Top 10 Breastfeeding Myths
*Disclaimer: Pro-breastfeeding does not mean anti formula. Nationwide Nurse-In supports all parents who feed their children. Below are facts, not judgements. Links and references can be found at the bottom of the page*
1. Myth: You can't breastfeed if you are taking any kind of medication.
Fact: Most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. Check if your medications on are safe to take while breastfeeding by either calling infant risk at (806) 352-2519 or visiting http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm to see if your medications are safe.
2. Myth: You can't drink at all if you are breastfeeding, you have to pump and dump if you do.
Fact: Very little alcohol gets into breastmilk. It takes about 2-3 hours for each drink you have to totally leave your system, pumping and dumping will not speed that up.
3. Myth: Breastmilk loses its nutrition after 6 months and or women should stop breastfeeding after 6 months.
Fact: Breastmilk never loses its nutritional value! After 6 months of age parents should start introducing complimentary foods into a baby's diet and continue to breastfeed to two years of age or beyond.
4. Myth: Babies should stop breastfeeding when they can walk.
Fact: There is no reason to stop breastfeeding just because a baby can walk. Many babies start walking around 1 year of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding past the age of 1.
5. Myth: Babies should stop breastfeeding when they reach a year old.
Fact: Breastmilk never loses its nutrition or benefit. The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that children be breastfed to the age of two or beyond. “ The composition of human milk changes to meet the changing needs of baby as he matures. Even when baby is able to take solids, human milk is the primary source of nutrition during the first year. It becomes a supplement to solids during the second year. In addition, it takes between two and six years for a child's immune system to fully mature. Human milk continues to complement and boost the immune system for as long as it is offered.” -LLLI*
6. Myth: Breastfeeding causes cavities in children.
Fact: When children start getting teeth they need to be brushed to avoid cavities. Breastmilk does not cause cavities. Some causes of cavities in children and infants include: Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria that can be passed from parent to child if they share utensils or a child puts anything in their mouth that was in a parents mouth without being cleaned. If a mother had high risk factors in pregnancy, such as illness, maternal stress, antibiotic use, and or poor diet. Poor family diet is a huge factor, large amounts of sugar in a child’s diet is a common cause of cavities, dry mouth, frequent and prolonged exposure to sugar; such as giving a child juice in a sippy cup. Child’s poor oral hygiene, children should have their teeth brushed starting with the eruption of their first tooth.
7. Myth: Formula is just as good a breastmilk.
Fact: There are many things in breastmilk that are not in Formula. Breastmilk contains living cells, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. These things are very important to growing babies. They can grow and survive without them but children who are not fed breastmilk are at an increased risk for illnesses related to diarrhea and Pneumonia and later on in life puts a child at an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.
8. Myth: If your baby is fussy, you are not making enough milk.
Fact: True low supply is very rare. Most women actually make more milk than needed! If you have a concern, meet with an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant). Commonly babies will push at or bounce their head on the breast to stimulate let down. Fussiness is often caused by some form of discomfort. If you have concerns about your child’s health, contact their doctor.
9. Myth: Bottle feeding or feeding formula is easier than breastfeeding.
Fact: Breastfeeding may be difficult for some at the beginning but it gets easier and by 6 weeks it's practically easy!
Breastmilk is always the right temperature and ready right when you need it. When you breastfeed there is no need to sterilize bottles or nipples, or to make sure you have formula and warm water available. If you have a concern, meet with an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant).
10. Myth: Doctors know everything about breastfeeding.
Fact: Sadly, this isn't even close to true. Most doctors have had little to no education on breastfeeding. Some doctors are well educated in breastfeeding as a result of seeking further education on their own. Many doctors don't choose to do this, so it is important to be personally well educated on breastfeeding and to contact someone with breastfeeding knowledge if you have concerns about advice given by your or your child’s doctor. Contacting an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant) or La Leche League, which has free meetings in many areas, are great reliable sources of accurate information.
1. Check if your medications on are safe to take while breastfeeding by either calling infant risk at (806) 352-2519 or visiting http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm to see if your medications are safe.
More on medications and breastfeeding from the American Academy of Pediatrics https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/AAP-Advises...
2. Dr. Jack Newman, who is a member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, states in his handout More Breastfeeding Myths “Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers”
More information can also be found at http://www.llli.org/faq/alcohol.html
3. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months and continued breastfeeding until 2 years or beyond with the addition of complimentary foods.
4. Many babies start walking around 1 year of age, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding past the age of one. http://www.who.int/topics/breastfeeding/en/
10. The link to meetings held by La Leche League in your area http://www.llli.org/webus.html
Written by Laura Delmonico
Creator of Nationwide Nurse-In