Medical Misconception: Breastfeeding Myths

Each month, a health care professional will weigh in on a health and wellness myth and will explain the real cause behind the malady.

This month, we debunk three common breastfeeding misconceptions.

Myth 1: Breastfeeding comes naturally.
Yes, breastfeeding is a natural process, but that doesn’t mean that it’s intuitive. It takes practice and persistence, and nearly every mother and baby has some sort of issue along the way. A lot of work and effort goes into breastfeeding, but the benefits are numerous for mom and baby. Take a breastfeeding class to familiarize yourself with techniques before you have your baby, and join us for our breastfeeding support groups to share tips and tricks with other moms. Learn more about breastfeeding classes and support.

Myth 2: Breastfeeding always hurts.
Being uncomfortable and sore can be normal as a woman begins to breastfeed for the first few days to weeks, as her body may experience sensitivity from hormones after delivery and is adjusting to the baby nursing frequently. However, if she has consistently painful breastfeeding sessions, it is important that she seeks help from a lactation consultant as soon as possible. Most of the time it is something easy to correct, such as a poor latch or poor positioning of either the baby or the mother.  A lactation consultant will be able to evaluate and help with making the nursing experience as comfortable as possible. In most cases, breastfeeding should not hurt.

Myth 3: I am not producing enough milk.
When it comes to milk production, colostrum (the first milk) is being produced by the mother as early as 26 weeks into her pregnancy and is ready for the baby immediately after birth. This thick liquid is loaded with protein, sugar and antibodies, and it’s helpful with keeping the baby healthy as he or she adjusts to his or her new world.

For the first two days, the baby will only be taking in about 1 teaspoon at each feeding; the size of the belly at this time is only the size of a cherry. Then, between days two and six, the baby will cluster feed or nurse frequently. This frequent nursing is necessary to establish your milk supply and increase the volume of milk for the baby.

Newborns eat anywhere from eight to 12 times a day. Keep a feeding log to determine if your baby is getting enough to eat through breastmilk.

By day four, if the baby is eating eight to 12 times a day, is having six to eight wet diapers and four or more yellow, loose, seedy bowel movements, this is a good indication that he or she is receiving enough milk.

The breastfeeding hotline at Carroll Hospital (410-871-7024) is available to provide support and to get your concerns addressed.

Angela Baublitz, R.N., is a lactation consultant with The Family Birthplace.

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