As with any parenting topic, there is endless information about breastfeeding. Some true. Some not. Let’s take a look at the commonly held myths about breastfeeding and set the record straight.
Myth #1: Nipples need to be toughened up
If anyone tells you to rub your nipples with a rough washcloth or any other abrasive while you’re pregnant to “prepare” your nipples, your first instinct is probably to scrunch your face in an uncomfortable expression. Please, go with your gut and avoid this advice! There is no need to prepare your nipples before breastfeeding begins. If breastfeeding is painful, it’s an indication that something isn’t quite right. Seek out a breastfeeding helper or lactation consultant to assess.
Myth #2: I can’t breastfeed if I take medications
Many people breastfeed and safely take medications that they are prescribed. Talk with a lactation consultant, your doctor, and your baby’s physician about the medications you’re taking. The website https://www.infantrisk.com/ is an invaluable resource that provides evidence-based information about breastfeeding and medications. They can be reached via phone or chat to discuss specific medications and breastfeeding.
Myth #3: Breastmilk comes in all at once
Many people expect a magical day when all of a sudden milk is in their breast. In fact, milk production begins at about 16 weeks gestation! At the moment of your baby’s birth, there is already colostrum, the first milk, waiting for your baby. Throughout the next few days, your body gets the signal to increase milk production from a drop in progesterone levels and your baby’s suckling at the breast. Your milk gradually transitions in composition and volume. Markedly around day 2-5 that volume increases to a point where the breastfeeding parent can notice a physical change in their breasts and in the baby’s pattern of swallowing. This is typically what is referred to as milk “coming in,” but in reality milk has been coming in all along.
Myth #4: Breastmilk supply increases throughout your breastfeeding journey
Breastmilk volume increases until your baby is about 4-6 weeks of age. At that point, daily breastmilk intake stabilizes, and your baby takes the same amount of milk from month one to six. When solids are introduced, daily breastmilk intake decreases.
Myth #5: Your baby will eat on a schedule
You’ve probably heard that babies eat every 2-3 hours, but babies eat on a varied schedule, especially in the first few weeks. Think of how your eating patterns change day-to-day and it just makes sense. Instead of watching the clock, watch your baby for signs of hunger, even if it feels like they just breastfed. You can’t go wrong offering the breast again.
Photo courtesy of @breastfeeding.dietician
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Kudos.
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