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8 Common Breastfeeding Myths – Busted!

7 August 2019  |  Admin

As soon as you become pregnant you will naturally receive a ton of advice – whether you ask for it or not! Especially, when it comes to breastfeeding. People like to pass on their wisdom, which has been passed down to them for many generations. However, not all of these tips are always based on actual facts! 

Thanks to modern science we are able to understand the process of lactation and breastfeeding a lot better than ever before. We know how and from what human milk is produced, we understand the different components of breastmilk, and we know of the many benefits breastfeeding has. In some cases, our knowledge has outgrown the good advice our mothers and grandmothers received. Outdated information and guidance are still hanging around though, making its way into many conversations to become modern breastfeeding myths.

In order to help you differentiate between helpful advice and old wives tales – we have busted some of the most common breastfeeding myths!

1. Breastfeeding Myth: Stay away from spicy food.

This is a very persistent myth and derives from the belief that strong flavours from spicy foods are passed on to your baby through your milk and cause irritation in their little tummies. However, many studies have shown that this is not the case. As a breastfeeding mother, you should eat a balanced diet (like everyone else) and are even encouraged to eat a variation of many different flavours. While the exact taste of your food is not present in your milk, your baby is exposed to different flavour profiles and it is believed that this exposure will lead to better eating habits when they grow up, according to renowned expert in the field Dr. Jack Newman.

2. Breastfeeding Myth: Extended breastfeeding will spoil your baby.

No! In fact, the opposite is true. When you are breastfeeding your little one for as long as you are both happy, you are laying the groundwork for a healthy understanding of relationships and boundaries. Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition and food, it is just as much about intimacy, comfort, and safety. Things that are vital for the development of babies and toddlers and certainly won’t spoil them.

3. Breastfeeding Myth: Breastfeeding has a negative impact on the bond between your Baby and his Dad

It is true that breastfeeding is probably one of the only aspects of parenting (other than labour & birth) that can’t really be shared between Mum and Dad. However, it is not the only method to form a bond to your newborn baby. There are so many other opportunities for Dads to get involved and bond with their little one. For example: bathing the baby, skin to skin cuddles, baby massage or keeping his baby close in a babycarrier or wrap.

4. Breastfeeding Myth: Breastfeeding is always painful.

At first, breastfeeding can sometimes hurt. This is partly due to getting used to the feeling in general, your baby perfecting their latch and your milk coming in, which makes your breasts feel more tender and sensitive for a few days. During that time many women get relief from using BreastAngels Silver Healing Cups. However, once you have found your feet, breastfeeding doesn’t hurt. If you experience sore nipples or prolonged pain while feeding your baby, you should talk to your GP or a lactation consultant.

5. Breastfeeding Myth: You can’t breastfeed if you are sick.

Again, the opposite is true! Instead of passing germs or viruses to your baby when breastfeeding while you are sick, your milk actually provides an extra amount of antibodies. As soon as you are sick or even just exposed to a virus, your milk will respond by producing specific antibodies in order to protect your baby from getting sick. So if you are feeling under the weather, you should make sure to feed as much and as often as you can! (Source: Dr Jack Newman)

6. Breastfeeding Myth: You can’t get pregnant when you are breastfeeding.

While exclusively breastfeeding your newborn baby can delay the return of your menstrual cycle after pregnancies, it is in no way a contraceptive. When you have sex, you can get pregnant - whether you are breastfeeding or not. Unless you are ready for another baby, you should talk to your GP about contraception.

7. Breastfeeding Myth: You will not be able to breastfeed your baby if you have small breasts.

Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to breastfeeding! Breasts are mainly made up of fatty tissue and functional breast tissue. While the fatty tissue dictates your cup size, it has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Once you are pregnant the functional tissue inside your breasts will start growing in order to produce enough milk for your baby after birth. (Source: Judith Lauwers I.B.C.L.C)

8. Breastfeeding Myth: You will have to use feeding rooms or a nursing cover when breastfeeding in public.

This is simply not true. If you are legally allowed to be in a place together with your little one, then you are legally allowed to breastfeed in that place. That is your legal right! Nobody can tell you to leave, cover up or feed in a separate area. And there are plenty of discrete ways to feed using a scarf or breastvest when you are out and about. It is important that as a breastfeeding mother, you can feed in whatever way feels most comfortable for you and your baby.

It takes a village!

Parenting is probably the one area in your life you will always receive tons of well-meant advice. Which is great in many ways, as you will be able to gain from other peoples experiences and learn from their wisdom. It is important to take it with a grain of salt though. We are all different and someone else’s truth might be your myth or vice versa.

Breastfeeding is a journey and most of us hit a roadblock somewhere along the line. In those moments good advice and support are invaluable, regardless if it comes from your GP, a lactation consultant, your own mother or a friend. After all, it is the support of each other that has carried many new mums and babies through the early stages of breastfeeding and parenthood in general - sometimes it does take a village!