5 Myths Breastfeeding New Moms Need to Know Now
Breastfeeding Success Series
Are you a soon to be, first time-Mama and interested in breastfeeding your baby? Breastfeeding is an incredible experience! I am currently breastfeeding my third baby and I have to say I love it! The process of breastfeeding has been a wonderful way to bond with all three of my children at the beginning of their lives.
But, breastfeeding is not always easy, and there is not a clear path to success. I’ve compiled a list of 5 myths and truths of breastfeeding from moms in the trenches. Do you believe any of these myths?
(This post is intended and written for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor or a lactation consultant. Please consult with a medical professional before making any decisions/ changes based on what you’ve read here.)
Myth: You’ll drop pregnancy weight quickly by breastfeeding.
This is one of the most common misconceptions among new moms. And it may or may not be the case depending on a number of details such as genetic factors, your daily calorie deficit, your activity level, and your nutrition. But if the scale is not working in your favor, don’t be discouraged.
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Truth: Every mama is different and every postpartum weight loss journey is different.
For instance, I lost weight a lot quicker with my first two babies. With my third, I’m still losing weight, but it’s coming off slower, about a pound at a time, and that’s ok with me.
If you desire to lose weight while breastfeeding, there are a number of things you can do to cut calories while still producing milk, but your focus should be on filling your diet with nutrients which your body craves. Also, invest in a timed water bottle that will help you keep track of your water intake each day. Hydration and weight loss go hand in hand because it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger.
Grab my favorite water bottle here. It’s kept me hydrated throughout my pregnancy and breastfeeding journey.
Myth: Breastfeeding is natural and comes easily.
Please tell me, what is natural about trying to fit a baby’s mouth around a huge nipple and doing that 8-12 times each side in a 24 hour span? Sounds like hard work to me! And there is definitely a learning curve to breastfeeding, especially if this is your first baby.
Truth: Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby will learn together in time.
Although breastfeeding is touted as a “natural” way to feed your baby, it may be anything but that at first. You could have any number of issues like engorgement, low baby birth weight, or latch issues. Breastfeeding can seem like the hardest thing in the world. Plus, it takes up a lot of time! Your baby might spend hours on your breasts- in one session!
For more comfortable nursing sessions, check out this top-rated nursing pillow many moms recommend.
Keep latching and keep learning as you go along. With each week and month you breastfeed, it will get easier and your confidence will improve. Just keep practicing and seek out professional support when you need it.
Check out the La Leche League website which has a wealth of information on breastfeeding!
Myth: Once your supply has tanked, you can’t get it back.
Many moms worry that once your supply of breast milk dips below a certain level, you can no longer feed your baby breast milk and must switch to formula. Try not to fret if you’re not ready to turn to formula just yet.
Truth: You can increase your milk supply, by being diligent about doing things that support lactation.
Here are some ideas you might try to increase your milk output:
- Put your baby to the breast more often. The more she latches, the more it triggers your body to produce milk.
- Try a power pumping session. This is where you pump off and on for an hour, about 10 minutes at a time.
- Include some galactogogues (milk-making foods) in your diet: almond milk, oatmeal, coconut milk and water, hydrating beverages like this one (my favorite!)
- Pump after your baby has eaten from the breasts, especially during the middle of the night.
I am currently working on an eBook that will give you a whole bunch of ideas on making more milk! Look for that very soon.
Related: The one (weird) trick I used to build a great milk supply.
Myth: The hospital nurses know more than you do about your own body and your child’s.
Truth: Trust your intuition when it comes to you and your baby!
I am not hating on nurses because they are incredible and do know a lot, but you also have intuition, especially as a mom. If something doesn’t sound right, do your research and make your own informed decisions. When I was about to be discharged with my third baby (read my birthing story here if you’d like), one of the nurses said some things about postnatal care that had me mentally scratching my head. I politely listened to her, but went with my instinct once I got home with my baby. And guess what? We’re both thriving!
When it comes to your baby, trust your gut, even if you’re a brand new mama!
Myth: Exclusive breastfeeding is a reliable form of birth control.
It’s common to think that if you’re not getting your period in a predictable manner, you can’t get pregnant, especially while nursing. Hate to burst your bubble, but…
Truth: Breastfeeding is not a reliable form of birth control, and you can absolutely still get pregnant while breastfeeding.
This one will get ya if you’re not careful! Many women believe that if they don’t get their periods while breastfeeding, they can’t get pregnant. Wrong! It is true that you can’t reliably tell when you’re ovulating if you don’t have a regular period to mark it by.
Any time you have unprotected sex, you have the potential to get pregnant, even if you’re not having a regular period. The lesson here is to use some form of birth control if you’re not quite ready to get pregnant, just to be safe!
I hope these myths and truths of breastfeeding were helpful to you! Stay tuned for another post in my Breastfeeding Success Series soon.
Which myth did you find most surprising?