Breastfeeding: myths and realities. Learn what’s true and what’s false!
Breastfeeding is surrounded by things “people say” Are you feeling a little lost in all the experiences, often contradictory, that people have shared with you? It’s time to learn what’s true and what’s false!
Everyone knows that breastfeeding ruins the shape of your breasts - FALSE If breastfeeding is going well, engorgement is avoided and weaning is gradual, the breasts will be much more likely to maintain their shape than if you suddenly cut off the milk supply after childbirth! To keep your bust beautiful, the most important thing is to avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy and to pamper your breasts daily with a firming product designed for pregnancy, stimulating the support tissues to prevent the skin from slackening due to the sudden variations in size. While breastfeeding, continue to apply daily skincare treatments to your bust and opt for a good nursing bra that offers support without compression.
If you have small breasts, you don’t produce enough milk - FALSE Although the wet nurses once hired by gentlewomen to breastfeed their babies were known for their generous bosoms, the mammary gland is approximately the same size in all women. So breast size has nothing to do with the quantity of milk produced. Lactation also depends mainly on your baby’s appetite: the more he nurses, the more milk you’ll produce, even as a “small 32A”!
Breast milk often isn’t nourishing enough - FALSE Mother’s milk is never bad, too thin or not nourishing enough. If your baby is not gaining enough weight, it may be caused by the baby latching on to the breast incorrectly. Like all new mothers, you may also experience temporary declines in milk production due to such factors as fatigue or strong emotions. Don’t panic: simply nurse your baby as often and as long as possible and rest as much as you can. Your milk supply will quickly return to normal.
Breastfeeding prevents you from losing your pregnancy weight - FALSE On the contrary, milk production burns a large portion of the daily calories you consume. If you take care to eat a healthy diet and a reasonable quantity, breastfeeding can only help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy more quickly.
Breastfeeding is always exhausting for the mother - FALSE There’s nothing tiring about breastfeeding itself. As long as you and your baby are both comfortably settled, nursing doesn’t require any particular physical fitness. If you feel tired, you can blame most of the dip in energy on the upheaval in your body and the emotion of your child’s birth. Or maybe you’re trying to do too much? This is no time to play Superwoman! At home, ask for help from the father, and your family and friends. Then sit back and take advantage of the soothing hormones secreted during breastfeeding!
You can sleep with your baby for easier feedings - TRUE Breastfeeding benefits when the baby and mother are close to each other, and nighttime feedings are much easier when the baby is lying at your side. It’s important, however, to follow certain safety guidelines when your baby sleeps in your bed, including: no comforter on the baby, no pillow under his head, a firm mattress and no risk of falling, etc. Other options including placing your baby’s crib or bassinet next to your bed or using a special co-sleeper bassinet, which attaches to the side of the parents’ bed.
Night feeds make breastfeeding easier in general - TRUE No matter how many mothers encourage you to get your baby to “sleep through the night” as early as possible, try to resist the pressure! Actually, most newborns need to nurse at night during their first few months. In addition, nighttime nursing helps start and maintain an ample milk supply by avoiding too much time between feedings.
Flat or misshapen nipples make breastfeeding impossible - FALSE Babies always manage to nurse whatever type of breasts their mother may have. Simply make sure to place your baby in the right position facing your breast. If the baby really has trouble latching on to your breast – because, for example, it’s too swollen with milk – then gently massage the nipple to soften it and express a little milk before presenting it to your infant.
Breastfeeding for less than 6 months is useless - FALSE Although health authorities and many pediatricians recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies for up to 6 months, it all depends on your desire and availability. Giving baby the breast, even for a short time, will benefit your health and baby’s. When you go back to work, you can continue breastfeeding in the morning and evening and on the weekend. But it depends on your baby, too! Some may quickly make it clear that they want to be independent, while others keep asking for their mother’s breast much longer. The father’s role should also be considered, since the longer breastfeeding continues, the more he may feel excluded.
Breastfeeding can be painful - TRUE But in most cases, pain is caused by your baby being in a poor position while nursing. For the first week, your nipples may feel sensitive; this is normal and temporary. If pain continues, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician or midwife.
Breastfeeding does not eliminate the need for contraception - TRUE As long as you breastfeed exclusively, your period won’t come back and there’s no need to worry. Well, theoretically... But your period may return while you’re still breastfeeding, and ovulation can take place before your first period. So unless you want to get pregnant again immediately, plan to use contraception. Talk about it with your doctor or midwife.
You can’t breastfeed while taking medication - FALSE Many medications are compatible with breastfeeding. Your doctor’s job is to deliver you the right prescriptions. But make sure you’re not self-medicating on the side! Always ask your doctor, midwife, or pharmacist before taking any treatment that could cause problems, depending on your baby’s age.