Top 5 Breastfeeding Myths Debunked

I am SO excited to let you know that (after nearly 8 long weeks of waiting), I’ve finally received my official certification as a Lactation Counselor!

I’m really looking forward to empowering breastfeeding moms (and moms-to-be who want to breastfeed) to meet their breastfeeding goals AND be able to experience the joy of motherhood in the way that only a well-rested mother can.

So, to get started, let’s debunk some of the top breastfeeding myths that make moms feel insecure about their ability to nurse their babies:

Myth #1: There is an “ideal” shape and size for breastfeeding

Myth #1 Debunked: When it comes to breastfeeding, it’s what’s on the inside that counts – the milk making cells and ducts. Size and shape do not necessarily correlate to the number of milk-making cells or a woman’s “storage capacity.” Your body starts making “newborn milk” (also known as colostrum) about halfway through your pregnancy, and then segues into mature milk within the first 3-7 days after birth. As long as you keep breastfeeding your baby, your body will continue to make the milk your baby needs.

Myth #2: It’s normal to have sore nipples in the beginning

Myth #2 Debunked: No, no and no again! If your baby is latched properly, you should NEVER feel sore during breastfeeding sessions. A slight tugging? Yes, but never sore. If you are sore (or cracked, bleeding, etc.) contact a Lactation Consultant or Counselor to help you resolve the latch and make breastfeeding the enjoyable experience it can and should be!

Myth #3: If your baby has green, shiny stools, that means she’s getting too much foremilk.

Myth #3 Debunked: Nope, sorry folks – no such thing as “foremilk” and “hindmilk.” Well, there will always be milk that your baby gets at the beginning and the milk your baby gets at the end, but neither one is necessarily more or less likely to have higher fat content. That’s just not the way it works. Depending on how the feed beforehand went, your baby may have left some fat-rich milk right at the end of the ducts, so that will be what he gets when he first starts to suck the next time.

Myth #4: Eat lots of “milk cookies” or other galactagogues

Myth #4 Debunked: One of the most common galactagogues is a plant known as fenugreek. They put it into everything – drops, teas, cookies, you name it. Yet, studies have found no evidence of fenugreek increasing milk production or prolactin (that’s the hormone responsible for telling the milk-making cells to make milk). And, I’d steer clear of fenugreek, because it can cause a decrease in blood coagulation AND reduced absorption of all medications used at the same time.

There are loads of folk remedies for breastfeeding, but all studies done have shown that they do not increase milk production. There are also some medications that increase prolactin, but there’s been no direct correlation between artificially increasing prolactin and long-term breastfeeding success.

So what’s your best bet? Make sure that your baby is latching properly and being given the opportunity to nurse frequently.

Myth #5: Make sure to drink lots and lots of water

Myth #5 Debunked: Sorry folks, but studies have shown that women who drink beyond what is necessary to meet their thirst… only end up going to the bathroom more. That being said – you DO need to listen to your body and drink when you’re thirsty, but you don’t have to drink 4 gallons a day in order to make enough milk for your baby.

 

Did you have to struggle with any of these myths when you were breastfeeding? Any different myths? Let me know what you were told and aren’t sure about, or if you have any questions about breastfeeding. Let’s help you be successful!

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