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7 Myths About Breastfeeding - Get The Facts

By Farrell Seah

In spite of public awareness campaigns around breastfeeding, many myths and malpractices still abound – some women may even decide not to breastfeed or would stop prematurely because of it.

To help you tell fact from fiction, here are seven of the most common breastfeeding myths:

MYTH 1: Your baby can be allergic to your milk.

Human infants are never allergic to their own mother’s milk. We have found no documented cases in the medical literature. Occasionally babies can have problems with foods mom eats.

MYTH 2: If you nurse your baby every time he fusses, he will learn to "use you as a pacifier".

Your baby is designed by nature to suckle frequently at the breast. It is a human survival strategy. Your baby doesn’t “use your breast” as a pacifier any more than he “used your womb” as an incubator.

Myth 3: Many women do not produce enough milk.

Not true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not get the milk that the mother has.

The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they are doing.

MYTH 4: Your baby eats "too often", so you must not have enough milk.

Most babies need to eat 8 - 14 times a day in the early weeks. If your baby has soft stools and clear or pale urine, he is getting enough milk.

Myth 5: Giving the breast a nursing "rest" can help ensure more milk.

The more you nurse, the more milk you make. Breaking your regular nursing schedule to "rest" the breast actually may decrease your milk supply.

This myth got started, because skipping a feeding or pumping during the day results in greater supply of milk at night. But by the next day you will have less milk if you skip a feeding. "The only way to ensure a steady supply is to keep expressing milk as regularly as you can." You should nurse at least nine to 10 times a day to ensure milk production.

Myth 6: "Small breasts will not produce enough"

Being able to breastfeed successfully does not depend on the size of your breast. The size of the breast depends upon the amount of the fatty tissue layer under the skin. Breastmilk is produced by special glands in the breast that are present in all women.

Myth 7: Breastfeeding ruins the shape of your breasts

This is simply not true. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant permanent changes occur in her breasts. Even if she doesn't carry to term, or chooses to abort, her breasts will never be the same as they were before she became pregnant. Whether or not she then goes on to breastfeed will not effect her future breast shape one way or another.

Heredity plays a large role in this matter, as does excessive weight gain or loss. It is helpful to maintain the tone of the muscles that support your breasts, and avoid large and sudden weight gains or losses, pregnancy-related or otherwise.

It is not necessary to believe something or use it as a basis for a major decision in life, regardless of the source from which it came. Get the facts, gather all the information and make an informed decision -- an informed decision that is best for you and your baby.

About the Author: Feel free to use this article with the author name and website included.


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