Myths and facts about breastfeeding

There’s a lot of information out there about breastfeeding. Internet, social networks, but also family and friends. Everyone has tips and advice for you when it comes to breastfeeding. How can you distinguish between true or 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. However, it’s false to think that they must reduce or increase their consumption of certain foods. It’s possible for babies to be affected by food their mother eats, but this is unusual. Also, it shouldn’t be assumed that breastfeeding requires mothers to drink more water of milk. Mothers who breastfeed don’t need to drink more milk to produce it. In terms of water, it’s true that drinking it promotes better health. However, there’s no specified number of glasses of water to drink if you are breastfeeding—simply drink until you are satisfied.


Women who have had surgery for breast reduction or augmentation can’t breastfeed.

False. Most women who have had this type of surgery manage very well. To date, nothing indicates that breastfeeding by women who have had breast augmentation is dangerous. Therefore, breastfeeding is possible in this case. In terms of breast reduction however, it may diminish milk production. Most of the time, breastfeeding goes well. However, it’s important to closely monitor the beginning of breastfeeding. Also, it’s false to think that breast size affects milk production. Women with smaller breasts can produce as much milk as those who have bigger breasts. Along the same lines, the shape of the nipple has no bearing on whether or not breastfeeding will be successful. Although it may be a little easier for babies to latch on when the nipple protrudes, this isn’t a necessity.


Most women don’t produce enough milk

False. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The majority of women produce enough milk to nourish more than one baby. Milk production is based on the law of supply and demand—the more baby demands, the more the mother will produce. However, it’s important to ensure that the baby latches on to the breast properly. In some circumstances, milk production may be insufficient—it may have been low from the start or have diminished suddenly for various reasons (i.e. due to medication that diminishes lactation or due to health problems). If this happens, talk to a health professional specialized in breastfeeding.


Babies must learn to drink from the bottle. You must always introduce the bottle before the baby refuses to take it.

False. Although several parents decide to introduce the bottle for various reasons, it isn’t necessary that a baby learn to drink from it. It’s more important to concentrate on starting to breastfeed. After that, it’ll be possible to occasionally introduce the bottle if you wish to. Giving the bottle when breastfeeding isn’t going well isn’t always a good idea. This may even complicate things. It’s preferable to consult a health professional who is specialized in breastfeeding to get help and to make an informed decision about it.


Premature babies can’t be breastfed.

False. You can breastfeed your baby even if he/she is 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. Meanwhile, you can start breastfeeding and maintain your milk production using a breast pump. Premature babies take more time to learn how to breastfeed, but with patience, they can be breastfed successfully. The help of a health professional specialized in breastfeeding will be of great help.


A pregnant woman can’t continue breastfeeding.

False. Sometimes, women become pregnant while they breastfeed. If the mother wishes to, she can continue breastfeeding. It isn’t dangerous for the foetus or the breastfed child. However, hormonal changes during pregnancy may affect the quantity and composition of milk production. If the quantity of breast milk is insufficient, it’s possible to complement it with infant formula. Some babies won’t like the new milk composition and will lose interest in breastfeeding.


Breastfed babies need other types of milk after six months of age.

False. Breast milk gives babies everything other types of milk would offer. Therefore, there’s no reason to change. Moreover, babies who have never had formula before six months of age often refuse to drink it because of the different taste. Solid food should be introduced a little before six months of age. This food is an additional healthy source of iron since breast milk doesn’t contain enough mineral salt to meet the baby’s needs at this age. Therefore, you can continue to breastfeed at the same time you introduce solid food.


If I’m ill, it’s imperative that I stop breastfeeding.

False. In the majority of cases of common infections, there’s no reason to stop breastfeeding. If ever you must take medication, it’s important to mention to your doctor and your pharmacist that you are breastfeeding. Many medications are safe to take while you’re breastfeeding—however, it’s important to find out what they are. The same goes for over-the-counter medication and natural health products you can get at the pharmacy. Talk to your pharmacist before taking them. What happens if you must have an operation? Most times, you can start breastfeeding again as soon as you feel well enough to do so. It’s important to talk to the medical team about it, but it’s totally doable.


Breastfeeding is the main culprit of my aches and pains.

This is often false. Fatigue, nervousness, anemia, migraines, colic, etc.—we often attribute our aches and pains to breastfeeding. The suggested solution is then to stop breastfeeding and move on to formula. However, beware of old wives tales. Lack of knowledge is often to blame. Support and assistance are key in getting through difficult times. Don’t forget that every breastfeeding experience is unique. What will yours be?

For all questions concerning your health of your child’s, don’t hesitate to talk to your pharmacist.


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Myths and facts about breastfeeding

There’s a lot of information out there about breastfeeding. Internet, social networks, but also family and friends. Everyone has tips and advice for you when it comes to breastfeeding. How can you distinguish between true or false so you can offer the very best to your baby?