Breastfeeding Misconceptions: Although there is a lot of awareness about the health benefits of breastfeeding for the baby as well as the mothers, there is an equal number of misconceptions associated with breastfeeding. Thanks to relatives, grandmothers, cousins, and aunties, who give loads of advice on what to do and what not to do when it comes to breastfeeding.
However, due to the lack of professional inputs, new moms are confused and fail to distinguish between misconceptions and reality.
This world breastfeeding week, let’s debunk some of the common breastfeeding misconceptions and shed light on why it is important to breastfeed.
August 1st – 7th is observed as World Breastfeeding Week every year with the aim to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies all over the world.
7 Common Breastfeeding Misconceptions Busted On World Breastfeeding Week!
Misconception 1: Your breasts will sag if you breastfeed.
Reality: This is one of the common misconceptions that prevent most mothers from breastfeeding. The truth is that the size of the breasts increase during pregnancy and it does add on to the pressure on the ligaments that support the stress. So whether you breastfeed or not, with age, weight, and post-pregnancy, sagging of breasts does happen.
Misconception 2: Breastfeeding acts as a birth control measure.
Reality: Few experts state that breastfeeding acts as natural contraception. It is known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM, which means not being able to menstruate when breastfeeding.
This is established on a straightforward concept that because when you breastfeed your child solely, you don’t really ovulate and therefore, particularly within the first 3 months of nursing, the probability of getting pregnant is lesser. However, this option is only 98% effective, so you may need to consult your gynecologist about other methods of contraception.
Misconception 3: Women with smaller breasts produce less breast milk.
Reality: This is totally wrong because the size of the breasts does not impact breast milk efficiency. In reality, milk production is defined by stimulating the mammary glands while feeding and correct child latching. In contrast, the size of the breast is defined by the concentration of the fatty tissue and not through the tissue existing in the milk ducts.
Misconception 4: Moms need to nurse the baby round the clock.
Reality: It’s not really. Just like adults, even babies have their own eating patterns, which can vary from 45 minutes to every 3 hours. The point here is not how often you should feed, but feed when your baby is hungry (on demand). Hence, it is not about feeding every 2 hours, but how much feed your baby needs.
Misconception 5: It doesn’t matter if you are on medication, you can breastfeed.
Reality: This is partially true as not all medications are safe to be consumed while breastfeeding. This is the reason, why on certain medicines it is written as not to be taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The active components of certain medications can be found in mother’s milk, although the concentration is comparatively less. If you have a doubt about the medicines, you are taking, it is wise to discuss with your gynecologist and know about the contraindications (if any).
Misconception 6: Mothers should not nurse if they have blocked ducts.
Reality: One of the key reasons for blocking ducts is the excessive accumulation of milk in the milk ducts, which can lead to blocked ducts. The best way to treat the condition is to nurse the baby as often as possible.
Breastfeeding can prevent blockage of the ducts and also prevent infections. Additionally, apply hot fomentation before nursing as it helps in relieving the pain. Also, do consult your gynecologist if you have an infection.
Misconception 7: Breastfeeding causes pain and sore nipples.
Reality: If your baby latches on to the breast properly while breastfeeding, then the possibility of breast pain and sore nipples is very low. Ask your doctor, nurse or lactation consultant about the right way to hold and position your baby to help your baby latch properly. The pain and discomfort caused due to an improper latch while nursing can be easily prevented.
Breast milk is undoubtedly good for the babies as it is loaded with all the essential nutrients needed for the growth and development as well as protect a baby from diseases and keep him/her healthy. Breastfeeding is considered to be beneficial for both mothers and kids. It is revealed that breastfeeding can help save around 8,00,000 lives every year, especially of those under six months.
Given the numerous health benefits of breastfeeding for both kids and mothers it is important to spread awareness about breastfeeding and debunk the common misconceptions. This World Breastfeeding Week, let’s join hands to do our bit to make new moms aware of the importance of breast milk for babies by sharing this article.