The Truth Behind 7 Common Breastfeeding Misconceptions
If your milk doesn’t come in at the hospital, you need to supplement so that your baby will get enough milk.
Newborn's stomachs are tiny. The average size of a newborn’s stomach on day one is only the size of a hazelnut. Because of this, your baby needs only a small amount of milk every two hours. Many women panic because their breasts don’t feel full and they falsely believe that formula is needed for supplementation. But your body has been producing a substance called colostrum since around four months. This is milk! This nutrient rich “liquid gold” is more than enough to fill up your baby’s tiny tummy.
Keep feeding every two hours and in several days your milk production will surge. Jan Barger, Lactation Consultant, shares that first-time moms will notice an increase in milk production three to four days postpartum while mother’s of two or more babies will often see milk “coming in” around day two or three. Remember that every time you supplement you are losing out on an opportunity to stimulate your breasts which in turn decreases milk production.
You can’t drink while breastfeeding.
While you do need to factor in time between nursing sessions and limit the amount of alcohol you drink — the American Academy of Pediatrics dispels the notion that you must give up drinking altogether when you are breastfeeding a child.
“Ingestion of alcoholic beverages should be minimized and limited to an occasional intake but no more than 0.5 g alcohol per kg body weight, which for a 60 kg (130 pound) mother is approximately 2 oz liquor, 8 oz wine, or 2 beers. Nursing should take place 2 hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration in the ingested milk.”
Once your breast milk supply dips there is no way to get milk production back up.
Dips in breast milk can be course corrected in most cases. While long-term breastfeeding habits set your supply, many women experience dips in milk supply after being sick, during their child’s growth spurts or once returning to work. Here our a few tips for bouncing back from a supply dip:
- First and foremost, increase nursing or pumping sessions. The more milk you remove the more milk your body will make. Remember that a child can more effectively empty the breast than a pump, so chose to nurse at the breast when possible.
- Try a lactation supplement such as Nourisher. Milkful Nursing Bars are made with wholesome, milk-boosting ingredients that help moms maintain a healthy milk supply.
- Drink plenty of water, and meet your daily caloric goals.
- Do a round of “power pumping” to stimulate milk production.
- Get skin to skin as much as possible so that your body will produce prolactin (the hormone that causes you to produce milk.)
You either have to exclusively breastfeed or exclusively formula feed.
False! Many mothers combine breastfeeding with supplementation or some form of formula feeding. Now keep in mind that every time you choose formula over nursing, your body loses out on a nursing session. Since breast milk is made on a supply and demand basis, this could have a harmful affect on your breast milk supply. But, every ounce of breastmilk is a positive for your child. Never feel like you have to entirely switch over to formula if you (and your body) can sustain partial breastfeeding.
If you have had a previously bad experience, your second breastfeeding experience will be the same.
Painful latch? Tricky tongue tie? Low milk supply? Mothers who have previously had a bad experience breastfeeding often feel worried that their second child will also present a challenge. But more than often, this isn’t the case. Similar to pregnancies (and parenting in general!) no two experiences are the same. In fact, mothers who have been through a previous pregnancy are often more educated and more prepared for a successful breastfeeding journey.
One way to combat your breastfeeding fears is to recruit a Lactation Consultant right away. Explain what went wrong in your previous breastfeeding experience and she or he can help you work through those issues right in the hospital.
It’s impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding.
If you are having sex, you can get pregnant whether you are breastfeeding or not. This myth has been widely circulated because breastfeeding does change your body’s fertility and ovulation. But breastfeeding is not a reliable form of contraceptive (especially for mothers of older babies who frequently go longer than 4 hours between feeds.)
“Many women are under the impression that breastfeeding will protect them from getting pregnant again but this isn't always the case,” says women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D. “A woman can ovulate while she is breastfeeding, but sometimes it's difficult to detect, especially if she doesn't have a normal period.”
Work with your doctor to pick a contraceptive that does not limit your breast milk supply. The Cleveland Clinic outlines whether or not various contraceptives are safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Eating peanuts or allergenic foods while breastfeeding will help your child prevent food allergies.
Unfortunately, there is not enough conclusive evidence to support that eating peanut or allergenic foods while breastfeeding will prevent food allergies. However, there is new research that shows that introducing allergenic foods to your baby early and often will help them reduce the risk of developing food allergies.
“Currently, scientists do not believe that specific maternal diets during pregnancy or breastfeeding can be protective against food allergy, but this area is still being studied,” explains Board Certified Allergist Katie Marks-Cogan, M.D. “So, current national guidelines still recommend that early and sustained allergen introduction be part of a baby’s feeding routine regardless of mom’s diet.”
Following the latest research and medical guidelines, we recommend early allergen introduction in addition to breastfeeding to give your child the best prevention against food allergies.
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