Blame it on the internet or blame it on the “mommy wars”, lately it seems like everyone has something to say to new moms who are breastfeeding. There are moms getting called out for nursing in public and moms getting shamed for using a bottle. Worst of all, in my opinion, are the number of self-proclaimed experts passing out advice that may or may not be true.
Since so many people with a limited amount of breastfeeding knowledge are anxious to share their opinion on the best way to feed your baby, myths about breastfeeding and your milk supply are easily spread and adopted as fact. It is time to clear those myths up once and for all so you can ignore the guilt and worries and get back to enjoying caring for your baby.
Myth #1: If Your Baby Eats Frequently, Your Milk Supply is Low
A baby who eats frequently is definitely exhausting, but this behavior isn’t necessarily a sign that your milk supply is low. There are so many reasons a baby might choose to nurse every hour, hour and a half or two hours. Infants often nurse frequently if they are going through a growth spurt, if they aren’t feeling well or simply want to be near you.
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Myth #2: If Your Baby Spits Up Alot, They’re Allergic to Your Milk
It isn’t uncommon to hear a mom say she is thinking about weaning because her baby spits up so much and she believes he is allergic to her milk. The truth is, many babies spit up simply because their digestive tract is still developing. As long as the baby isn’t in pain while spitting up and continues to gain weight appropriately, mom doesn’t need to worry about her baby spitting up.
Myth #3: If I Drink Alcohol or Caffeine, I Have to Pump and Dump
Breastmilk is a precious commodity and that’s why I feel so sad when I hear that a mom is pumping and dumping her milk after a single glass of wine. The most recent research suggests there is no reason to worry about feeding your baby after an evening of light drinking. The new advice is, if you are safe to drive you are also safe to nurse. When it comes to caffeine, mom should avoid drinking in excess, but shouldn’t worry about a single cup of coffee in the morning.
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Myth #4: Breastfeeding on a Strict Schedule is Best for My Supply and My Baby
Thanks to popular sleep training methods, many first time moms believe that it is their job to teach their baby to eat on a very strict schedule. Some experts even suggest that it is better for mom’s supply to avoid frequent nursing. The truth is, babies are born with the ability to know when they are are hungry and following their cues is the best way to maintain healthy weight gain and a great milk supply. This may mean your baby will feed frequently at first, but as the baby grows older you will start to notice you are falling into a more manageable rhythm.
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Myth #5: If My Baby Wakes At Night, My Milk Supply is Low
Breastmilk is digested more quickly than formula, within two hours of eating is what most research suggests. If your baby is waking frequently at night, this doesn’t necessarily mean you are not producing enough milk. Night wakings are a normal part of infant behavior and could be caused by hunger, need for comfort, they are hitting a growth spurt or milestone or they are adopting reverse cycle, the habit of nursing more frequently at night than during the day.
Typically, counting wet and dirty diapers and watching weight gain is they best way to figure out if your baby is eating enough milk. If you have concerns about your milk supply, avoid the advice of friends and family and make an appointment with a certified lactation consultant. Only someone with professional training can help you determine the causes behind your infant's behavior or suggest tips for adapting to a difficult behavior that is a normal part of infant growth and development.
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