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Breastmilk. Every Ounce Counts.

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MYTH VS. FACTS

Breastfeeding is different for everyone and can be hard at times. The good news: we are here to make it easy to get the information you need when you need it most. With so much information out there, we have gathered a few common myths and facts that can help you along the way.

The First Few Days Breasts and Discomfort Why Breastmilk Milk Supply Support & Mom's Health Bottlefeeding & Pumping Sleep for Mom & Baby View All Myths

MYTH: You’ll know in the first day or two whether breastfeeding works for you. It shouldn’t be that hard.

Breastfeeding takes practice, and the early days can sometimes be a challenge. Each mom and baby team is unique, and it takes time to figure out what works best. The first few days — or weeks — are a time where you and your baby are learning about each other. Look at it like practice and soon enough, you’ll get comfortable and establish a rhythm. Lean on your friends and family who support your breastfeeding efforts, and reach out to community support programs like your local WIC office or the Lactation Support Hotline (855-550-6667). Don’t give up—you are learning together!

MYTH: Breastfeeding is painful.

While breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, it’s common for your breasts and nipples to feel sore and tender for a few days while your body adjusts to nursing. If you feel any pain or discomfort, get help from a lactation consultant who can figure out the issues and guide you and your baby through latching and breastfeeding positions.

MYTH: You won’t make enough breastmilk in the first few days.

The milk you make in those early days is called colostrum or “liquid gold.” This milk is packed with all the nutrients your baby needs. It is small in volume but enough to keep your newborn's tiny tummy full. Nursing every time your baby is hungry will help to ensure your baby is getting enough and will also build your milk supply.

MYTH: Breastfeeding makes it harder for Dad and other family members to bond with the baby.

New moms and their babies need everyone’s love and support, and there are many ways that support people can help. One way for family members to strengthen their bond with baby is to hold baby skin-to-skin. This powerful touch has so many benefits, including keeping babies calm and comforted. Once breastfeeding is going well (around four weeks postpartum), many moms choose to pump their milk and let their partner give the baby a bottle.

MYTH: Breastfeeding in front of people is rude. No one else should see that.

There is absolutely no shame in feeding your hungry baby — anytime, anyplace. If you prefer, you can use a lightweight blanket as a cover. However, you don’t have to cover up. The law says you can breastfeed in public anywhere you are allowed to be, including restaurants and parks. Go for it!

MYTH: Breastfeeding is hard work and takes too much time and energy.

Breastfeeding does take time and energy, but think of the break you get by not having to prepare formula, especially in the middle of the night! There is no water to boil, no bottles to clean and sterilize, and no formula to mix and get to the right temperature. When you breastfeed, you have breastmilk available in the right amount and at the right temperature whenever your baby is ready to eat.

MYTH: Once a baby takes a bottle, she won’t go back to the breast.

All babies are different. Most breastfed babies will switch back and forth between breast and bottle without any problem. A few may start to prefer one over the other. If this happens, reach out to your local WIC office or the Lactation Support Hotline (855-550-6667) for help.

MYTH: It’s all or nothing—you can’t do both breast and bottle.

Many women have the goal of exclusively breastfeeding, but plans can change for many reasons. Adding formula to your baby’s diet doesn’t mean breastfeeding has to end. Work with your WIC office or a lactation consultant and your pediatrician to determine how much breastmilk and formula your growing baby needs throughout her first year. Remember, every ounce counts!

MYTH: Using formula won’t affect your milk supply.

Replacing a feeding at the breast with formula can impact your milk supply and may be a little harder on your baby’s tummy. For the first 4 to 6 weeks, feedings should primarily be at the breast to build and protect your milk supply. If you need to skip a breastfeeding session, be sure you replace it with a pumping session. If you regularly supplement breastfeeding with formula, work with your WIC office or a lactation consultant to help build and protect your milk supply.

MYTH: Moms who breastfeed don’t get enough sleep.

Research shows that breastfeeding moms actually get more sleep! You don’t have to go to the kitchen to prepare a bottle. When you breastfeed, your milk is readily available at the right amount and temperature for your baby.

MYTH: You can’t take medicine if you breastfeed.

Many medications are safe to take while you are breastfeeding. To make sure your medication is safe, visit InfantRisk.com or call their hotline at 806-352-2519 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Be sure to let your doctor and pharmacist know you are breastfeeding.

MYTH: All moms feel happy and blissful in the days after giving birth.

Many new moms, up to 80 percent of them in fact, actually feel sad, stressed and overwhelmed in the days after birth — this is called “the baby blues.” A mom with the baby blues may also have decreased appetite, irritability and anxiety. These symptoms tend to get better on their own before the end of the second week.

If the symptoms do not get better or become worse, contact your OBGYN to talk about postpartum depression and anxiety. Caused by a combination of hormonal shifts, lack of sleep and the adjustment to becoming a parent, postpartum depression can be treated with breastfeeding-safe medications and counseling.

MYTH: If my baby cries, it probably means I’m not making enough milk.

Babies cry to communicate. While they may be hungry, babies also cry if they are too hot, too cold, have a dirty diaper, feel overstimulated, are tired or just want to be held. If your baby seems to be crying more than you think is normal or you feel your baby is not getting enough to eat, call your pediatrician and then call the free 24/7 Texas Lactation Hotline to get help with feeding. 855-550-6667.

MYTH: If you smoke, you can’t breastfeed.

While it is best to stay smoke-free while breastfeeding, your milk is still better for baby than formula, even if you do smoke. Your breastmilk will help protect your baby from illnesses that formula cannot. If you smoke, do so right after a feeding rather than right before. There are more risks to babies from breathing in secondhand smoke than from what is passed through breastmilk. Don’t smoke near your baby or let anyone else either. Smoke outside, away from your baby and wear a coat or robe that you leave outside when finished. Also, don’t smoke in your car with your baby, even with the windows open.

MYTH: It’s not worth learning to breastfeed if you’re going back to work.

It takes planning, but breastfeeding is possible and beneficial for working moms. Most employers are legally required to provide moms with regular breaks and a private place to pump breastmilk. There are lifelong benefits to breastfeeding your baby through the first year (or longer). Remember, every ounce counts!

MYTH: You shouldn’t nurse your baby to sleep.

A baby falling asleep while breastfeeding is normal. Most babies will nurse to sleep and wake multiple times during the night. There is no harm in allowing your baby to nurse to sleep.

MYTH: Breastfeeding makes your breasts saggy.

Breastfeeding is not to blame. Research shows that hormonal and weight fluctuations during pregnancy are the main cause of breast changes. Aging and your family's genetics also play a role.

MYTH: It will be hard to breastfeed because your breasts are small (or large).

Breasts of all sizes can make plenty of milk. Your baby can feed successfully regardless of the size of your breasts or nipples. However, you may need a little help from a breastfeeding peer counselor or a lactation consultant to find a position that works best for you and your baby.

MYTH: You can’t breastfeed if you’ve had surgery on your breasts.

Many women who have had breast surgery can still breastfeed. If you have had breast surgery, work with a lactation consultant to ensure that feeding is going well. She can help you maximize your milk supply and help you monitor your baby’s weight gain and growth. Remember, even if you can’t fully breastfeed, every ounce counts!

MYTH: Giving babies formula will help them sleep better.

Formula may cause your baby to sleep for longer periods of time, but this is because formula is harder to digest than breastmilk. Babies digest breastmilk much more easily and, because of this, they are ready to eat more often.

Breastfeeding can also reduce your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to 64 percent.

MYTH: Formula is as good as breastmilk.

Your milk is custom-made for your baby through every stage of development. It’s packed with nutrients, antibodies, anti-viruses, hormones and anti-allergens that help protect your baby from illnesses. Breastmilk is also easier to digest and has more vitamins and minerals than formula. Plus, it’s free, fresh and safe for baby to drink anytime, anywhere.

MYTH: Breastfeeding spoils babies if you do it for too long.

Research shows that breastfeeding helps babies and toddlers form trusting, healthy bonds with their mothers. There is no evidence that breastfeeding babies for a year or longer cause any negative effects.

MYTH: Adding cereal to the bottle will help your baby sleep through the night.

Babies can’t digest solid foods well until about 6 months of age. Until this time, your baby only needs breastmilk or formula. Adding cereal to a bottle does not provide any health benefits, will not help your baby sleep through the night and can increase the likelihood of choking. Introducing cereal and other foods too early may also cause you to overfeed your baby, increasing the risk for obesity.

MYTH: Babies don’t need breastmilk after they start eating solid food.

Your baby will grow well on breastmilk alone until he can safely eat and digest solid foods, at about 6 months of age. Your baby will still need mostly breastmilk for the first year and will gradually replace breastmilk with solid food as he grows. Your breastmilk changes as your baby gets older and provides the perfect nutrition at every age. It continues to help protect your baby from getting sick and helps both of you stay healthier for the rest of your lives.

MYTH: You should stop breastfeeding when your baby gets teeth.

New teeth can be scary for a nursing mother. However, not all babies will bite during breastfeeding. More often than not, a bite is your baby’s signal that the feeding has ended. A baby cannot bite when actively breastfeeding. As soon as your baby is done nursing, remove her from the breast. If your baby bites, stay calm, unlatch and gently say no. A strong reaction may entertain and interest her enough to do it again!

MYTH: Once your baby turns a year old, breastfeeding is really just for comfort.

Breastmilk is still full of good nutrients and protective factors and will continue changing to meet the needs of your toddler, just as it did when she was a baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports breastfeeding your little one through age 2 years or older. Follow your instincts and do what’s best for you and your baby. Contact your local WIC office for additional support.

MYTH: Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk you have.

You will never get as much milk out with a pump as you will from a baby who is nursing well. Your baby can empty your breasts far better than any pump can. Don’t get nervous if you don’t see a lot of milk when you pump. As long as your baby is having enough wet and dirty diapers and is staying on her growth curve, you can feel confident she is getting enough.

MYTH: Breastfeeding moms can’t have a social life.

Getting out of the house with a new baby can be hard. If you’re bringing the baby with you, your breastmilk is ready when needed. If you’re leaving your baby at home with a caregiver, you can leave a bottle of pumped milk or formula for him to eat. It can be easy to isolate yourself as a new mom, but it’s important to stay connected with family and friends.

MYTH: Don’t breastfeed if you are sick—you can pass it to your baby.

When you get sick with a cold, flu or infection, your body makes antibodies, or germ fighters, to help fight whatever bacteria or virus is making you ill. The germs do not pass through your breastmilk, but the antibodies do. And so breastfeeding while you are not feeling well works to help protect your baby from becoming sick.If you switch to formula when you are not feeling well, your baby won’t get those antibodies that help protect him.

MYTH: Breastfeeding will prevent you from getting pregnant.

While breastfeeding does impact your ovulation and fertility, it’s not a guaranteed form of birth control. After about 6 months from when you delivered your baby, your menstrual cycle will return, but ovulation may be inconsistent. Talk with your OBGYN about contraception that won’t interfere with breastfeeding.

MYTH: You have to “pump and dump” after you drink alcohol.

There is no need to pump and dump if you occasionally have a drink. The American Academy of Pediatrics says to wait two hours before nursing for each alcoholic beverage (based on 1 oz. of alcohol, one 12 oz. beer or 4 oz. of wine). If you plan on drinking a bit more, you may want to pump ahead of time in case your baby becomes hungry while alcohol is still in your system.

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