5 Breastfeeding Myths We’re Dying To Debunk
There is so much to be said about breastfeeding. It’s one of the most beneficial things you can do for your baby’s development; it provides health benefits for the mother, is sustainable, and is truly nature’s perfect food. But with all the facts shared about the wonders of breastfeeding also comes the fiction.
In fact, some of the most touted risks and benefits of breastfeeding simply aren’t true, and yet they still remain prevalent in the media and mouths of well-intentioned family and friends.
How many of these breastfeeding myths have you heard before?
You Can’t Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding
Do you still believe this common breastfeeding myth? I’m sure a mom of 2 under two would happily debunk it for you! All jokes aside, whether it’s a planned pregnancy while nursing or you’re greeted with an unexpected surprise- YES, you most certainly can get pregnant while nursing.
With that being said, some moms may experience a time of delayed fertility during breastfeeding. This is known as the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of contraception. This method may be applicable (but not guaranteed) for mothers who have not yet had their period return, exclusively breastfeed and have babies under six months old.
Breastfeeding Makes You Lose Weight
Breastfeeding burns about 500-700 calories per day to fuel your breastmilk production. That is comparable to a pretty sweaty session at the gym! So with all those extra calories being burned, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll shed some extra pounds, right? Not exactly.
Weight loss happens when you are in a calorie deficit, meaning you currently burn more calories than you consume. So if you are someone who experiences an increased appetite while breastfeeding, you may not be in a calorie deficit and may maintain your current weight or even gain weight if you begin eating in a calorie surplus.
On the contrary, if breastfeeding suppresses your appetite, burning an extra 500-700 calories daily can put you in a dramatic deficit, and you may lose a significant amount of weight.
Other factors that may impact whether or not you lose weight while breastfeeding includes your pre-pregnancy weight and physical activity level.
You Shouldn’t Breastfeed When You’re Sick
Not only is this myth untrue- it’s the opposite! Breastfeeding while sick allows you to pass valuable antibodies to your baby via your breast milk, which helps protect them from becoming infected themselves. This includes common illnesses such as colds, sore throats, stomach bugs, fevers, mastitis and food poisoning.
However, if you are taking any medications, it is essential to check with your doctor, pharmacist, or pediatrician to ensure that they are safe and compatible with breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding After 6 Months Isn’t of Nutritional Value
While it’s correct that the composition of your breastmilk is constantly changing, this common myth is simply untrue. Although many parents decide to introduce solid foods at six months, this will only satisfy a tiny portion of your baby’s caloric and nutritional needs. The rest of their daily requirements will still need to be provided through breast milk or supplemented through formula to ensure healthy development.
Furthermore, your breast milk will not lose any of its protective properties and will continue to produce antibodies to protect your baby from illness for as long as you breastfeed.
Your Breast Size Determines Your Milk Production
Your breast size is determined by how much fatty tissue your breasts are comprised of—the larger your breasts, the more fatty tissue they contain. However, breast milk is produced from glandular tissue within the breasts- not fat. Therefore, your milk supply is NOT determined by breast size but rather by how much and often your baby feeds. This is because breastfeeding operates on a system of supply and demand.