4 Common Breastfeeding Myths Debunked

Myths about breastfeeding your baby

Photo Courtesy of Breastfeed Dublin

Setting the record straight

By: Jonathan Kistner
Follow me on Twitter @JonAshKis

Myth#1: You Must be an “Unfit Mother” If You Don't Nurse

In the United States there is quite a stigma around breastfeeding− you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. In my research, I’ve come to learn there is this shaming that occurs when you’re incapable of breastfeeding your child. Yet, there is a shaming going on when you're nursing in public?!

While breastfeeding provides noteworthy benefits for both you and your baby, if you decide not to or simply can’t, that doesn’t make you any less of a mother. Be confident about what and how you feed your baby. As a mother, you’re entitled to these choices; don’t let anyone shame you for them!

Myth #2: Pain is Part of the Process

Though it’s common to feel discomfort, breastfeeding shouldn’t be tortuous. According to experts, for decades we’ve been teaching new mothers positions which make breastfeeding even more “difficult and painful.” In the past, most positions “mimicked bottle feeding.” However, authorities on the subject are beginning to embrace a transition toward natural positions. This allows mothers to recline while their babies rest their weight against their mother’s body.

Myth#3: It Will Cause Your Breasts to Sag

This isn’t the case! Actually, droopy breasts are a result of pregnancy. Experts explain it like this: you gain weight throughout your pregnancy and experience hormonal changes. These factors cause your breasts to become heavier. The size is only temporary. When you start nursing, you may notice that your breasts are a bit swollen; this is called engorgement. Once you have established a feeding routine, they should decrease in size. Your breasts will return to their pre-pregnancy size after you wean the baby.

Myth#4: After Drinking Alcohol You Have to "Pump and Dump"

Admittedly, prior to my research, I thought this myth to be true. Well…myth busted!

Instead of throwing away valuable breast milk, sensibly time out your glass of wine or cocktail. Experts explain that after drinking, the alcohol will leave your milk at the same rate that it leaves your bloodstream. Simply wait it out.

In order to make sure your milk is good, you should “wait at least two and a half hours” before nursing again. There are also dip test strips you can purchase. They allow you to sample your milk to confirm it's clean. For those of you who like to plan ahead, consider pumping milk ahead of time. This will ensure you have untainted milk for your baby in case he becomes hungry while the alcohol is still in your system.

The information contained on this site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant.