Breastfeeding myths and other falsities about motherhood abound, and many new moms deal with opinions and judgments from every direction. False statements about motherhood can add unnecessary pressure, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the breastfeeding journey so you don’t set unrealistic expectations. We’re disproving some of the most common breastfeeding myths below to clear the air once and for all.
Breastfeeding Myth #1: Breastfeeding should come naturally to moms and babies
Although breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not completely intuitive. There is often a learning curve for both moms and babies. From finding a comfortable position to helping your baby get the right latch, breastfeeding has certain challenges that take some time and practice. When breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally, or if your mama-instincts are telling you something isn’t going right, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from other moms or talk with your doctor. Plus, there are professional lactation consultants for a reason!
Breastfeeding Myth #2: Breast pain is normal and unavoidable
Not true! Although those first few weeks of breastfeeding can be uncomfortable as you get used to milk coming in and as your little one practices their latch, you should not be in pain. A correct latch and the right positioning should allow your little one to breastfeed without causing you pain. Conditions like mastitis or sore nipples can occasionally occur during successful breastfeeding. If these painful problems are consistent, moms should probably check with their obstetrician or a lactation consultant to find a solution. A breast pump is also a helpful alternative for moms who have a little one struggling to latch.
Breastfeeding Myth #3: Moms should limit their diets when breastfeeding to help lose baby weight
As celebrities show off their weight loss after pregnancy, many moms feel pressure to lose the baby weight. This is another one of those breastfeeding myths. Focusing on losing weight by limiting your diet is not what’s best for you or your little one. Producing breast milk requires a lot of energy. Instead of reducing the amount you eat, experts actually recommend consuming an additional 450-500 calories each day. It is also important for breastfeeding moms to consume a balanced diet with foods full of vitamins and minerals that will transfer to your baby through breast milk. Moms struggling with their breast milk supply can also add certain foods to their diet to help promote an increased supply.
Breastfeeding Myth #4: Using a breast pump limits attachment between moms and babies
Skin-to-skin contact is essential for developing attachment between moms and newborns. This intimate contact promotes healthy bonding and is a good first step for getting babies ready to breastfeed. But opportunities for skin-to-skin connection are not limited to only breastfeeding. Moms can cuddle with their little ones as much as they want and still help their baby develop a healthy attachment even if they use a breast pump. Moms often use breast pumps to gain a little more flexibility throughout the breastfeeding journey, but those worried about attachment can still take advantage of skin-to-skin time during a pumping session.
Breastfeeding Myth #5: It’s best to breastfeed on a strict schedule every few hours
Babies are unpredictable, and many new moms may want to turn to a reliable plan for feedings to regain some control. While a consistent feeding schedule may seem best for infants in theory, most babies do not need or want to be fed on a strict schedule. Experts recommend breastfeeding based on your little one’s needs rather than sticking to an immovable timeline. Babies have signs they can use, including crying or whining, to let you know when they are hungry or full. Responding flexibly to their needs leads to a happy and healthy baby before and after feedings.
Breastfeeding is tough enough–let’s not further complicate things with breastfeeding myths. Be patient with yourself and your little one, stay in touch with your doctor, and remember that practice makes perfect. You’ve got this, mama!
Whether you are new to breastfeeding or a latching master, the team at Pumps for Mom can help you find the right insurance breast pump for you. With our simple qualification form and our wide variety of breast pump brands, moms pick their favorite pump and leave the rest to us. We can verify your prescription from your doctor and make sure your breast pump is covered by your insurance. You can focus on what’s most important–your baby. Explore our insurance breast pumps and order yours today with Pumps for Mom.