Is there a know it all in your family or circle of friends who keeps telling you that you need to do this or that with your nursling? The next time someone tells you a breastfeeding myth, just pull out Breastfeeding for Dummies, and show it to them.
Myth: Your Breastfed baby needs to drink water.
The truth: A breastfed baby does not need to drink any extra water, because breast milk does not contain the higher concentrations of salts and minerals that formula does (extra water is sometimes required to help the kidneys excrete this extra salt in formula-fed babies). Breastfed babies also have more efficient metabolisms than formula-fed babies, and so lose less water.
Giving bottles of water can also cause nipple confusion, and can lessen the babies’ desire to breastfeed, which can lead to a decrease in supply.
A breastfed baby’s thirst can be quenched by more frequent nursing in which the baby takes just the watery foremilk, without filling up on the creamier hind milk.
Myth: You need to use formula if you go back to work.
The truth: Working and breastfeeding is possible. There are just certain things you must keep in mind. 6 weeks prior to returning to work, is a good time to start establishing a good milk supply. Find a way to express your milk that is comfortable for you. Speak with a LLC or your local LLL if you are having problems, but the key is to continue breastfeeding.
Many companies make it easy for you to express milk and make you comfortable with your nursing experience. Recent studies show that breastfeed babies have a 35% fewer illness rate then formula fed babies, resulting in 27% less ‘sick’ days for moms. Mothers have a right to breastfeed. Explain to your boss or manager that you will breastfeed. Your company cannot deny you of that. If for any reason you have any problems, explain that the United States and other countries, signed the Innocenti Decleration in 1990, stating that every mother or working mother has a right to breastfeed. Contact your local LLL or LLC for more information.
Myth: Feeding on demand is spoiling
The truth: A babies stomach is about the size of their fist. So, a newborn has a stomach that will hold about a tablespoon. Breast milk is the easiest digested food that is available. It does not take long for that tablespoon of milk to leave the stomach, and then there are hunger signs again. Think of it this way…when is the last time that you have gone three hours at a stretch without a drink of water, a mint, a piece of gum, a cup of coffee? Why should you expect a baby to be able to? Feeding when the baby is hungry is not spoiling, it’s parenting.
Myth: It’s safe to smoke if you breastfeed.
The truth: No! The only thing good about smoking when you breastfeed is that it’s better to smoke and nurse, than it is to formula feed…smoking or not.
Every time you inhale a cigarette you are lowering your Prolactin levels. Prolactin stimulates healthy milk production, and your body needs this!
Over half of women who smoke 4 or more cigarettes a day deal with low supply, and their babies wean earlier than normal. Nicotine does enter into your milk and it take at least 95 minutes for only half the nicotine to leave your body, so please wait at least that long before you nurse your baby, and NEVER smoke in your car, home or near your baby.
If you choose not to stop smoking, then using nicotine replacements are safe for the nursing mother, but ONLY if you not smoke cigarettes while you use them. If you use ‘the patch’ as a nicotine replacement, then make sure you remove it at night. Please be aware that chances of SIDS are 40% lower for babies of mother’s who do not smoke.
Myth: A nursing mother will need to supplement with formula every now and then.
The truth: There is absolutely no reason to supplement with formula ever. If mom wants to have the option for someone else to feed the baby, she can always express her breast milk.
Myth: You need to stop nursing when baby gets teeth.
The truth: Babies cannot nurse and bite at the same time – it’s impossible. So a baby can (and so many are!) continue breastfeeding long after they have teeth.
Myth: If you drink alcohol, then you need to ‘Pump and Dump’.
The truth: The need to ‘Pump and Dump’ is out-dated advice. Alcohol leaves your milk the same way it leaves your blood. It gets metabolized and leaves your milk and blood via sweat, urine and breath. This is a natural occurrence and no amount of pumping can hurry it along. At best, the only thing pumping will do help relieve you if you become engorged from a missed feeding.