Most women consider whether or not they will breastfeed even before they become pregnant. Once expecting, the soon-to-be mom will read books, search the internet and probably even enroll in a breastfeeding class. These are great avenues to pursue if you know from day one that you are committed to breastfeeding.
However, for moms that are on the fence about breastfeeding, there are a few myths that may be muddling their commitment to what will be an excellent long-term decision. The Department of Health and Human Services explains that breastfeeding benefits both mom and baby, decreasing risks for various diseases for both and providing priceless antibodies to your infant. Over time, breastfed babies are less likely to become obese and are more likely to do better academically.
In order to help you make a more informed decision, here are five breastfeeding myths dispelled.
- You have to have large breasts to make milk. If you are a woman with mammary glands, your body will make enough milk to nourish your child. Breast or nipple size has absolutely nothing to do with milk production. Putting your baby to the breast to nurse as soon as possible after delivery, combined with the production of prolactin, decreased estrogen and increased progesterone is what begins and maintains a good milk supply.
- If my milk doesn’t “come in” within three to four days, my baby will starve. It is important to understand that milk matures and changes to meet the needs of your baby. Babies have extremely small stomachs, so it fills and empties quickly. Your milk will first start as colostrum, which is a thick, nutrient rich liquid filled with antibodies. While it may seem like a small amount initially, it is all your newborn needs in the first few days of life.
- Breastfeeding hurts. During the initial days of breastfeeding, you may be uncomfortable as you and your child learn which position works best for both of you. However, any pain (throbbing, shooting, or anything too painful to continue) is indicative of a poor latch. Be sure to spend time with your nurse discussing lactation before you head home after the birth. They will offer support and share important tips for an easier breastfeeding experience.
- Breastfeeding ties a mother down. Breastfeeding can make a mother's life much easier due to one simple fact: your baby’s milk is always with you and always free. There is no heating or cleaning bottles and the savings are substantial. Are you worried about breastfeeding in public? Try breastfeeding in a mirror to see what others see. Still feeling modest? There are a variety of stylish wraps that you can throw on for privacy. If anything, breastfeeding gives you more freedom to get out of the house quickly and with ease.
- Formula is just as good as breast milk. While a healthy option, formula will never match the nutritional benefits of breast milk. Breast milk is created by a human for a human and is virtually risk-free, as opposed to formula, which can get contaminated or expire.
Denton Regional Medical Center is here to support every new mother with her decision to breastfeed. In order to help you prepare for breastfeeding ahead of time, we offer regular breastfeeding classes. Please visit our schedule of classes and events. If you need a physician referral, please call 1-855-477-DRMC.
Preparing for Childbirth