We’re going all Mythbusters on you in this post, busting those pesky myths about breastfeeding that abound and make you question your breastfeeding experience. Here’s our ‘Top Ten Breastfeeding Myths’ busted!
Contrary to popular belief, for the vast majority of women breastfeeding does not come naturally. Just like any important skill, you need to learn how to do it properly. It takes time, perseverance, tenacity and most importantly, practice. And in this case, practice really does make perfect. Most of the time, it does get easier and faster.
If you are having problems, it’s best to seek out some professional advice from a lactation consultant or the Australian Breastfeeding Association. A little bit of good advice at the start will go a long way in ensuring your breastfeeding experience is as wonderful as it can be.
This myth has a bit of truth and a bit of fiction to it. There aren’t really any foods to avoid while breastfeeding. You can once again indulge in all those wonderful soft cheeses and charcuterie you had to avoid while pregnant …. but you still need to look after yourself. You’re not growing a baby on the inside anymore but your boobs are on the outside! Keeping yourself healthy by eating a good variety of foods will ensure a stronger, healthier and happier you. And this can only be a good thing for your baby.
Note: breastfed babies who have allergies can react to foods their mother consumes. If your child has eczema or exhibits other allergy signs, consult your GP who can refer you to an allergy specialist.
Absolutely not. Breast milk contains all the water an infant needs, whether it’s hot or cold outside. In fact, in hot weather you may find your little one wants to feed more often. The best thing you can do is keep yourself hydrated and those wonderful breasts will take care of the rest!
Au contraire, the reality is actually the opposite! Once you’ve got in the swing of the breastfeeding thing, you’ll find it takes a lot less time than having to prepare, warm and wash a mountain of bottles. There’s no battalion of bottle paraphernalia you have to pack and drag with you every time you duck out to the shops. Breast milk is always there and ready for your young one whenever she needs it … and at the perfect temperature to boot!
Nada on this one. Breast milk is the ultimate bespoke solution for your baby. Your body automatically produces the right amount, the right mix, at the right time for your little one. Formulas are man-made and generic. No matter how hard they try to mimic breast milk, they simply can’t. A prime example: formulas do not contain antibodies, enzymes or living cells. Booby milk does.
In fact, you should do the opposite. Breast milk is full of antibodies that will actually help your baby when they are sick, particularly if they are vomiting or have diarrhoea. You can stop other foods but make sure you keep up your breast feeds to ensure your little one’s fluid levels remain stable. Of course, if in doubt about the health of your baby at any time, please visit your doctor.
Breastfeeding does hurt at the start, particularly as your nipples get used to constant friction from feeds. If they get grazed, they will hurt all the more until they toughen up. But if pain persists into your feed and beyond the first week or so, there could be a problem. Conversely, if things are going well and you then suddenly get nipple pain, this could indicate a problem. Our Painful Breastfeeding post has a wealth of information on this topic if you experience pain while breastfeeding.
This is one case where size really doesn’t matter! Breast size is dependent on the amount of fatty tissue you have but breast milk is actually made in your glands. The majority of women have the right amount of glandular tissue to produce the right amount of milk for their baby. So no matter if you’re big or small breasted, your milk production will be right for your child in most cases.
Breasts change over time. At the start of your breastfeeding journey, they feel full and hard. It easy to tell when they are empty as they feel soft and slack. However, after a few weeks your breasts adjust to the demands of your baby and become incredibly efficient. That full feeling disappears but that doesn’t mean your milk does too. As long as your baby is feeding well, gaining weight and has lots of wet nappies, chances are things are fine.
No you don’t. If you want to continue breastfeeding through your pregnancy, there is no reason why you can’t. Many mothers the world over breastfeed while pregnant and continue with their toddler when the new baby is born. This is referred to as ‘tandem feeding’.
Your child may notice a change in your milk while you are pregnant due to an increase in hormones and it’s also possible your supply may be reduced. If this happens, your child might wean themselves, but often they’ll happily continue.
We hope you find our articles helpful. As always we provide this information for your reference though it is not professional medical advice - we encourage you to speak to your GP or specialist if you have concerns for your baby’s health.