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Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start. It has many benefits for babies and mothers. Doctors recommend babies be breastfed for at least the first year of life.
For breastfeeding resources, call I-877-WIC-KIDS or visit your WIC clinic. If you don’t qualify for WIC, we have options to best help you. Please give us a call to see how we can help.
We offer Breastfeeding Education and Support:
- Supports breastfeeding women (lactation educators, breastfeeding peer counselors)
- Promotes breastfeeding as the optimal feeding method
- Provides breastfeeding aids (including pumps)
- Makes referrals to breastfeeding resources in the local community
Myths of breastfeeding
When it comes to breastfeeding, everyone from your family to that nice lady at the bus stop, will give you their two cents worth of advice and opinions. Some of the “wisdom” imparted may be helpful, but chances are a lot of it won’t be. There are so many myths surrounding breastfeeding that it can be hard for a woman to know what’s true or not true. To help you sort through it all, here are the truths behind some of the most common myths.
Myth #1: If you have small breasts, you won’t produce enough milk to feed your baby.
The Truth is: Size doesn’t matter!
The breast tissue you need to nurse a baby grows in response to pregnancy regardless of your breast size. It’s in this so-called functional tissue that the milk ducts are located. Not in the fatty tissue that is responsible for breast size. So rest assured, regardless of your cup size, your body is capable of providing your baby with the milk they need.
Myth #2: You won’t be able to breastfeed if you’ve had breast augmentation or breast reduction surgery.
The Truth is: Not necessarily.
Implants are usually inserted near the armpit or under the breast tissue or chest muscle, which shouldn’t interfere with breastfeeding. On the other hand, whether you will be able to breastfeed after breast-reduction surgery depends on if the nipple is left partially attached during the procedure. If it is left attached and then reattached once the unwanted breast tissue has been removed, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to breastfeed.
Either way, if you have had any type of breast surgery, you should let your pediatrician know so they can keep a close watch on your baby’s weight gain.
Myth #3: You must eat only bland foods while breastfeeding.
The Truth is: Maybe, maybe not.
By the time the foods you eat have been digested and used to make breast milk, the potentially upsetting elements have been broken down and shouldn’t affect your baby at all. If you eat cabbage or broccoli, it’s unlikely that it will make your baby gassy. That being said, there are a few foods that do cross into breast milk and upset some babies’ stomachs. Among them are dairy products, soy, peanuts, fish and shellfish.
Myth #4: You need to nurse every two hours around the clock—no more, no less—to make sure that your baby gets enough to eat.
The Truth is: Babies’ eating patterns are as individual as those of their parents.
That said, Many newborns do tend to naturally fall into an every-two-hours routine. Watch the baby and not the clock’ is what we always emphasize.
If you’re worried that your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, count the number of dirty diapers she has—she should have at least 6-8 wet diapers plus two or three “seedy” stools daily. You can also schedule a weight check with WIC or your pediatrician if you’re worried that your baby isn’t getting enough to eat.
Myth #5: If you give your baby bottles of pumped milk, they will refuse the breast.
The Truth is: Most babies switch between breast and bottle with no problem.
Women who limit their babies to one bottle per day tend to have less of a struggle.
Myth #6: You shouldn’t nurse if you have a blocked duct or breast infection.
The Truth is: Exactly the opposite is true.
The best way to treat a blocked duct is to nurse as often as you can. And the best way to prevent an infection is to clear a blocked duct.
So how do ducts become blocked in the first place? It usually happens when the baby’s nursing patterns change and the breast becomes overfull.For instance, when a baby starts taking longer naps, eating solid foods and sleeping through the night, they may nurse less frequently, which can lead to blocked ducts.
Besides frequent nursing, applying heat—in the form of a heating pad or wet washcloth—before nursing can help clear a duct. Also be sure your bra isn’t too constricting; and avoid underwire bras, as they can compress ducts.
If you do develop a breast infection (symptoms include; redness and soreness in the breast, a fever and flu-like symptoms) see your doctor right away, as you’ll likely need to take antibiotics. However, you can still nurse with a breast infection. It’s not going to hurt your baby.
Myth #7: A breastfed baby won’t sleep through the night until they start eating solids.
The Truth is: Your baby will sleep through the night when they’re ready.
That depends on a number of factors, such as their size, personality and sleeping patterns. That said, breastfed babies DO need to be fed more frequently than formula fed babies in the early months as breastmilk is digested more quickly than formula.
Myth #8: Breastfeeding is a reliable form of birth control.
The truth is: If you’re not ready to be pregnant again, don’t rely on breastfeeding for birth control.
Breastfeeding should not be used as contraception! However, if you’re breastfeeding exclusively (and that means frequently, day and night), your baby is younger than 6 months and if your period hasn’t resumed, then the so-called lactation amenorrhea method can be up to 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. **If all three of those criteria are not met, this method loses it’s effectiveness.**
Myth #9: Once you go back to work, you’ll have to wean.
The truth is: Hogwash!
If you are committed to pumping, you can give your baby breast milk for as long as you wish. This involves pumping at least three times a day when you’re at work—preferably at the same times your baby would normally nurse, until your baby is 6 months old. After that, when they’re eating some solids, you can drop down to twice a day, providing you continue to nurse in the morning and at night. In addition to pumping twice daily, you should be able to maintain an adequate milk supply.
Myth #10: Breastfeeding your child for more than one year makes weaning difficult.
The truth is: There is no evidence that nursing for longer than one year will make weaning more difficult than if you weaned earlier.
It is recommended that you consider weaning only when you and your baby are both ready for it. Babies are individuals, and some just want to nurse longer than others. Some babies give it up on their own at about age 1, while others are content to nurse well past their 2nd birthday. But if you reach a point where you no longer enjoy it, you may want to consider weaning to avoid sending negative messages to your baby.
Myth #11: Your boobs will forever look like tube socks.
The truth is: Some women may notice a change in the shape of their breasts after breastfeeding, but pregnancy, not just nursing, is the culprit.
The breast often doubles in weight during pregnancy, whether or not you breastfeed. Any increased weight puts extra stress on the ligaments that support the breasts, and more stress equals extra sagging. Also, your age, BMI and pre-pregnancy bra size will all affect how likely your breasts are to droop.
Myth #12: It’ll make your baby clingy and dependent.
The truth is: Quite the opposite.
Studies have actually shown that babies who benefit from the attachment of breastfeeding tend to be more independent later in life.
Myth #13: You have to stop if you get sick.
The truth is: Taking a hiatus from breastfeeding won’t protect your little one from your illness.
By the time you feel sick, you’ve already exposed your baby to the infection. Actually, by nursing while you are sick, you pass along protective antibodies that help your little one stay healthy.
Myth #14: You can’t take any medications
The truth is: While some medications are not recommended because they could pass through your breast milk to your baby, many are just fine.
For a full list, visit the Drugs and Lactation Database or you can look on the website MotherToBaby.org, Facebook.com/MotherToBaby or @MotherToBaby on Twitter, which covers many medications and even different foods.
Myth #15: Exercise will turn your milk sour.
The truth is: Not as far as your baby is concerned.
Common belief used to be that workouts produce high levels of lactic acid in breast milk, giving it an unsavory taste. But studies now show that babies don’t notice any difference. One thing that could make them turn up their little noses?… Saltiness left on your skin by sweat. So shower right after your workout.
Myth #16: Weaning is the worst.
The truth is: Don’t stress about it.
It’s understandably challenging to break what’s become a very important bond, but it doesn’t have to be painful or anxiety-provoking. Start by subbing in a bottle of breast milk or formula during your little one’s least favorite feeding, and do it gradually to give both your body and your baby time to adjust.
And lastly, THE myth of all myths… Sore nipples are normal:
Many women believe that sore nipples are an inevitable part of breastfeeding. The truth is, such pain is usually the result of an improper latch—and is therefore entirely preventable. Here’s how to get your baby latched on right.
- Before putting your baby on the breast, position them on their side so they are directly facing you, with their belly touching yours.
- Prop up the baby with a pillow, if necessary, and hold them up to your breast. Don’t lean over toward the baby.
- Place your thumb and fingers around your areola (the dark area around the nipple).
- Tilt your baby’s head back slightly and tickle their lips with your nipple until they open their mouth wide.
- Help them “scoop” the breast into their mouth by placing their lower jaw on the breast first, well below the nipple.
- Tilt their head forward, placing their upper jaw deeply on the breast. Make sure they take the entire nipple and at least 1 1/2 inches of the areola into their mouth.
TriCounty Health Department is committed to raising awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding to assist with increasing the rates of breastfeeding in our community. TriCounty Health Dept. has WIC staff that can offer all kinds of breastfeeding aids, tools and advice. We also have nurses that are available to help with breastfeeding problems, even if you are not on WIC. Give us a call so we can arrange a time to work with you.