5 MORE Breastfeeding Myths We Just HAD to Debunk
At Latched Mama, where we have Lactation Counselors on staff and willing to help, we get questions nearly every day from worried mamas who need breastfeeding support! We love helping these sweet mamas, and we often get questions related to these common breastfeeding myths. Not everything you hear about nursing your baby is true, and no matter how well-meaning, not all advice is good advice! Here are some of the most common misconceptions we come across:
This is a big one. Many mamas are concerned about the medications they take entering their breastmilk and affecting their baby. Whether it is a daily antidepressant that you’ve been prescribed or an unplanned medical procedure requiring anesthesia, there are many instances in which it is perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding! Check with your doctor and consult the helpful LactMed database to determine whether continuing to breastfeed your little one is right for you! Often, if your regular medication isn’t safe there is an alternative that is compatible with nursing.
Pumping is a Good Way to See How Much Milk You’re Making
We have heard from many mamas who are worried about their milk supply, and many of them tend to use their pumping output as a gauge for how much milk baby is getting during a feeding. The reality is that baby’s latch and sucking is much more efficient than even the best pump! There is just no substitute for the real thing. Better ways to make sure your baby is eating enough are to check to make sure they’re having enough wet and dirty diapers, ensuring their growth and weight gain are on track, and keeping an eye on baby’s demeanor after a feeding. When baby comes off the breast, are they sleepy and satisfied, or tense and fussy? If your baby is relaxed after a feeding, chances are they’ve had enough! Don’t overthink it, mama!
Eating Certain Things will Boost Your Milk Supply
We’ve all heard the rumors: sports drinks, oatmeal, lactation cookies…they sound like great and easy ways to boost milk supply. Unfortunately, research shows that there is little evidence that any of these championed “galactagogues” does much if anything to support those rumors. In fact, the only proven way to increase the amount of milk your breasts make is by increasing the amount of stimulation they receive! Breastmilk production functions on a supply/demand curve, meaning that the more milk your breasts are “asked” to make, the more they will produce! Instead of reaching for an unproven supplement, things like feeding baby on demand and power pumping can give you that extra boost you’re hoping for!
You Won’t be Able to Breastfeed if you have Flat or Inverted Nipples
As a new or expectant mama with flat or inverted nipples, it can seem impossible that you’d be able to nurse your baby from the breast–but that’s just not true! In reality, baby takes more than just the nipple into their mouth when they are latched properly: in fact, they’ll take a good portion of your areola (the darkened area surrounding the nipple) into their mouth as well. In most cases, even mamas with flat/inverted nipples can breastfeed with a good latch! The suction that baby will produce when latched to the breast is often strong enough to pull the nipple out during a feeding. You may need a little bit of extra coaching from a trusted lactation counselor, but this is a very common issue and it doesn’t have to mean the end of your breastfeeding journey!
You’ll Have to Wean When You Go Back to Work
We’ve coached many mamas through the back-to-work transition, as certified lactation counselors! It is possible and common to continue breastfeeding even when you go back to the office. There are many things you can do to make this transition as smooth and easy as possible (although we know it’s never easy to be away from your little one)! Parents can work with caregivers and employers to make sure everyone wins in this situation. Speaking to your caregivers about paced bottle feeding, the unique needs of breastfeeding babies, and your baby’s specific routine can help caregivers to support you! When you’re at work, know your rights! The PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act guarantees that moms are allowed breaks and a private, designated place to pump (NOT a closet or bathroom)! Try to take pump breaks whenever baby would normally feed from the breast when you are at home. When you are reunited with your baby after work, breastfeed on demand and make sure to get lots of cuddles and skin-to-skin time! It may take a little extra work and some adjustment time, but you’ll get into a routine that works for both you and baby. And, if you do find yourself needing to supplement baby’s feeds with formula or donor milk, that doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding! Any breastmilk you can provide for your baby will be beneficial!
There is so much information out there about breastfeeding, and it can be hard to know what to believe! If you’re ever unsure, reach out to a trusted Lactation Counselor, or email us here at Latched Mama! We have several Certified Lactation Counselors on staff every day, and we are always happy to help. Remember, you can do this, mama! You’re doing great!