There are a TON of breastfeeding myths and misconceptions out there! Many of them scare a mom away from breastfeeding before even starting! I don’t want this to be the case with you mama! Breastfeeding is a beautiful and powerful thing! Below you will find my top misconceptions list a long with a couple of pictures from my breastfeeding journeys. Feel free to check out this link HERE where I share my BF holy grails and the link HERE where I discuss Breastfeeding 101.
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- Breastfeeding will be easy because it’s natural.
You see all these ads of mothers nursing and they have a sweet angelic smile as they breastfeed their babies and think it has to be the same for you right? Wrong. Just because breastfeeding is natural does not mean it is easy. Now am I saying all moms struggle? Absolutely not! Things may be difficult at first because hello! you are feeding a tiny human for the first time, but it will become easier as you find your groove.
- You need to use a cover because breastfeeding in public is inappropriate.
This is the not only a misconception, but it is also the dumbest thing I have ever heard! Breasts were made to breastfeed, not to be sexualized! How is feeding a hungry baby in public inappropriate? No mama. Do not let other people’s small minded words affect you. You are protected by law in the U.S and are free to breastfeed wherever you are, and you may do so- UNCOVERED. Now, if you are like me that would get super anxious at just the thought of breastfeeding in public and want to use a cover, then go for it! Do whatever is most comfortable for you and baby. Nursing shirts like this or versatile nursing covers like this may be worth checking out to put you more at ease if you are worried.
- Pain is normal when breastfeeding and you just have to suck it up.
I remember always hearing how breastfeeding is supposed to always hurt and that it is normal. Um. No. Breastfeeding should not hurt! Of course at the beginning, it may hurt just because you are not used to it. If breastfeeding hurts, it may also be an indication that baby is not latched properly. You can always ask a lactation consultant to assist and help you reposition your babe so that the pain goes away. Sometimes a nipple shield like this is also a great solution. I’m currently breastfeeding my second baby, and every time my period comes around, my breasts become so tender it hurts when I feed my little one. Latching is not the issue, it is just I’m super sensitive around that time of the month! It usually goes away after a couple of feedings.
- You have to be on a breastfeeding schedule.
Breastfeeding is not like formula feeding where you can usually follow a regular set schedule. You have to keep in mind that babies don’t just breastfeed when they are hungry. They nurse when they are thirsty, scared, not feeling well, need snuggles, or just want to be with mama! That makes it hard to get on a schedule, but also not impossible. Follow your baby’s lead and establish a routine that works for the both of you.
- You can’t breastfeed if you are working.
It saddens me that a lot of women I have talked to say they never nursed because they knew they’d be going back to work shortly after baby was born. You can still breastfeed if you are working mama! You can pump with an amazing pump like this when you are at work and breastfeed before and/or after work. Is it going to be easy? Maybe not completely, but trust me, it is worth it! If you are scared about your job not letting you have some time during the workday to pump, don’t be! By law, they are required to give you time AND space to pump. And no, the restroom is NOT a designated place to pump. I also have had moms tell me how it is too busy at their jobs to pump. I get it. I do, but mama, your baby should come first. Everything else can come in second!
6. You have to supplement with formula.
If you haven’t figured out how breastfeeding works, it is basically supply and demand. Your baby tells your body how much milk to make. Supplementing with formula is not always necessary! Every case is different, so please talk with a medical professional if you believe you need to start supplementing.
7. Small breast can’t produce enough milk.
I have always been very self-conscious about my tiny breasts, so of course I was so scared and thought I would not have enough milk for my babies. My ob/gyn quickly cleared that misconception up for me during one of my prenatal appointments. Breast size does not matter!
8. If you are sick, you can’t breastfeed.
Baby will not get sick if you are sick, quite the opposite actually! Your milk will contain antibodies that will reduce your baby’s risk of getting the bug! Of course if you are taking serious heavier medication, contact your doctor before feeding little one to find out if the meds are breastfeeding compatible.
9. You can’t drink alcohol if you breastfeed.
Your baby will not get drunk off the margarita you had during lunch with your girlfriends! Very little alcohol actually goes into the breast milk if any! Of course your weight, metabolism, the amount of alcohol you consume, etc are all factors you should consider, but pretty much if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. THIS La Leche League article does a wonderful job of explaining and goes more into detail.
10. Breastfeed too much and you will spoil the baby.
There is no such thing as spoiling a baby. Again, there is no such thing as spoiling a baby! Your baby cannot and will not be spoiled if you breastfeed it “too” much or hold it “too” much. Sometimes people are under the impression that if the baby is on the boob too much, they are either being spoiled, or they are not getting enough milk. Um. Hello! Cluster feeding is a thing!
11. The amount of milk you pump is the amount of milk baby gets when nursing.
A lot of times, moms get discouraged because when they pump, not a lot of milk comes out. They assume they are not making enough milk for baby. This is not true! Babies are much more effective than pumps when extracting milk. If you are still worried about how much milk your baby is consuming, you can always do a weighted feeding with a lactation consultant, with your pediatrician, or even at home!
12. You need to have a massive stash of frozen milk.
Many moms get discouraged because they simply cannot build a huge stash of frozen milk. Well, what if I told you that you didn’t need one? Unless you are going to be away from baby for a long time, you do not need a massive stash. Again, every breastfeeding journey is different, so what one mom needs in her fridge, is different than what another mom needs in hers. With my first baby, I just needed a couple of bottles in the fridge for the next couple of feedings and a couple of frozen bags as back up in the freezer to be at peace. With my second baby, I have 0 bottles in the fridge and 0 bags of frozen milk, because she simply refuses a bottle and thankfully, my supply has been able to keep up with her this entire year unlike with my son, where my supply would almost be non existent during my period, so I had to rely on the pumped milk.
13. Breastfeeding is a form of birth control.
I remember telling my grandma how I still had my period while I was breastfeeding and she was surprised. She mentioned how she had always been under the impression that you could not have your period while breastfeeding since breastfeeding was basically some type of birth control. What surprises me even more, is that women till this day, believe that myth! Breastfeeding is NOT a form of birth control. You can and will get pregnant unless you use a real form of birth control.
14. Once baby gets teeth, you have to wean them.
Babies get teeth at different times. My first didn’t get teeth till 8 months. My second cut her two bottom teeth at 4 months! Teeth are NOT an indication of when to wean your baby! You may be worried about baby biting you, but that is not the case. If you really pay attention to your baby’s latch, you will notice, teeth are not a factor!
15. Your sex life is over if you plan on breastfeeding.
Do not let breastfeeding discourage you from continuing your regular sex life. Of course things will be different, but with a couple modifications, you are free to still enjoy! There are some cases where women report that their sex drive is low while breastfeeding and that is completely normal! Make sure to keep your partner in the loop and communicate your wants and needs!
There is a lot that goes into breastfeeding. The more you learn about it, the better prepared you will be. I hope you found at least one useful take away from this list mama! Talk to you soon!