Friends, distant relatives, that random stranger in the grocery store… Rocking a baby bump means you’ll hear tons of (sometimes unsolicited) advice about new motherhood. Time to separate fact from fiction! Here, we debunk the most common breastfeeding myths and misconceptions.
Myth 1: There’s nothing you can do to prepare ahead of time
It’s true – breastfeeding definitely takes two! But just because your little partner hasn’t arrived yet, doesn’t mean you can’t get a head start. Research has shown that prenatal education and having a support network are both key factors in starting and continuing to breastfeed. To help set yourself up for success, find a lactation consultant, take a class, and talk to your support system about your breastfeeding goals before you give birth. You can also sign up for our newsletter for tips and advice leading up to the big day (and beyond!).
Myth 2: Breastfeeding is painful
No pain, no gain? While this may be true in some parts of life, breastfeeding isn’t one of them. It is common to have discomfort in the early days while your body gets used to nursing. But true pain while feeding is actually a sign of an incorrect latch or other issue – and you don’t need to grin and bear it. A lactation consultant can help. Stretched skin and frequent feeding can be a tough combo for your delicate, sensitive skin. Turn to a nipple cream like Lansinoh Lanolin to help soothe and protect those sore nipples.
Myth 3: Expectant mothers need to "toughen up" their nipples for nursing
During pregnancy, your breasts expand as they prepare to produce milk (we take it you’ve noticed). It’s common for nipples and areolas to become darker, and you might even notice your nipples growing in size too. All these changes can make your skin quite tender. “Toughening” your nipples won’t make breastfeeding any more of a breeze – in fact, it will only make that tender, already-stretched skin more sore. So be nice to your nipples, okay? Lansinoh Lanolin to the rescue! It can even be applied during pregnancy to ease dryness and help keep nipples soft and supple.
Myth 4: Breastfeeding moms get less sleep
Reality check: No new mom gets enough sleep. Babies wake for all sorts of reasons: they are too hot or too cold, they’re hungry, they need a diaper change – or even just a cuddle. But recent studies show that exclusively breastfeeding moms actually get more sleep than formula-feeding moms. That’s because breastfeeding can mean good things for your body as well as baby’s. Among the other reported benefits: more daily energy, better overall physical health, and a lower risk for depression. Breastfeeding FTW!
Myth 5: If your baby is nursing every hour, you’re not producing enough milk
This is a common breastfeeding misconception! It’s estimated that only 1-2% of women can’t produce enough milk. A newborn’s tummy is very small and breastmilk digests very quickly. Baby size and development can also play a role in the hunger games. Put it all together and your newborn will need to feed very frequently – what feels like 24/7. Your body works on supply and demand, so nursing or pumping more can actually help you establish and increase your supply. So watch for baby’s hunger cues and follow his lead.
Myth 6: Frequent breastfeeding will “spoil” your baby
The power of touch is good for your baby – and good for you, too. Being naked against your skin is the next best thing to being back in the warmth and security of the womb. Skin-to-skin contact releases the hormone oxytocin, building the bond between you and baby. It also helps stabilize your baby’s body temperature, breathing, and heart rate (wow!). Plus, your partner can get involved too. If that’s spoiling a baby, then we’re all for it.
Myth 7: Breastfeeding shortchanges your partner from bonding with the baby
Trust us, there will be plenty of work to go around. Your loved ones can create their own special bonds with the baby through activities such as skin-to-skin contact, bath time, and giving plenty of cuddles. Learn more about helping your partner bond with baby.
Myth 8: You need to start pumping right away
There can be many reasons to introduce pumping earlier, but generally, feeding on demand is the best way to establish a strong milk supply in the early days of breastfeeding. It’s good to have your pump on hand when you need it, though, and most insurance companies will provide you with one during pregnancy. So there’s one less thing to worry about after baby arrives (phew!). Check out our list of things to look for in a pump.
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