Expectant mothers have been concerned recently about some of the rumors they heard about breastfeeding that might discourage them from this practice. Well since August 1-7 is world breastfeeding week, let me try to keep you abreast of the truths about breastfeeding so the rumors can be extinguished.
Myth #1: Some women are worried that the size of their breasts will correspond with the amount of milk produced, and that is just not true. Milk production is dependent on mothers drinking lots of fluids, getting adequate rest and relaxation, and having lots of physical contact with their babies to produce enough milk.
Myth #2: Women are also worried that breastfeeding takes more time than bottle feeding. Again, this is not true. It is much easier to pick up your child and offer the breast then get up in the middle of the night, go to the kitchen, open a can of formula, mix it up, put it in a bottle, warm the bottle then feed your child.
Myth #3: Still other women are afraid the experience will be painful. Again, not true. Pain is usually only due to incorrect positioning or latch-on techniques that can be easily remedied with some teaching from a nurse when the baby is born or from the health professionals in the office where your baby gets their routine medical care or from a lactation consultant if one is available in your community.
Myth #4: Some mothers are worried that the medications they are taking means they should stop breastfeeding. The good news is that most medications are safe for breastfeeding but your baby’s doctor can tell you if you are taking one of the few that will not be safe—but again these are rare, and most medications are still fine for you to breast feed if you feel up to it.
Myth #5: Finally, there are women who believe that breastfeeding will increase their weight, and yet the situation is just the opposite. Breastfeeding burns up an extra 300-500 calories every day so you may actually lose weight—but hopefully not an excessive amount or it may decrease your milk supply
Hopefully, tips like these will feed you the information you need to strongly consider breastfeeding your new baby, not just at birth but throughout their first year of life.
Lewis First, MD, is Chief of Pediatrics at The University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and NBC5.