7 Myths About Breastfeeding
Here's the truth behind some common myths about nursing a baby.
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.
Use it for one or two feedings a day. Your baby will
develop the skills necessary to bottle feed without losing the ability to feed
at the breast. Use your own milk when trying the bottle, and hold your baby
close to your body to cuddle. It's the bonding time that matters almost as much
as the actual feeding.
Myth # 5: Breastfeeding changes the shape and size
of your breast, or reduces sensitivity.
Fact: While pregnancy does somewhat alter the
look and feel of your breasts, experts say breastfeeding does not cause any
changes beyond that. "This is all pretty much old wives'
In fact, "breastfeeding can actually help protect
your breasts," says lactation consultant Linda M. Hanna, IBCLC, with
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Indeed, studies show that women who
breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast cancer later in
Myth # 6: Never wake a sleeping baby to
Fact: Most of the time your baby will wake you
-- and be ready to eat -- every two-and-a-half to three hours. However, your
baby may feed vigorously for two or three hours -- known as "cluster
feedings" -- then sleep a longer than usual.
"It's okay to let them sleep a little longer than
usual, but you should never have more than one four-and-a-half-hour period of
sleeping per day," says Sternum. If your baby is regularly sleeping through
feeding time, wake baby when it's time to eat. It's important for your baby to
feed on schedule, and you need to express milk on schedule to keep up a good
Myth # 7:Breastfeeding prevents you from getting