Having a baby is both one of the most beautiful and most confusing times in our lives, everyone believes they know 'the' wisdom nugget that will change your life and they love to share it with you, whether you ask for it or not!
Resident Naturopath & Nutritionist Jo Clark, has set to work on exposing all the common wives tales for what they truly are... MYTHS! We're giving you the low down on what to believe, what to question and what to completely ignore when it comes to breastfeeding your bub. Are you ready?
MYTH – Most mothers can’t produce enough milk for their babies
Many mothers perceive they have low milk supply when in fact they have absolutely enough. There are only very few mothers who after implementing strategies to assist their supply cannot make enough milk. Remember too the first few days your newborn has a very small stomach, similar in size to a walnut! So, they only need a very tiny amount of colostrum, hence your body will only be producing a small amount!
MYTH – You should stop breastfeeding if your baby becomes sick
You actually should do the opposite. Your baby needs that breastmilk gold – the antibodies in your breastmilk will assist the infection but also the milk will help to ensure adequate hydration for your baby during this time.
MYTH – If your breasts are small, you won't produce enough breast milk
Far from the truth – your breasts do not determine your ability to produce milk.
MYTH – Breastfed babies need extra water
Breastfed babies do not need any other supplements, water or milk – your breastmilk can supply your baby with everything they need for the first 4-6 months of its life.
MYTH – A mother should not breastfeed past one year, as the breast milk loses its nutritional value
Breast milk nutrition changes as your baby grows to suit the baby’s needs. Post one year many of the key nutrients do reduce in breastmilk but there are still many many advantages to continuing on breastfeeding post 1 yr including supporting baby’s immune system.
MYTH – Some babies are allergic to breast milk
It's not the breast milk, but more likely something in the breast milk that the mother has consumed.
MYTH – If you breastfeed, you won't fall pregnant
NOT TRUE! Be careful. You can ovulate even before your periods show up, so this is not a 100% sure preventative measure.
MYTH – If you pump, you will be able to see or calculate how much milk you are producing
Pumping does not stimulate your breasts like your baby can. A pump cannot remove as much milk as your baby so therefore cannot give you an accurate estimate of how much milk you are producing.
MYTH – Once you go back to work, you'll have to wean
This myth has been dispelled by our customers time and time again. We have had emails thanking us for creating our Tanker Toppers because mum’s have consumed them in order to boost their supply to then pump at work and so have enough milk to give to their carer to feed to their baby. Commit to pumping and you will be able to give your baby breast milk for as long as you wish. Of course, pumping will probably consume most of your break and lunch times but do try to eat and drink super well and try our Tankers to see if they can boost you a little more so you can reduce your time on the pump! Also, remember your breasts respond best (and therefore can produce an adequate amount) to your baby so try to get at least a couple of actual breast feeds in a day if you can.
MYTH – Your boobs will forever look like tube socks
It is actually not breastfeeding that changes your breast shape but pregnancy. "The breast often doubles in weight during pregnancy, whether or not you breastfeed," explains Pamela Berens, M.D., a board-certified lactation consultant and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. "Any increase puts extra stress on the ligaments that support the breasts, and more stress equals extra sagging." Your age, BMI and prepregnancy bra size all affect how likely your boobs are to droop.
MYTH – You should not exercise while breastfeeding
Even the most strenuous exercise will not have much effect on your breast milk. Just remember to replenish yourself with liquids and quality food!
MYTH – Breastfeeding is more effort and more time-consuming
It really depends on the individual, but most mothers do find breastfeeding is actually easier. Formula means – purchasing the powder, making it up, heating it, sterilising bottles etc – a lot more energy goes into formula feeding that breastfeeding and breast milk is always available day and night for most mums and at the right temperature, with no cleaning needed afterwards.
MYTH – You need to drink cow's milk to produce breast milk
Untrue, you do not need to drink cows milk at all.
MYTH – You cannot breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples
Many mothers have proven this breastfeeding myth wrong.
MYTH – Breast milk will ruin your baby's appetite when they start to eat
Even if this was true, should that stop you from breastfeeding? Hopefully not. It is recommended to breastfeed first and then offer other foods from 6-12 months.
MYTH – If you give your baby bottles of pumped milk, they will refuse the breast
Most babies switch between breast and bottle with no problem. Both take persistence. Try and get them sorted with the breast if possible at first then transition to bottle alternate regularly. And… let other family members and friends feed your baby with the bottle. This is one of the keys to you being able to get away and have YOU TIME.
MYTH – You shouldn't nurse if you have a blocked duct or breast infection
Exactly the opposite is true. The best way to treat a blocked duct is to nurse as often as you can. And the best way to prevent an infection is to clear a blocked duct.
MYTH – It’s quite normal for breastfeeding to be painful
Breastfeeding can cause some nipple and breast sensitivity in the first few days however this should dissipate in the following weeks as your breasts become used to feeding.
To celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 1st - 8th August, we wanted to share Jo's expert knowledge on the do's and dont's of breastfeeding and settle your worrisome mind once and for all. Unsure about other things you've been told DM us on our socials to get in touch, while you're at it follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more World Breastfeeding week content!