With the world and his wife queuing up to offer you their advice as soon as they find out you are pregnant (and everyone seemingly having a different opinion!), it can be hard to sort the facts from the fiction. Here at Tommee Tippee, we have provided you with some of the most common breastfeeding myths that you might hear and the facts behind them:
“Your milk is either too weak or too strong”
Mother Nature is a genius and breast milk is always just right. It changes as the nursing session progresses, from watery, thirst-quenching foremilk at the beginning to rich, nutritious hindmilk as the feeding goes on. Don’t worry about what it looks like – just trust it’s perfectly balanced for your baby.
“Your baby is feeding so often, you can’t have enough milk”
Your newborn’s stomach is only the size of its fist, so they need to fill up little and often and sometimes they just need a drink rather than a full meal. If your feeding position is right and your baby is settled after eating, then frequent feeding is good – it’s stimulating plenty of milk for the future.
“You should feed every 4 hours and for 20 minutes at a time”
Forget the clock and feed on demand when your baby is showing signs of being hungry. Their appetite will vary from one meal to the next and one day to the next, so don’t expect any pattern or routine in the first few weeks.
“You need to drink lots of milk to make milk”
A healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins is all that a mother needs to provide the proper nutrients to produce milk. Calcium can be obtained from a variety of non-dairy foods, such as dark green vegetables, seeds, nuts and bony fish. After all, do you see any other mammal drinking milk??
“Some babies are allergic to their mother’s milk” -
Don’t worry – you cannot be allergic to breast milk. But your baby CAN be allergic to something you are eating (most commonly cow’s milk or soy!) If you find this is the case, then removing the suspected food from your diet usually solves the problem.
“There is no such thing as nipple confusion”
It can be confusing for little mouths switching between breast and bottle and sometimes this leads to them using the wrong suckling technique at the breast. The right baby bottle can help but it is not always unavoidable.
“There is no benefit in breastfeeding a baby over the age of one”
Breast milk is a fantastic supplement to solid food and continues to boost the immune system for as long as it is offered.
“You should always use both breasts at each feeding”
In order to ensure your baby gets a good mix of foremilk and hindmilk, it is important to let your baby finish the first breast first – even if he or she doesn’t take the second breast.
“Babies get all the milk they need in the first five minutes”
Now wouldn’t that be handy! But while this is true for many older babies, it is best to allow your baby to suckle until they show signs of being finished – such as relaxed hands and arms or detaching themselves.
“Too much breast milk can make your baby fat”
Who makes this stuff up? 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”
Good to get the facts straight on this one. Whilst exclusively breastfeeding every four hours with no use of soother can help suppress your ovulation for the first six months, it is not a reliable method of contraception so it’s best to speak to your doctor about suitable methods.
“Sour mums make sour milk”
Getting angry or upset will not affect the quality of your milk! If you’ve had a difficult feeding session and your baby seems unsettled, they are may just be picking up on your tension.
“Breastfeeding makes your breasts sag”
Sadly for all of us tends to happen with age whether you breastfeed or not. Anyone found that eternal youth potion yet??
“A breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather”
Breast milk contains all the water a baby needs.
“expressing is a good way of knowing how much milk you have”
A baby will always be able to suckle more milk than you can express. Expressing only tells you how much you can express and how much milk can be expressed each time depends on many factors, including your stress level!