At the start of your breastfeeding journey? Brace yourself for the tips and unsolicited advice that is bound to come your way. Breastfeeding is the most natural practice but also a learning curve so people have created lots of old-wives’ tales and myths like the need to toughen up your nipples or eat bland food.
These are then passed down from generation to generation.
10 Breastfeeding Myths Busted
We are here to bust some of these common breastfeeding myths and help you understand the facts!
Myth 1: Size Does (NOT) Matter!
The more bountiful your bosom, the more milk you yield – stated no fact ever! Older generations may insist on fattening you up because of this! In truth, your milk production is stimulated by hormones and your baby’s demand, not the size of your breast1! Your baby is the one in control of the volume of milk you produce so feed away, mama!
Myth 2: Sugar and Spice is Not Nice when Breastfeeding
“No coffee, no tea, no chill!” Sounds familiar? Old wives believe that the flavour of your food gets to your milk and in turn upsets your baby’s delicate tummy.
Contrary to popular belief, studies prove that you should go ahead and eat what you please while breastfeeding. In fact, babies who are exposed to a myriad of flavours while breastfeeding are more likely to like that flavour upon weaning1.
So go ahead and have some sugar, spice, and everything nice. Just remember that moderation is key, and a breastfeeding mum should eat a healthy and nutritious diet!
Myth 3: Your Nipples Need Toughening Up!
Some women rub their nipples with a wet cloth or try to build calluses on their nipples to toughen them up. No, your nipples aren’t participating in a weight-lifting competition, and they absolutely do not need any form of toughening up. In fact, by doing so you may harm your nipples by causing cracks on them2.
What you can do to protect your nipples is to ensure that your baby is latching on well and in the correct position. Don’t wash your nipples with harsh soap that will irritate or cause cracks on your nipples. You don’t have to use creams unless you already have dry and cracked nipples. In this case, you can use medical-grade lanolin cream5.
Generally, your body naturally prepares your nipples, which is why their colour darkens, and they may even get enlarged during pregnancy. So, sit back and let nature take its course!
Myth 4: Breastfeeding Causes Your Breasts to go South
Let’s put it this way – your breasts are destined for the south (for some women) whether or not you breastfeed, thanks to gravity. Research has proven that it is not breastfeeding that affects the shape and volume of your breast. The real culprit is the pregnancy itself. During pregnancy, the ligaments that support your breasts might stretch as your breasts get fuller and heavier. This stretching is the reason that some women experience saggy breasts after pregnancy3.
While you may not be able to prevent this entirely, there are some things you can do to minimise the effects. Always stay hydrated and use a safe moisturiser as healthy, moisturised skin bounces back better than dry skin. In addition, do not try to lose your pregnancy weight too quickly as that will give your skin time to tighten up as your body shrinks in size. Lastly, wear a supportive nursing bra during the day and night while pregnant and breastfeeding as this will ensure that the ligaments in your breast get the support that they need as they grow and become heavier6.
Nonetheless, if it does happen, just know that it’s not because of breastfeeding and don’t let this deter you from feeding your baby.
Myth 5: If The Milk Flows, The Period Doesn’t
If your Grandma told you that you don’t have to worry about periods or getting pregnant while breastfeeding, do not count on it.
Your period can return anytime. Some mums have no periods for the entire duration of their breastfeeding journey while others have it return with a vengeance within months or even weeks.
Some women experience a dip in their milk supply when their period is approaching. Don’t let this worry you. You can always take supplements to give your supply a boost.
And yes, you can get pregnant although the possibility is lower. If you are not ready for another baby, do not, we repeat, do not, count on breastfeeding as a form of contraception!
Myth 6: Breastfeeding is a No-Go If You’re Under the Weather
If you’re down with the occasional common cold or any other minor virus, don’t let the confinement nanny take over the reins just yet. Keep breastfeeding for breast milk offers your baby the best protection against sickness.
The protective antibodies it contains will help your baby’s developing immune system to ward off infection and illness. Did you know that if you are down with something, your baby was exposed to it before the onset of symptoms1? So there you have it – all clear to breastfeed!
Myth 7: Wash First, Feed Later
This myth comes from the concept of washing bottles. Many women are advised to give their nipples a good wash before latching the baby on. This is an old wives’ tale for your nipples aren’t anything like bottle nipples.
They do not harbour bacteria. It does more harm than good as frequently washing your nipples will take away the natural oils from the Montgomery glands that lubricate and protect the nipple4!
Myth 8: No Pain No Gain
“Just tahan for your baby, pain is normal!” Not true in this case. Any discomfort in your breasts or nipples should not last beyond the initial few days. Apart from that, if you do not drain your breasts regularly and it starts to get engorged, you might experience pan. If you continue to experience pain in your nipples or breasts you either have an infection or your baby is latching poorly1 – both of which need sorting out.
Myth 9: Drink Milk for More Milk
Or so we thought. Apparently not! That warm glass of milk that your mum offered you does nothing for your milk supply. Again, your baby controls your output of milk as milk production operates on a demand and supply basis2.
Your milk consumption is inconsequential. What you need though, is to ensure that you are taking in enough water or fluids as the lack of fluid does have an impact on your supply. A nursing mother typically needs 16 cups of water per day. Your fluid intake can come from juice, tea and other beverages as well7. Here’s a tip – have a big glass of fluid at the start of each breastfeeding session to replenish what your lose!
Myth 10: Value Declines Over Time
Yes, the composition of your breast milk changes but it does not decline in quality over time. It’s been rumoured that breast milk after 12 months is of little value to your baby. This is false. Your milk continues to adapt to your baby’s developing needs. The only difference is that as your baby grows, his or her caloric needs are not met by breast milk alone2.
Mums, we hope that by busting some of these common breastfeeding myths, you will no longer feel that in your breastfeeding journey, you are swimming against the tide.
The one thing that could really cause you to throw in the towel is if you have supply issues and your baby is not satisfied after feeding. The good news is that with the aid of supplements, you should be able to boost your supply with ease.
Favoured by more than 1 million mothers in the United States8, UpSpring offers a range of products to help boost your breastmilk production. UpSpring lactation supplements contain herbs that are naturally sourced and non-GMO, so that should put your mind at ease.
One supplement you can opt for is the UpSpring’s Milkflow Fenugreek with Blessed Thistle Breastfeeding Supplement. They offer a proprietary blend of herbs to support breast milk production: fenugreek, blessed thistle, and anise. They’re fast, convenient, and you don’t have to deal with the unpleasant taste of fenugreek tea.
The concentrated formula delivers the equivalent of 1,800mg of Fenugreek in each serving. So you only take 1 to 3 capsules per day to help support milk production. The supplements are suitable for vegetarians, dairy- and soy-free!
If you don’t like fenugreek, UpSpring Milkflow Blessed Thistle is a good alternative.
UpSpring products are truly where intuition meets innovation. The company is mom-founded and mum-run, and the products are made for mums, by mums! The products are just one click away, and you can conveniently make your purchase on Upspring.sg.
Mums, get the help you need and go forth with confidence. Don’t let the myths and hurdles that you face come in the way of your beautiful breastfeeding journey!
- Nielsen FY 2019 x AOC