There’s a lot of information available about breastfeeding. How can you distinguish between true and false so you can offer the very best to your baby?
Here are a few examples of some common myths about breastfeeding, followed by explanations for the purpose of clarifying the issue.
Breastfeeding involves several food restrictions
False. It’s important for women who breastfeed to eat healthy, balanced meals. Canada’s Food Guide is a useful tool for understanding the basics of a healthy diet. That said, it has long been thought that babies could be inconvenienced by foods that their mother eats, but in reality, it’s quite rare and disappears in a few days. You will find additional information on how to manage potential intolerances in the following guide: Mieux vivre avec notre enfant de la grossesse à deux ans by the INSPQ (Public health expertise and reference centre).
Women who have had surgery for breast augmentation or reduction can’t breastfeed
False. To date, there is no evidence that breastfeeding is dangerous for women who have undergone breast augmentation. Therefore, breastfeeding is possible. As far as breast reduction is concerned, although it can lead to a decrease in the production of breast milk, most of the time breastfeeding is carried out without any problem. All that is needed is to closely monitor breastfeeding initiation. Additionally, it’s false to think that breast size affects milk production. Women with smaller breasts can produce as much milk as those with larger ones. The shape of the nipples, whether or not they protrude, has no bearing on the success of breastfeeding.
Most women don’t produce enough milk
False. Most women produce a sufficient amount of it. Milk production meets babies’ needs, and the more they request it, the more the mother will produce it. Nonetheless, insufficient milk production may sometimes occur during breastfeeding initiation or it may suddenly decrease. If this occurs, speak to a breastfeeding expert.
Babies must learn to drink from a bottle. You must always introduce the bottle before the baby refuses to take it
False. It is not necessary for babies to learn to use a bottle. It’s more important to concentrate on breastfeeding initiation. After that, it’ll be possible to occasionally introduce a bottle if you wish to. Giving the bottle when breastfeeding is difficult can even complicate things.
Premature babies can’t be breastfed
False. Babies can be breastfed even if they are premature. At birth, depending on the number of weeks spent in the uterus, premature babies may be able to feed a little from the breast, or not at all. Various factors influence the time when premature babies are ready to suckle. In the meantime, you can start breastfeeding and maintain your milk production using a breast pump.
A pregnant woman can’t continue breastfeeding
False. Sometimes, women become pregnant while they are breastfeeding. If the mother wishes to, she can continue to breastfeed. It isn’t dangerous for the foetus or the breastfed child. However, hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the amount of milk production and its composition. If the amount of breast milk is insufficient, it’s possible to complement it with infant formula.
Breastfed babies need other types of milk after six months of age
False. Breast milk gives babies everything other types of milk would offer, except vitamin D. This is why it is important to give the prescribed supplement throughout breastfeeding. There is no reason to make any changes if breastfeeding is going well. Solid foods are introduced at about six months of age. Breastfeeding can be continued in conjunction with the introduction of solid foods.
If I’m ill, it’s imperative that I stop breastfeeding
False. In most cases of common infections, there is no reason to stop breastfeeding. If you ever need to take medication, it is important to tell your doctor and pharmacist that you are breastfeeding. Many medications can be taken even if you are breastfeeding, but it is important to find out beforehand. The same applies to over-the-counter medications and to natural health products. Ask your pharmacist for help before using them.
Above all, remember that each story about breastfeeding is different and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a healthcare professional for help. Your pharmacist can undoubtedly help you or refer you to the appropriate resources.