teeth – Simply not true. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months of age with continued breastfeeding (along with appropriate solid foods) for up to two years of age or beyond.
- Your baby needs to be on a schedule – Breastfeeding is a process of supply and demand and in order for your body to produce the right amount of milk for your little one, she needs to be able to eat when she is hungry.
- Your baby gets all of the benefits of breast milk in the first 3 months, there is no point in breastfeeding past that time – Your baby will continue to receive benefits from breastfeeding for as long as it is continued.
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