When you’re pregnant or a new mother, you will hear all manner of stories about breastfeeding from your salonist or a long-lost auntie that can send even the strongest of personalities to a dark corner for solace.
While making breast milk is natural, breastfeeding does not come naturally for every mother and baby. It may need some skill and practice which is very fine.
With so much wisdom passed along for generations, some truth has been lost leading to the rise in so many myths surrounding breastfeeding that it can be hard for women to know what's true and what's not.
To help you sift fact from fiction, here are some common myths that women continue to hear all over the world that are totally false.
- Breastfeeding is painful
While some mothers may complain of discomfort or pain during the early stages of breastfeeding, it dissipates in no time once the nursing mother gets used to the stretching sensation that occurs when her baby latches on. While it is normal to experience some swelling and engorgement in the early weeks as milk comes, the nipples may crack, become sore or sensitive, your doctor may prescribe a cream or gel that will offer healing relief.
- Breastfeeding will sag your breasts
This scary thought by itself has kept many women from jumping into the motherhood bandwagon for fear of ruining their physical appearance. While it may ring true for some, it does not apply to all women. Contrary to popular belief that breastfeeding is the culprit, pregnancy is what changes the breasts and not breastfeeding.
‘’The breast often doubles in weight during pregnancy, whether or not you breastfeed,’’ explains Pamela Berens, M.D., a board-certified lactation consultant and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. ‘’Any increase puts extra stress on the ligaments that support the breasts, and more stress equals extra sagging.’’
According to fitpregnancy.com, your age, BMI and pre-pregnancy bra size all affect how likely your boobs are to droop. If you’re the few lucky ones with good genes this may be nothing to worry about.
- You can't breastfeed with implants
Another myth that continues to persist is mothers who have gone under the knife cannot breastfeed. Truth is, they can do it with no issue whatsoever because the surgeries often involve incisions on the underside of the breast that don't interfere with milk production or delivery.
- You can’t take medication
A quick read through any medication leaflet will always caution pregnant women and nursing moms to consult with their doctors before taking any meds but truth is many are fine. While some medications are verboten because they could pass through your breast milk to your baby, you have nothing tow worry. But it is always advisable to seek professional help once the mother falls I'll.
- You should stop breastfeeding once you get sick
Fortunately, this is not as serious as it sounds. Taking a hiatus from breastfeeding won't protect your baby from your ailment. By the time you feel ill, you've already exposed your baby to the infection and nursing while you're sick you pass along protective antibodies, helping your little guy stay healthy.
- You can’t east spicy foods
According to fitpregnancy.com by the time the foods you eat have been digested and used to make breast milk, the potentially upsetting elements have been broken down and shouldn't affect your baby at all. In other words, if you eat cabbage or broccoli, it's unlikely that it will make your baby gassy. And if you indulge in some spicy masala chips, your baby probably won't refuse to nurse. However, there are a few foods that do cross into breast milk and upset some babies' stomachs. Among them are dairy products, soy, peanuts, fish and shellfish.
- Small breasts won't produce enough milk
Truth is size doesn’t matter. According to Judith Lauwers, I.B.C.L.C., a spokeswoman for the International Lactation Consultant Association, the breast tissue you need to nurse a baby grows in response to pregnancy regardless of your breast size.
- No leak means no milk
Once your baby acquires a feeding routine of about 6–12 weeks of age, leaking usually stops. This may cause concern in mothers who may think the milk production has stopped but truth is, your breasts have simply learned how much milk to make and when to make it.