Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Given that breastfeeding is so unfamiliar to many of us, I have compiled a list of 10 common misunderstandings that I once believed myself.
1. Myth: It’s easy.
The Truth: Although breastfeeding is a natural process, a new mother and her infant must practice and learn this new skill together. It is very demanding and will become the center of a breastfeeding mother’s world.
2. Myth: It hurts.
The Truth: Breastfeeding can be painful in the beginning as mamma and baby both learn to master a proper latch. Pumping may also contribute to the pain at first as mamma finds the correct flange size. The soreness and pain of the early days quickly become distant memories. If you continue to experience discomfort or pain, seek help from a lactation consultant right away.
3. Myth: It’s only for nutrition.
The Truth: Despite its name, breastfeeding does much more than feed our babies. Breastfeeding also allows us to constantly comfort and connect with our children.
4. Myth: You have to follow a schedule.
The Truth: We all understand the concept of supply and demand… breastfeeding on demand is crucial. If you truly wish to nurse your child for the long term, you will have to offer the breast very frequently. You can never breastfeed too much or too often.
5. Myth: There is an expiration date.
The Truth: Breastfeeding beyond a year is not odd. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continuing until the child is at least 2 years old. If she pleases, a mother may continue to nurse until her child self weans, which may be between 4 and 7 years old or later.
6. Myth: Bigger breasts make more milk.
The Truth: breast size will not determine how much milk a woman can produce.
7. Myth: It ruins marriages.
The Truth: It is extremely challenging to balance a relationship with your partner after the baby's arrival. You will both be so exhausted and focused on your precious newborn baby instead of each other. The drop in hormones will also play a major role at this time in order to naturally avoid another pregnancy before your body is ready. You will get creative when you need to. As always, communication is key.
8. Myth: Pump and dump!
The Truth: A breastfeeding mother may enjoy an occasional glass of wine safely. It takes just as much time for alcohol to leave milk as it does the bloodstream (approximately 2-3 hours per 1 glass of beer or wine). Therefore, the only way to clear alcohol from mamma’s system is to give it time, NOT by pumping and dumping! The pump and dump routine should only be done to relieve pain if mamma is engorged because she hasn’t nursed in several hours.
9. Myth: It causes breasts to sag.
The Truth: Many other factors, such as aging, smoking, multiple pregnancies and menopause contribute to the reasons behind sagging breasts. Breastfeeding will not be the reason your breasts sag.
10. Myth: It’s weird.
The Truth: The only thing that’s weird is people thinking breastfeeding is weird! Breastfeeding is absolutely beautiful and is completely natural. I was once afraid of how it would feel being that breasts are so sexualized in our culture. As soon as my baby came, those feelings disappeared. I now appreciate the magical powers of my milk-making body and fully embrace my breasts for what they are made to do.
Trust your body and allow the magic to happen!
“6 Breastfeeding Problems in the First Week – Solved.” Medela, 30 Oct. 2017, www.medela.com/breastfeeding/mums-journey/problems-newborn.
Bonyata, Kelly. “Breastfeeding and Alcohol • KellyMom.com.” KellyMom.com, 29 Nov. 2019, kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/alcohol/.
Bonyata, Kelly. “Weaning: How Does It Happen? • KellyMom.com.” KellyMom.com, 14 Jan. 2018, kellymom.com/ages/weaning/considering-weaning/how_weaning_happens/.