The following is a guest post by Jennifer Buchanan, blogger and nurse care manager in the Institute for Maternal-Fetal Health at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
When I heard breastfeeding was a common topic of discussion on ModernMom, I couldn’t wait to help. As a nurse, I partner with new moms on a daily basis on how to breastfeed and help answer their troubling breastfeeding questions. Especially with all the mixed messages on the Internet and in the media, there is a lot of information available and much of it can be confusing to new mommies.
Continue reading while I debunk myths about breastfeeding and set the record straight:
Myth #1: Babies naturally know how to breastfeed.
Fact: Your baby is born with infant reflexes that can help with breastfeeding – like a suck reflex and a rooting reflex. The suck reflex is the baby’s instinct to suck anything that touches the roof of their mouth. The rooting reflex is when the baby turns their head towards any stroking on the cheek or the mouth. Although your baby is born with these natural instincts, they do not guarantee breastfeeding success. Breastfeeding has to be learned and practiced by both baby and mommy.
Myth #2: You can’t breastfeed if the size and shape of your nipples is not perfect.
Fact: Every woman has different sized and shaped breasts and nipples. There is no “perfect” breast for breastfeeding.
Myth #3: You have to drink milk to make milk.
Fact: Whether a mother drinks milk really has nothing to do with her breast milk supply. It is, however, important for the mother to remain hydrated with any form of liquid and consume a well-rounded, healthy diet. The body will draw the necessary nutrients from her body to add to her breast milk.
Myth #4: Breastfeeding always hurts.
Fact: Breastfeeding should rarely hurt. Your nipples may become sensitive when you start breastfeeding because of an increased hormone level after delivery and increased contact with your baby during feeding. Although nipple sensitivity is normal, nipple pain is not normal and should be evaluated by a lactation consultant to determine the cause. The most common cause for painful nipples is an incorrect latch or position and can be lessened with the help of a lactation professional.
Myth #5: Many women do not make enough breast milk.
Fact: Most women make enough milk for their baby. There are many women who think they don’t make enough breast milk for their baby’s needs.
Instead of focusing on the size of your breasts, or the fullness you feel, pay attention to these signs that breastfeeding is going well for you and your baby:
- By the time your baby is four days old, they should have at least six wet diapers each 24 hour period.
- By the time your baby is four days old, they should have at least three or more poopy diapers, with yellowish colored poop.
- Your baby’s urine is pale and diluted.
- Your baby is breastfeeding at least eight times in a 24-hour period.
- Your baby regains their birth weight by 10 to 14 days old.
- Your baby is gaining about four to eight ounces per week.
- During a feeding, you should be able to see and hear the baby swallow.
- During a feeding, your baby should have a rhythmic suckling pattern.