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Breastfeeding Myths

"It's normal for breastfeeding to hurt"

Many mothers experience discomfort in the first few days after birth when they are learning to breastfeed. But with the right support with positioning their baby for breastfeeding and making sure their baby is correctly attached to the breast, sore nipples can be avoided. The Breastfeeding Companion has an article with lots of information on sore nipples and what to try.

"You can't take any medication"

It’s important to inform your doctor that you are breastfeeding and to read the instructions with any medications you buy over the counter. It might be necessary to take medications at a specific time or in a specific dosage, or to take an alternative formulation. The Breastfeeding Network's Drugs in Breastmilk Information Service provides evidence based information on drugs and breastfeeding. 

"You should not consume any alcohol"

Breastfeeding mothers can have occasional, small amounts of alcohol but should not drink regularly or heavily (e.g. binge drinking). If you drink any alcohol DO NOT bed share with your baby or fall asleep in the sofa/chair. See the Breastfeeding Companion's article on Alcohol and Breastfeeding

“You should not consume caffeine”

Consumption of moderate amounts of caffeine is unlikely to affect a full term, healthy baby. 200-300mg of caffeine, or 2-3 cups of coffee, is considered safe to consume daily. Find out more about breastfeeding and caffeine in this article from La Leche League.

“You need to eat a good diet”

In general, there is no need to change food habits. A breastfeeding mother does not need to eat any specific foods or avoid certain foods. See more from The Breastfeeding Companion's article on diet while breastfeeding.

“Babies who have been breastfed are ‘clingy’”

All babies are different. Some are clingy and some are not, no matter how they are fed. Breastfeeding provides not only the best nutrition for infants, but is also important for their developing brain. Breastfed babies are held a lot and because of this, breastfeeding has been shown to enhance bonding with their mother.  This article from Babycious explores further.

“Many mothers can’t produce enough milk”

Almost all mothers produce the right amount of milk for their babies. Breastmilk production is determined by how well the baby is latched on to the breast, the frequency of breastfeeding and how well the baby is removing milk with each feeding. Find out more about normal infant feeding patterns and signs of low milk supply at the Breastfeeding Companion. 

“Baby isn’t getting enough milk if she’s feeding so often”

A newborn should feed a minimum of 8-12 times in 24 hours. Some babies may feed every 10 minutes every hour. Some may feed for 10 minutes every 2 hours. Some may feed for 40 minutes every 2 hours. Frequent feeding builds milk supply and is not usually a sign of low supply. Find out more about normal infant feeding patterns and signs of low milk supply at the Breastfeeding Companion. 

“Baby must have been starving if he drains the bottle after breastfeeding”

During the first 3 to 4 months of life, an inborn reflex automatically triggers suckling, so a baby will suck from a bottle even if he is not hungry. Milk flows more consistently from the bottle than the breast so babies tend to consume more milk from a bottle. Taking milk from a bottle after breastfeeding does not indicate low milk supply.

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