You’ve probably already discovered that, as soon as you announce your pregnancy, the world and his wife come forward with a mass of conflicting advice and information on how to breastfeed and bring up your baby! While a lot of this is undoubtedly helpful, some of it is simply not true. View the most common myths below:
Your Milk is Either too Weak or too Strong
Not true. Breast milk is always just right. It changes as the feed progresses, from watery, thirst-quenching foremilk at the beginning to rich, nutritious hindmilk as the feed goes on. Don’t worry about what it looks like: watery or creamy, it doesn’t matter. It’s perfectly balanced for your baby.
Your Baby’s Feeding so Often, You Can’t Have Enough Milk
Not true. If your feeding position’s right and your baby’s settled after feeds then frequent feeding is good – it’s stimulating plenty of milk for the future. Sometimes babies just need a drink rather than a full meal. And remember, your newborn’s stomach is only the size of its fist, so he or she needs to fill up little and often!
Feeds Should be Timed and Limited to 4 Hourly Intervals
Not true. Make sure your baby latches on well and feed on demand. Your baby’s appetite will vary from one feed to the next and one day to the next, so don’t expect any pattern or routine in the first few weeks.
A Mother Must Drink Milk to Make Milk
Not true. A healthy diet is all a mother requires to produce breast milk. Calcium can obtained from several non-dairy foods, including nuts and fish.
Some Babies are Allergic to Their Mother’s Milk
Not True. Any sensitivities baby shows to breast milk are usually caused by foreign contaminants. This is more often than not remedied by removing offending food from mother’s diet.
Nipple Confusion Does Not Exist
Not true. Babies often apply inappropriate suckling techniques to the breast when they switch between breast and bottle. tommee tippee baby bottles are specifically designed to combat this confusion.
Breastfeeding a Baby Over 12 Months Old is of Little Value
Not True. Breast milk is a fantastic supplement to solid food during baby’s second year and continues to complement and boost the immune system for as long as it is offered.
You Should Always Use Both Breasts at Each Feeding
Not True: In order to ensure baby gets a good mix of foremilk and hindmilk, it is important to let baby finish the first breast first – even if he or she doesn’t take the second breast.
Never Wake Up a Sleeping Baby for Feeding
Not True. Newborn babies sometimes don’t wake up often enough independently and should be awakened to ensure at least eight feeds a day.
Babies Get All the Milk They Need in the First Five Minutes
Not True. While this is true for many older babies, it is best to allow baby to suck until they show signs of being finished – such as relaxed hands and arms and self-detachment.
If You have Mastitis You Must Stop Feeding
Not true. It’s important to relieve the breast of milk. The antibiotics prescribed for mastitis won’t harm your baby – although they can lead to a few more pooey nappies!
Too Much Breast Milk can Make Your Baby Fat
Not true. Breast milk is nutritionally perfect. Its composition changes over the weeks and months to maintain a balanced diet, constantly suited to your growing baby.
You Can’t Get Pregnant While You’re Still Breastfeeding
OH YES YOU CAN! It’s advisable to arrange contraception with your doctor or family planning clinic, or ask one of the breastfeeding organisations about natural contraception whilst breastfeeding.
If you have decided to breastfeed for the first time and don’t know where to begin, be sure to visit our breastfeeding advice page for a range of other breastfeeding topics.