The good news is that most moms in the United States, more than 83%, start out breastfeeding their babies. However, many stop before their baby turns 6 months old.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive nothing but breastmilk up until 6 months of age, and then breastmilk alongside the introduction of solid food up until age 1 year for the best nutrition.
Between your friends, family, and the internet, you may be getting a lot of mixed messages about breastfeeding. Here at Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida, we want to share some myths and facts about breastfeeding so you can make the most informed decision about your baby’s nutrition.
Myth: Breastfeeding is easy
Fact: While nursing comes easily to some new moms, many have to work at it. Babies are born with a sucking reflex, which means your baby will suck on anything placed in the mouth. However, it’s not the same for you. You don’t suddenly develop breastfeeding instincts after giving birth that tells you how to properly hold and position your baby for nursing. You may not even know how to tell if your baby is attached properly to your nipple.
If you’re feeling any uncertainty, just ask. You have an entire support team of professionals who’ve helped many women through what should seem natural and instinctual, but in reality isn’t.
Myth: Breastfeeding is painful
Fact: Breastfeeding should never be painful. If you’re experiencing pain, it may be due to your positioning of the baby or from poor latching. In either case, if you’re experiencing pain while you breastfeed, it’s time to ask us for help.
That being said, you may experience a little nipple sensitivity when you first start breastfeeding. This is due to an increase in hormone levels after you give birth.
Myth: Some women don’t make enough breast milk
Fact: Women make enough breastmilk for their babies. Many women have this fear, which leads to concerns about the growth and development of their baby. But your body can produce enough milk to meet your baby’s needs as long as your baby is latched on correctly, being fed frequently, and has a strong enough suck to remove the milk.
Instead of worrying about the fullness, or lack thereof, in your breasts, pay attention to your baby. Your baby is getting enough breastmilk if you get six wet diapers and three poopy diapers within a 24-hour period when your baby is four days old. Your pediatrician can also tell you if your baby is getting enough breastmilk by monitoring your baby’s growth.
Myth: I won’t be able to breastfeed when I go back to work
Fact: In 2010, the US Government approved the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law. This law requires that employees provide reasonable time and space for nursing mothers to express milk for up to 1 year after their child’s birth.
While at work, you should pump milk at the same time your baby would normally be nursing at home, and you should pump for 10-15 minutes. If you have any concerns, talk to your boss. If you have coworkers who’ve returned to work after giving birth, ask for their advice and support.
We know it’s hard to continue breastfeeding after you’ve gone back to work, but it’s one of the best gifts you can give your baby. Breastmilk not only contains perfect nutrition for your baby, but also provides cells, hormones, and antibodies that offer protection against illness, and these health-promoting factors change as your baby grows.
Breastfeeding isn’t always easy, but we can help you get through any hurdles you may face. For compassionate care from the experts in women’s health, call one of our offices in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, or Lehigh Acres, Florida, or book an appointment online.