In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness month, we have complied a few breastfeeding myths and tips to help moms navigate the joyful but sometimes daunting breastfeeding experience.
1. Myth: I can’t eat spicy food or anything my baby might not like while breastfeeding.
Fact: It’s important for breastfeeding moms to maintain a healthy, balanced diet. There is no need to steer away from spicy foods. You can eat what you like and over the course of your breastfeeding journey, you will be able to determine if there are foods your baby does not tolerate.
2. Myth: If my baby is preterm, I can’t breastfeed.
Fact: Most mothers of preterm babies can breastfeed, but they might experience an initial delay. Preterm babies need to grow and mature before they are able to nurse successfully. Mothers of preterm infants will need to provide expressed (pumped) milk for a period of time. With the help of their care team, these moms can breastfeed and shouldn’t give up on that goal.
3. Myth: I have a short maternity leave and will need to transition to formula feeding once I go back to work.
Fact: It is in you, your baby’s, AND your employer’s best interest for you to continue to breastfeed. There are significant short- and long-term benefits that can be achieved using expressed milk in addition to breastfeeding. Your insurance plan should cover the cost of a breast pump. For additional resources on support for breastfeeding employees, check out Business Case for Breastfeeding.
4. Myth: I carried this baby for 9 months and labored for over 24 hours, so it’s my choice whether I breastfeed.
Fact: It’s always a mother’s choice about how to feed her baby. In the NICU, breast milk is considered essential to helping a baby achieve the best outcomes. Maternity care teams need to do their part to ensure a mother has the education and support she needs to make the best decision she can for her newborn.
5. Myth: No one should breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic. #socialdistancing
Fact: Current evidence suggests that breastmilk is safe. Mothers who have tested positive for COVID-19 may be able to safely nurse their baby with appropriate precautions including use of hand hygiene and a face mask. There is also the option for an alternate healthy caregiver to feed the baby mother’s expressed milk.
6. Myth: I can start my baby on a bottle then switch to breastfeeding when we’re both ready.
Fact: The first 14 days after delivery are key for establishing successful breastfeeding. Once a baby is bottle fed, some are not easily able to switch between breast and bottle, quickly eliminating breastfeeding as a long-term option. You can always lean on hospital staff, including nurses and lactation consultants, to support your journey and help you learn what to expect when it comes to breastfeeding.
7. Myth: I can take breaks from breastfeeding.
Fact: Supply and demand are a key component of successful breastfeeding. If you stop breastfeeding for a while or nurse less often, your body assumes you don’t need the breast milk anymore and decreases the amount it makes. If you do take a break from nursing, continue to express your milk every three hours just as you would if the baby was nursing.
It’s important to remember that breastfeeding doesn’t always just happen! It’s a process and your hospital care team is there to help you post-delivery. They can provide education and support for a successful breastfeeding journey. It’s ok to ask for help!
Want to read more about breastfeeding and missed our recent blog post? Check it out now!