7 Misconceptions About Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is one of the things I’m most proud of as a mama. It didn’t come easy as a first time mama… I definitely made mistakes and had no idea what I was doing, especially at the start. There were so many uncertainties. In fact, the only thing I was certain about was that I was going to breastfeed. I pushed past the obstacles and met my goal, but I wanted to give up so many times along the way.
If you're an expecting mama who’s considering breastfeeding, read on! I’m sharing some of the misconceptions I had that almost stopped me from breastfeeding:
1. It's (forever) painful to breastfeed
Breastfeeding should only be painful for the first two weeks or so when your hormones are normalizing after giving birth, but if it is after that you should talk to a lactation consultant before giving up. It may just be an issue with baby’s latch (for which there are solutions) or another issue that may be resolved.
2. You'll have to supplement If You Breastfeed
Some mamas think there aren’t enough nutrients in breastmilk, so they’ll need to supplement. While breastfed babies tend to feed more than formula-fed and may not be able to sleep train the same way a formula fed baby can, that doesn’t mean they’re not getting enough nutrients! This is where it’s important to just trust your babies instincts on how often and when to feed them, because they know when they’re hungry! Speaking of listening to your baby’s needs…
3. Need to Get on a Feeding Schedule Right Away
Feeding on demand is absolutely the way to go with breastfed babies! I made the mistake of trying to establish a schedule early on with Ryan by making him wait until the “three hour” mark before nursing him. But especially newborns need to be able to feed on demand, because they’re still adjusting to not having that constant stream of nutrients they received from mama during pregnancy, plus their little bodies are doing a lot of growing and changing still! It’s very common for newborns to “cluster feed,” where they nurse as often as every hour or even every 30 minutes. That’s normal and is totally okay!
4. Breastfeeding older babies or toddlers will cause psychological issues
Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience between mama and baby, and that doesn’t just go away when baby gets older. If you want to breastfeed after a year, go for it! It is definitely a different experience when they’re older from when they’re newborn, but it’s just as beautiful and special. I breastfed my boys for a little over a year each, and know mamas who did beyond two years or more.
5. Smaller breasts can't produce enough milk
Cup size does not affect milk supply in the slightest. I’ve known smaller women who have even had an oversupply, and larger women who have only just had enough. So don’t be discouraged by your size, mama!
6. You shouldn't breastfeed when you're sick
The antibodies your body makes will pass to your baby so it's actually a good thing to breastfeed when you’re sick! Breastfeeding when sick protects your baby more than if you don't.
7. Comes naturally and should be easy
Breastfeeding is hard. It usually doesn’t come fully naturally for mama and baby, so don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to figure out. There are so many great resources to help you on your breastfeeding journey too! Your doctor and local lactation consultants are always there to help out, and there are tons of online resources readily available, like La Leche League. You can also check out my other breastfeeding blogs for some more tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:
Are you a breastfeeding mama? What were some of the reasons or misconceptions that almost stopped you?