Thursday, July 2, 2015

6 Breastfeeding Myths

Breastfeeding is hard work! And along with tons of research and advice comes more questions than answers. Here are some of the more common issues that I myself dealt with when breastfeeding, and want to pass on to you! These myths are about to be busted...

  • Babies get all the necessary milk within 5-10 minutes. 

Those first few minutes are actually not nutritive in most cases. The first few suckles contribute to your breast's let-down process, telling your body that it's time to let that liquid gold start flowing smooth. The sucking sensation isn't the only thing that lets down your milk though; oxytocin from the mother also stimulates this process. (Check out all the amazing things Oxytocin does for our body) So, the longer the oxytocin holds off, the longer it will take for the suckling sensation to trigger let-down. So breathe, sit back, gaze at that beautiful babe, and enjoy these precious moments.

  • Breastfeeding should be spaced in order to allow time for breasts to refill.

Believe me, those boobs aren't going to run out of milk. Supply is built on - you guessed it - demand! If your baby only demands milk every 4 hours, then your supply will start limiting what is available. If the baby wants it - the baby gets it! Try to avoid hard-core scheduling, and stick to my favorite phrase - "on-demand". This is the BEST way to ensure your boobs are creating a sufficient amount of milk to keep providing your baby its best nutrition!

When my little's first started out, they were attached to those boobs 24/7! Giant engorged breasts are no fun, to be sure, but they are definitely normal since your body has to figure out how much of a supply should be maintained. Check out these amazing Nursing Cozys if you find those boobies are aching!

  • If that baby is sleeping, don't you dare wake it up. 

Wrong-o! In many cases, and especially when they are older, it's ok to delay a feeding every now and then because of a nap that runs long. Yes, they need their sleep! However, in the beginning, newborns should not be sleeping for long periods of time. Sleeping all night, or for 4 hour naps in the day isn't a sign of a good baby - it can be a sign of an unhealthy one! Babies who don't get enough to eat at each feeding tend to be very lethargic and sleepy. If you think your baby is a little too sleepy, see a lactation consultant or your pediatrician to make sure she's eating enough.

Love these! Totally help with sleeping...
For A's first 2 weeks of life, he wasn't getting enough milk, and I had no idea! A visit to the lactation consultant showed he was only pulling out half the amount of milk he needed at each feeding. Scary! I felt like a terrible mom for not knowing. But I wasn't! I was a great mom for asking questions and realizing that my little guy was not doing well.

  • Schedule feedings from day 1

We covered this a bit up top, but I thought it deserved its own bullet point too; mostly because I was very determined to schedule this baby! I really thought that's what a good mom does. I mean, we schedule breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for our family. Why should the baby be on a routine as well? I found out very quickly that the schedule has to change due to the baby's ever-changing needs. As he grows, there is not only a need for increased milk, but sometimes an increase (or decrease) in the number of feedings. Every kid is different - I found that out almost from day 1 between my two boys. They are SO VERY DIFFERENT. And not just in breastfeeding. ;) On-demand breastfeeding is what's best for the baby's nutrition, and it's what's best for your body as well! Go with the flow (pun intended hahaha!) on this one, and let the baby dictate the schedule for awhile. 

Sleep, Eat, and Poop Log!!

  • Low breast milk supply is generally a result of stress, fatigue, or poor eating habits on the part of the mother

I'm sure you've guessed by now that this has GOT to be wrong. (And not just because this is a list of myths!) Stress, fatigue, and poor eating habits totally mess with our bodies as a whole in many areas, but, for the most part, demand is what affects breast milk supply. Even if you aren't able to eat as healthy as you want, get as much sleep as you need, or lower the stress level at work, you WILL be able to properly feed your baby! Attach him and go!

I loved feeding A while he was wrapped to me. I used a mei-tie-ish type similar to the one pictures below, but more recently the Maya Wrap. (which got stolen...sad!) Hands-free made the stress level lower, too. ;)

I LOVE carriers that let you feed hands-free!! 

  • I am not a human pacifier

Wrong. You are, and you should take pride in that!! Your baby needs comfort and safety. Many babies do fine with a classic pacifier in their mouth when mothers are not available. But many babies need that non-nutritive sucking at the breast in order to feel calm and safe enough to fall asleep. Or merely because they are frightened or hurt at some point during the day! My little one is always latched on these days, and I get frustrated easily. But I know that he needs to feel comforted and loved. Hugs aren't going to do it at this age - but that boob sure will!

Power Strip Safety! Totally need this; A is currently trying to pull out my computer plug while I type this ;)

Don't forget to check out the Etsy site! I'm always uploading new fabrics for Nursing Cozys, Booboo Bags, and Wet Bags. I need excuses to buy and play with fabric, so take a look around! :)

What are some myths that you want busted? What kind of advice have you received that doesn't quite sit right, and you'd like more opinions on? Post it here and let me and other readers weigh in!

Or, if you've done the busting already, tell us below!!! The more information I can provide you with, the better! 

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional, and all information on this site is strictly opinion. If you aren’t sure about your situation, please seek professional medical advice from your doctor. This post contains affiliate links, which allow me to obtain compensation on products that visitors purchase. That said, I do not link to products that I would not personally recommend.


Donna Wirthlin said...

Very informative article! I breastfed my babies for years when you total all my babies:). I really agree that on-demand feeding is best for babies, too. Great to co-host with you at #OMHGWW:)

Glenda Cates said...

Thank you for posting these facts as my Niece is Breastfeeding and I know this will help her with some of the questions she has. Thank you for Co/Hosting #OMHGWW with us.