7 Myths About Breastfeeding
Here's the truth behind some common myths about nursing a baby.
All a mother needs to do is mention she's breastfeeding, and instantly, everyone seems to have an
opinion or a piece of advice. While you can pick up a few pointers from
well-meaning friends and relatives, too often the wrong information is passed
along -- sometimes through several generations.
"Although we encourage breastfeeding moms to share
their experiences and support one another, some of the information is not
altogether accurate. And sometimes, the wrong information can get passed from
one woman to the next," says Katy Lebbing, IBCLC, manager of the
breastfeeding resource organization La Leche League International.
To help you tell fact from fiction, here are seven of
the most common breastfeeding myths:
Myth #1. If babies feed a lot, that means they
aren't getting enough milk.
Fact: Because breast milk is so easy to digest,
babies generally get hungrier sooner than if they are formula-fed. It's
appropriate for your breastfeeding newborn baby to eat every two to three
hours, says Lebbing.
Myth # 2. Giving the breast a nursing
"rest" can help ensure more milk.
Fact: The more you nurse, the more milk you
make. Breaking your regular nursing schedule to "rest" the breast
actually may decrease your milk supply, says Lebbing.
This myth got started, she says, because skipping a
feeding or pumping during the day results in greater supply of milk at night.
But by the next day you will have less milk if you skip a feeding. "The
only way to ensure a steady supply is to keep expressing milk as regularly as
you can," says Lebbing. You should nurse at least nine to 10 times a day to
ensure milk production.
Myth # 3. Formula fed babies sleep
that babies fed on formula do not sleep better, although they may sleep longer.
"Because bottle milk doesn't get digested as quickly, it may be a longer
stretch between feedings so your baby may sleep longer," says Pat Sternum,
RN, IBCLC, a lactation counselor at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York
But there's a downside. Formula remains in the baby's
system longer, so it begins to ferment, she says. This results in what she
calls "ultra-stinky poop!" Breastfed babies typically start sleeping
longer at 4 weeks old and soon are sleeping the same amount of time as
Myth # 4: Nursing babies shouldn't take an
occasional bottle or they may become confused and stop eating.
Fact: Babies suck on a nipple, but suckle at the
breast. The difference between the two actions rarely will confuse your little
one, says Sternum. If you think you need to supplement your baby's feedings
(particularly if you plan to return to work before you finish nursing), then
you should introduce baby to a bottle between 2 to 6 weeks of age.