Here are our favorite breastfeeding myths- the good, the bad, and the hysterical.
1. If my breasts don’t change size/leak during pregnancy, I won’t make enough milk for my baby.
Not true! The size/shape/activity of your breasts during pregnancy has no bearing on whether or not you’ll be able to breastfeed your baby. Since your body doesn’t begin making milk until after your baby is born, whether or not they leak while you’re pregnant doesn’t really mean anything!
2. Breastfeeding will cause my breasts to sag.
Not true! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that ship has already sailed. It’s pregnancy hormones that cause your breasts to sag, not breastfeeding. The hormone relaxin is responsible for loosening and stretching ligaments, and that has an effect on your breasts, too.
3. Breastfeeding makes a baby clingy and dependent, and I won’t ever be able to leave them with someone else.
Definitely not true! Studies have shown that breastfeeding actually makes your baby more confident and independent down the road. This is because your baby has learned to trust that you will always be there for them and respond to their needs. And once you’ve got breastfeeding figured out, you can absolutely go out for a few hours (or go back to work) and leave them with your partner, grandparents, or a babysitter and a stash of pumped milk.
4. It’s normal for breastfeeding to hurt.
While it’s true that some people experience struggles and pain while nursing, it doesn’t have to be that way (and it’s not supposed to). If breastfeeding hurts, chances are good that your baby’s latch isn’t quite right. The good news is, it can be fixed! If breastfeeding hurts, get in touch with us for help and guidance.
5. If my baby nurses frequently/I don’t let my breasts “refill”, I’ll run out of milk.
Not true! Think of what happens when you turn on the kitchen faucet- water flows continuously, even if you leave it on for hours. The same is true for your milk! You don’t ever actually “run out” of milk- even if your baby has been nursing for two hours straight. The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body will make for them. This means that the opposite is also true: the less often your baby nurses, the less milk you’ll have. The solution? Nurse often, and nurse long!
6. My baby isn’t happy unless he’s nursing, so I must not have enough milk!
Are you sensing a trend? Not true! A baby nurses for so many more reasons than for a meal. Nursing provides comfort, security, entertainment, a cozy way to fall asleep, and connection (among many others). So long as your baby is having enough wet and dirty diapers and is growing and meeting milestones, your milk supply is just fine. Nurse that baby!
Don’t worry, we saved the cringiest breastfeeding myth for last.
7. I need to prepare or “toughen up” my nipples for breastfeeding with a rough cloth or sandpaper.
We can feel you shuddering from here. Believe it or not, this actually used to be common advice! Thank goodness we know better now. No, you absolutely don’t need to “prepare” your nipples for breastfeeding- they are already primed and ready, and your baby will know just what to do with them. Step away from the sandpaper.