6 Breastfeeding Myths
Research has shown that babies thrive on breast milk with breastfed babies having fewer infections.
Breastfeeding is also a proven way for mothers to bond with their babies, shed the baby weight and stimulate the uterus to return to its normal size.
Unfortunately, there are myths about breastfeeding flying around that threaten this healthy practice and put your baby at risk. In my 30 years of experience as a nurse and a midwife, I’ve heard some ridiculous claims about breastfeeding.
In this post, I’ll be breaking them down and explaining the truth so you have all the information you need to take adequate care of your child.
Myth 1: Mothers should not have sex while breastfeeding
Some people believe that having sex at any time during the breastfeeding period can affect breast milk which then affects the baby, causing diarrhea and eventually other fatal symptoms.
But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Your child’s milk comes from your breasts, and it is not connected to your sexual organs in any way.
Some women may lactate during sex but that’s perfectly fine and it doesn’t affect the milk in any way. During sex, oxytocin is produced. This hormone is also responsible for releasing milk during breastfeeding which is why you may sometimes lactate while having sex.
It is perfectly safe for your child if you have sex while breastfeeding.
Myth 2: Mothers should avoid spicy food while breastfeeding
The thinking here is that spicy food can find its way into breast milk and affect the baby. But it’s false.
Even though breast milk is made from nutrients you eat, spicy food will never end up in your milk. Your breast milk is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and essential antibodies. These ingredients are extracted from your bloodstream and added to your breastmilk.
Pepper is not on this list because after you eat spicy food, it gets broken down into its basic elements. So, it doesn’t enter your bloodstream and it does not end up in your milk.
Your baby will never taste anything spicy until you wean her off breast milk and feed her solid food.
Myth 3: Mothers shouldn’t feed their babies solid food until after 12 months
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for 6 months. But there’s a common belief that extending the duration to 12 months makes your baby healthier and stronger.
While breastfeeding is great for your baby, there’s no evidence that exclusively breastfeeding for 12 months has more benefits than the 6 months recommended by the AAP.
In fact, most babies are ready to eat solid food alongside breast milk by 4 to 6 months. At this time, your baby has started developing the coordination he needs to push food to the back of his mouth and swallow.
Because babies develop at a different pace, it’s best to wait until 6 months before you introduce solids.
Myth 4: Mothers should not breastfeed a sick baby
This myth is the exact opposite of what you should do. If your baby is sick, breast milk contains white blood cells that can help build its immune system and fight off the infection.
A sick baby will also need your care as a mother, and part of that care shows in the closeness of breastfeeding. If you’re sick, with the flu or diarrhea, for example, you should also keep breastfeeding your baby. None of the illnesses will be transferred to your baby.
Myth 5: If a baby spits out breast milk, he is rejecting it and you shouldn’t try again
The truth is that healthy babies spit out breast milk quite often. It’s especially common between birth and 3 months when the muscle responsible for keeping food down is still developing. You can expect spitting up to slow down after three months.
When your baby spits up, give a break and then try again. But this time, make sure he’s in an appropriate position and avoid active play immediately after breastfeeding. Also, avoid overfeeding and take time to burp your baby after breast
Myth 6: You should never store breastmilk at room temperature
You can actually store your breastmilk at normal room temperature for up to 4 hours before it goes bad. If you have a refrigerator, you can keep the milk for up to 4 days. Frozen breast milk can last for up to 12 months.
As a mother, keeping your baby in sound health is a top priority, and now, you know how to avoid the dangerous myths around breastfeeding.
If you enjoyed this post, please like our Facebook page and leave a comment. That way, you’ll receive constant updates every time we share a new insightful article on mother and baby care.
6 Breastfeeding Myths
To follow our articles and find out what is new, go here Zita’s Healthy Beginnings Blog.
Follow Us on Social Media