Baby’s on the way and you’re trying to decide whether to breastfeed. Debunking these common breastfeeding myths, supplied by HealthyChildren.org and FitPregnancy, will help you make an informed decision.
Myth No. 1: You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding. Although it’s true that breastfeeding delays the return of a mother’s menstrual cycle, which would naturally extend the amount of time between pregnancies, breastfeeding is not a reliable form of contraception.
Myth No. 2: You need to toughen your nipples before breastfeeding. It is not clear exactly what one would do to toughen nipples, but it sounds uncomfortable and is unnecessary. Nipple toughening occurs naturally as a result of giving birth.
Myth No. 3: Small breasts don’t produce as much milk as large breasts. Human intuition often associates large breasts with large amounts of milk production. Intuition, in this instance, is wrong. Small breasts produce just as much milk as large breasts.
Myth No. 4: Breastfeeding ruins the shape of your breasts. Age, weight gain and gravity affect the shape of your breasts more than breastfeeding. Most women discover that their breasts return to pre-pregnancy shape and size after they stop nursing.
Myth No. 5: Breastfeeding mothers can only eat bland food. What goes into the mom eventually goes into the baby, but that doesn’t mean spicy food gives your baby indigestion or cabbage and broccoli lead to a gassy baby. Potentially upsetting elements in food are broken down during the digestive process and should not harm the baby.
Myth No. 6: You need to nurse every two hours. Although some babies nurse every two hours, a baby’s feeding schedule is individual. Some eat more. Some eat less. If you’re concerned that you’re baby might not be getting enough to eat, consult your pediatrician and monitor the baby’s weight.
Myth No. 7: You should stop breastfeeding before the baby’s first birthday. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding as the only form of nourishment for the first six months and breastfeeding for an additional six months after solid food is introduced. When to stop breastfeeding, however, is a personal decision, and many moms choose to continue breastfeeding after a year.
Myth No. 8: Giving your baby breast-pumped milk in a bottle will make it difficult to return to breastfeeding. Once the baby has mastered breastfeeding — most times in about six weeks — a baby usually can go between breastfeeding and bottle feeding without problems, especially if it’s limited to one bottle per day.