If you have made the decision to breastfeed your new bundle of joy, or if you have already been breastfeeding for a while, you will know what a wonderful, rewarding experience it can be for both mum and baby. However, despite how experienced you may be when it comes to knowing your baby, you will probably still have a few questions and concerns about certain things that you have heard or been told. Below, we take a look at the truth behind common breastfeeding myths.
Myth: Never wake your sleeping baby to breastfeed.
Fact: Most of the time, if your baby wants to be fed they will wake you approximately every two-and-a-half to three hours. However, your baby may feed vigorously for two or three hours -- known as "cluster feedings" then sleep a longer than usual. Have a set schedule to feed your baby and stick to it. It’s okay to let them sleep a little longer than usual, but don’t let this affect your schedule.
If your baby is regularly sleeping through feeding time, wake baby when it's time to eat. It's important for your baby to feed on schedule, and you need to express milk on schedule to keep up a good supply and avoid your breasts to get swollen.
Myth: Some women just don’t produce as much milk as others.
Fact: This is, for the most part, false. If you notice your little one is constantly hungry or is not gaining weight as quickly as he should, the issue probably lies in the breastfeeding technique that you are using, rather than the amount of milk which you are producing. Do some research on alternative breastfeeding techniques and positions that might help your baby to latch on a bit better and then give them a try.
The secret is to relax and breathe deeply. If you are struggling to do this, why not turn on some calming music, adjust the room temperature or simply take a soft, comforting blanket that has been recently conditioned in Comfort fabric softener (Lavender Bloom is ideal as its refreshing lavender scent is proven to induce a feeling of calmness), and wrap it gently around your shoulders.
Myth: If mum gets sick, she should stop breastfeeding immediately in order to prevent passing the illness on to the baby.
Fact: On the contrary (with a few exceptions, of course!). The essential nutrients in your breast milk, along with the antibodies that your body will have already started to produce in an effort to fight off the illness, will protect the baby from getting sick or, at the very least, reduce the severity of the illness quite drastically should your little one pick it up.
Myth: New mums don't make enough milk
Fact: For the first three to five days a new mother might struggle to secrete enough milk but this is totally normal. After giving birth women do secrete a thick, concentrated liquid called colostrum—and for the first few days, that's all a newborn needs.
Becoming a mum is a beautiful time in one’s life – a time that should not be tainted with confusing –often flawed – ‘words of wisdom’ from sources who think they know better. When it comes to feeding and nourishing your little one, do what feels right for you (whether that is breast or bottle feeding), and should you find yourself worrying about something for any reason or at any time, contact a professional who will be able to provide you with sound advice and total peace of mind.
“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.” – Gail Tsukiyama.