7 Myths about Breastfeeding

Myth 1: Breastfeeding is painful

Fact:  While there can be discomfort while your body’s adjusting, the discomfort will go away before long. In the meantime, there are remedies available so there is no need to suffer! In the early weeks, swelling and engorgement can be a challenge as your milk comes in. In addition, nipples can become sensitive, cracked or sore. Lansinoh® HPA® Lanolin can help to soothe and protect and Soothies® by Lansinoh® Gel Pads can provide cooling, healing relief upon contact.

Myth 2: Expressed breastmilk can soothe and heal sore nipples

Fact: According to research, Lansinoh® HPA® Lanolin, combined with breastfeeding education, is more effective than expressed breastmilk in reducing nipple pain and promoting healthy skin.

Myth 3: Switching back and forth between breast and bottle is easy

Fact: Switching your baby between a bottle and breast may cause nipple preference or confusion, especially early on. It’s not a good idea to introduce artificial nipples before baby has had time to learn natural sucking motions. It’s important to nurse baby on demand and at the breast for the first 4-6 weeks so baby can teach your body how much milk to make.

What is the risk to introducing a bottle earlier than 4-6 weeks? Your baby could quickly learn to prefer bottle feeding to breastfeeding because she has not had enough time to learn the correct mouth movements and won’t have the patience to understand that milk is not supposed to just flow instantly. Breastfeeding can be hard work for baby, but it’s important work, and it’s best to let her learn to do it the right way, rather than offering shortcuts!

If you do have to introduce a bottle early, choose one that is designed specifically for breastfed babies. Look for a bottle that enables baby to use the same sucking motions he or she uses at the breast, and will help encourage baby to keep breastfeeding when you are together.

Myth 4: If a baby nurses every hour, it’s a sign that mom isn’t producing enough milk

Fact: This is a common misconception. In reality, only one-percent of women can’t physically produce enough breastmilk. The truth is that using interventions, like supplements, or skipping feedings is what causes your body to make less milk. Your body works on supply and demand, so nursing or pumping more actually increases your supply. 

It's absolutely normal for your baby to feed frequently in the beginning because their stomachs are so small at birth – about the size of a marble! Breastmilk is easier to digest than formula so breastfed babies need to fill their tiny bellies frequently. It is also common for babies to “cluster feed” (frequent nursing) at certain times of the day and along their breastfeeding journey because of a growth spurt, usually around six weeks and then three, six and nine months of age. Again, it’s not about your milk supply – it’s about letting baby get the nourishment he or she needs.

Myth 5: Breastfeeding mothers must use both breasts at each feeding

Fact: It is perfectly acceptable to use one breast per feeding if baby is allowed to nurse as long as she wants and is satisfied by one breast. The composition and consistency of breastmilk varies from the beginning to the end of a feeding. At the beginning of a feeding, the “foremilk” is hydrating. The thicker “hindmilk” at the end of the feeding is full of protein and fat that helps the baby grow. What’s really important is that the baby finishes one breast and gets the hindmilk. If only one breast is used at a feeding, make sure that the next feeding begins with the other breast to ensure both breasts keep producing plenty of milk.

Myth 6: Breastfeeding shortchanges partners from bonding with the baby

Fact: While breastfeeding is a special thing that mom will share with baby, there are plenty of non-feeding activities available for the other parent to use as their own private and intimate moments. If you are responsible for breastfeeding, put your partner in charge of bath time, or diaper changing, or bed time. In many cases, supporting the breastfeeding mom is crucial to mom’s and baby’s breastfeeding success.

Myth 7: Expectant mothers should rub rough terry cloths on their nipples to "toughen them up"

Fact: No way! Be good to your nipples! “Toughening” nipples can cause soreness on already tender, expanded skin. Quite the opposite, nipples need to remain supple. Lansinoh® HPA® Lanolin can be applied in the third trimester and before delivery to help keep nipples soft and supple.

Quiz

Busted! Can you tell fact from fiction in these common breastfeeding myths?