When it comes to parenting, everybody who has had a child is an expert, once they come to know that you are pregnant LOL. One of those very confusing issues is breastfeeding. You could get a lot of conflicting information from people with the best of intentions. However here are a few of the popular myths of breastfeeding which you should be aware of before giving birth!
1. You will instinctively know what to do: When you are pregnant you assume that breastfeeding should come instinctively and easily. This is not true for all mothers. I personally had to struggle to get my child to latch on and there was a lot of hormonal crying on my part before we could establish a good nursing relationship. Anticipate it not being easy and get a lactation consultant to help with the technique right after birth (yes there is a specific technique). Don’t wait to have a problem. This would go a long way in avoiding frustrations later on. Some moms and babies need a bit more practice than others.
2. It is Easy: It MAY not be easy. Some women have more sensitive nipples and could be a bit sore. They adjust to the sensations after a bit of time. Creams are available to help soothe the nipples. I used to dread even the sensation of a rougher fabric on my body because my nipples were so sore with the breastfeeding. This too shall pass.
3. Your physical form impacts the quantity of milk: Big breasts do not produce more milk than small. The size has nothing to do with lactation abilities. No matter the structure, they are designed to feed a child to satisfaction. Do not doubt yourself on that score.
4. Once you get it, there is no looking back: This is not true either. I did go through issues like plugged ducts and milk blisters with my kids. Read up on them, find out what the remedies are and find a good paediatrician who knows the stuff on breastfeeding. It is so easy to throw in the towel when these problems come up. But you will be happy when you stick with it and make it work.
5. Breastfeeding is Inconvenient: This is actually not true. With nursing you have no bottles to sterilize, no formula to purchase, no water to boil and cool and keep ready. All you have to do is put your child to the breast. There is no need to wake up 4 times in the middle of the night and head to the kitchen to fix a bottle. All you need to do is to put the child to the breast, and go back to sleep in 30 seconds flat! You also do not have to second guess if the amount of formula you mixed is more or less, your body automatically adapts to the exact quantity required by your child. If you see yourself as the primary care giver of your child, then without doubt breastfeeding is the most convenient and hassle free option.
6. You cannot nurse when you are sick: In fact, your body starts producing anti-bodies to fight that infection which passes on to your child during nursing, protecting your baby from that infection.
7. If the baby nurses often you don’t have enough milk: A breastfeeding baby will nurse more often than a formula fed baby. If your baby is nursing more often than usual, it could mean that he is going through a growth spurt. The baby will nurse more often for a couple of days until your body adjusts to a higher degree of milk output and then settle into a regular rhythm again. Since you cannot see the quantity of milk that is being consumed, it is common for many mothers to constantly suspect if their child is getting “enough”. Rest assured that if you are a healthy mother who is nursing on demand, eating a nutritious meal and staying hydrated, there is no reason for your body not to produce enough to nourish your child.
8. Formula fed children are fatter: Research has shown that formula fed babies tend to be more obese than breastfed babies. This is because while it is not possible to over feed a child through nursing, it is possible to overfeed a child through the bottle.
9. Formula fed babies sleep better: Formula is not as completely digested as breast milk is. Breast milk is much lighter and quickly digested. Therefore, breastfed babies wake up more often to nurse. Formula tends to stay in the stomach longer causing babies to sleep longer. But it does not make it better. In fact, since it is not so well digested, the poop of formula fed babies is stinkier.
10. Breastfeeding makes your breasts sag: The truth is that pregnancy and ageing make the breasts sag. Breastfeeding by itself does not. Since there is a lot of weight gain during pregnancy, the subsequent reduction in size makes it sag. Breastfeeding if anything offers women protection from breast cancer.