If you are trying to conceive, or you have a baby on the way, it's likely that you are getting all kinds of advice about the ins and outs of labor, delivery, and postpartum baby care. Especially breastfeeding. Everyone seems to have an opinion on it. Male or female. Young or old. Parent or not. Everyone is an expert and wants to tell you all about their experience, or that of their wife/sister/girlfriend/cousin/cousin's girlfriend.
But seeing as how tomorrow — Aug 1 — marks the kickoff to National Breastfeeding Month, I thought it was a good time to share some facts about breastfeeding. Particularly those facts that debunk the most common myths. Here are the real facts about breastfeeding from Evenflo Feeding's Lactation Consultant, Shari Criso:
Myth #1: Many women just can't make enough milk to fully nourish their babies.
Fact: Our bodies were made to breastfeed and our species has survived for hundreds of thousands of years this way. It is actually UNCOMMON for a mom to carry a pregnancy, deliver a baby, and then just not be able to feed it. It does not make sense. There are some moms who may have issues with milk supply, but most of the time it is due to inaccurate advice to supplement with formula because of a "perceived" low supply issue instead of a real supply issue.
Myth #2: If your mom or sister couldn't breastfeed, you won't be able to breastfeed as well.
Fact: I don’t know what happened with a woman’s mom or sister, but I do know that their mother’s mother, and her mother before that, and so on … were able to breastfeed or they would not be here. We come from a long line of women that were able to produce enough and feed their babies because that was the only way. Although the ability to breastfeed can have a genetic factor, this is usually not the case. Most of the time the reason that the mom or sister was not able to breastfeed is due to reasons that were not medical issues, but rather misinformation or assumptions about their bodies' ability to make enough milk.
Myth #3: You have to follow a perfect diet and lifestyle to make good and enough milk.
Fact: This is just untrue. If having the perfect diet, enough rest, not too much stress, etc., were major factors in your body's ability to feed your baby then our species would have died off long ago. People throughout history have lived through some of the most difficult situations and still were able to feed. Although our own health does make breastfeeding easier, it is not critical in making enough or good "quality" milk. A good diet will keep you healthy, but regardless of what you are eating your milk is rarely effected except in the most extreme cases.
Myth #4: Breastfeeding will change the shape of your breasts.
Fact: Breastfeeding itself is not the culprit. Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding includes BMI, age, history of smoking, large pre-pregnancy breast size and number of pregnancies.
Related posts on MNN:
- Pope Francis encourages public breastfeeding
- 6 green reasons why breastfeeding is the best feeding
- Breast-feeding can have a long term impact on earnings