Breastfeeding Myths you should Ignore
With pregnancy and motherhood comes a lot of unsolicited advice… it can be hard to filter what is true and what isn’t…We have gathered the 5 most common misconceptions about breastfeeding.
Myth: If baby is feeding regularly, you’re not producing enough milk
Breast milk and most formulas contain the proteins whey and casein. Breast milk contains more whey, which is easier to digest (and therefore babies digest it faster) than casein. Formula contains more casein, which babies digest more slowly (ref).
As a result, Breast milk is digested faster than formula, so your baby will be hungrier more often than they would be if they received formula. It’s perfectly normal for a breastfed baby to space out their feedings only two or three hours apart. It doesn’t mean they aren’t getting enough milk. Babies also go through growth spurts, where they will need to nurse more often than usual (known as Cluster feeding), sometimes as often as every hour. (ref).
Myth: Breastfeeding is natural, so will be easy
Yes, breastfeeding is a natural act between mother and baby, although that doesn’t mean that it is easy! Many women have a difficult start to their breastfeeding journey and it is quite common for women to seek out help from health professionals and lactation consultants.
Some of the issues faced may be about the baby’s latch, breast/nipple pain or low milk supply
Myth: Small breasts don’t make as much milk
This is not true.
A common worry among women with small breasts is whether or not they will be able to breastfeed. They may even hear from friends or family that because of their breast size, they won't make enough breast milk. That's a myth, and it's just not true. Women with small breasts can absolutely breastfeed and produce a healthy breast milk supply for their child.(ref)
Myth: You can't get Pregnant when Breastfeeding
You can get pregnant while nursing.
However, many mums experience a time of delayed fertility during breastfeeding and often will go months without a period. This is very common and is referred to in many places as the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of contraception, although there are a few requirements, such as amount of feeding and baby’s age, in order to make it affective (ref).
So if you’re not looking to grow your family at this time, best to speak to your partner and healthcare provider about other contraception methods.
Myth: “Breast is best”
This is a tricky one, and quite controversial. While there is no disputing the benefits of breastmilk to a baby (ref), the mother’s wellbeing is equally as important as the babies and it might be the case that formula feeding is best for both the mother and the child.
So what is “best” for baby will depend on what is best for the baby and the mother.
If you’re breastfeeding and needing some guidance or additional support, be sure to check our\t some of the resources below.
- NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide
- Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative
- Blissis a special-care baby charity that provides vital support and care to premature and sick babies across the UK
- The Breastfeeding Networkprovides breastfeeding support and information
- La Leche Leagueoffers mother-to-mother support with breastfeeding
- The Lactation Consultants of Great Britaincan help you find a lactation consultant near you
- The Twins Trusthas information about feeding twins and triplets
- The National Childbirth Trust(NCT) is a charity that provides information and support on all aspects of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, including breastfeeding
- The UK Association for Milk Banking has information about using donated breastmilk if your baby is premature or ill, and how to donate breastmilk
- Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline – get support via email firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook
Helplines and one-to-one support
These are a few of the helplines that offer breastfeeding support:
- National Breastfeeding Helpline – 0300 100 0212
- The Breastfeeding Network supporter line in Bengali and Sylheti – 0300 456 2421
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers – 0300 330 5453
- La Leche League – 0345 120 2918
- NCT – 0300 330 0700