There once was a time when the benefits of breastfeeding your child were nonexistent and the myths surrounding breastfeeding were plenty. Such myths have discouraged women from breastfeeding for decades but, with increased access to information, more women are beginning to understand the benefits associated with breastfeeding their children.
Breastfeeding Myth #1-Formula is the Same as Breast Milk.
Formula is NOT the same as breast milk. Although formula has come a long way in the past century, it does not include the antibodies, hormones, or enzymes that human breast milk does. By breastfeeding your child, you are supplying milk that is made specifically for your baby’s needs. Formula, on the other hand, will only help your baby grow rapidly and is not capable of giving your child everything he or she needs developmentally.
Breastfeeding Myth #2-A Breastfeeding Mother Cannot Go Anywhere
It is incredibly easy to breastfeed a child anywhere and anytime. Breastfeeding offers a kind of convenience as you will not have to worry about dragging bottles and formula with you wherever you go or where you will sterilize the bottle, warm the milk, etc.
Breastfeeding Myth #3-Breastfeeding Hurts
No, no, no! Although a small amount of tenderness is common when you first start breastfeeding, this should pass after a couple of days and never be so severe that you would fear breastfeeding. Most women who experience pain from breastfeeding have infants who are not latching properly. This can be remedied by visiting with a lactation consultant. Pain that persists for 4 or more days may be a yeast infection of your nipples and you will have to see your doctor.
Breastfeeding Myth #4-Breastfeeding Will Cause Your Breasts to Sag
This is certainly not the case. In a study conducted by the University of Kentucky, mothers who breastfed their children versus mothers who bottle fed their children had the same amount of sag in their chest. Factors that influence sagging breasts include physical fitness, whether or not you smoke, and sun exposure.
Breastfeeding Myth #5-A Mother Cannot Smoke While Breastfeeding
It is highly recommended that mothers do not smoke during pregnancy, however, just because a mother can not kick the habit does not mean she cannot breastfeed. In fact, smoking while breastfeeding will reduce the effects of cigarette smoke on your baby’s lungs, therefore, if the mother does not stop smoking it is better for her to breast feed and smoke instead of feeding with a bottle and smoking.
There you have it, 5 exceedingly common breastfeeding myths set straight! If you had heard any of the aforementioned rumors and they were discouraging you from breastfeeding then please reconsider. Breastfeeding your child is one of the best things you can do for them developmentally. If you do decide to breastfeed, you can feel confident in the fact that your child will be less likely to get sick and will most likely have a closer relationship with you as they grow older.