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Have you recently told your family and friends that you’re planning to breastfeed your baby? If so, you’ve probably been informed of all the different things that you need to do to make breastfeeding successful.
Breastfeeding advice is really great – that is when it’s good breastfeeding advice.
I was told so many different things when I decided to breastfeed my babies, and most of the tips I got were not worth my time.
So how do I know if the breastfeeding advice I’m being given is actually worth remembering or not? This was my question. I wanted to breastfeed my baby and was determined to figure out exactly what information I needed to make breastfeeding work.
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Once you make the decision to breastfeed your baby, the very best way to find out how to breastfeed is by taking a breastfeeding class.
I personally love the Milkology breastfeeding class that is taught exclusively by Stacey Stewart. She is a Certified Lactation Educator and also a mom of 3. She also has an extensive history of helping moms to learn how to breastfeed their babies from the start.
And by learning the ins and outs of breastfeeding by a certified lactation educator like Stacey, you’ll know that everything you learn there is vital to breastfeeding your baby and not just an old silly piece of advice from grandma.
When you have told everyone that you’re going to breastfeed, it always seems to be followed by everyone telling you their experiences with breastfeeding or what they’ve heard about breastfeeding.
The problem with this is that many of these pieces of advice about breastfeeding are completely silly and untrue. But unfortunately, many new expecting moms have no idea what to believe.
So here are the most common pieces of bad breastfeeding advice I have ever heard.
1. “You Need to Toughen Your Nipples Up For Breastfeeding”
When I told a friend’s mother that I decided to breastfeed my baby, their first piece of advice was to toughen up my nipples for breastfeeding. Hearing this now after successfully breastfeeding my baby without “toughening up my nipples” makes me both laugh and cringe.
The reasoning behind this advice is that breastfeeding is supposed to hurt and be very rough on your nipples so preparing them by rubbing them with a towel, loofah, or a washcloth is supposed to toughen them up.
The truth is that your nipples are already made to breastfeed and are gearing up for breastfeeding from the moment you become pregnant. There is no reason to do anything to them. So leave your nipples alone.
2. “Your Breasts Are Too Small To Make Enough Breast Milk”
Breasts come in all different shapes and sizes. And every one of them is designed to breastfeed no matter how big or small they are.
I guess the reasoning behind this piece of advice is that small breasts don’t appear to be big enough to hold much breast milk. But thankfully our body as a mother is able to adapt to what we need through pregnancy. And many expecting moms notice that their breasts get bigger to accommodate breastfeeding.
So no matter what your bra size is you can breastfeed.
3. “You Have To Have A Perfect Diet To Breastfeed”
I have heard this tip from numerous people and was very worried about eating enough healthy foods to be able to breastfeed my baby. But after actually having my baby and breastfeeding for the first few weeks, I noticed that I craved different healthy foods and in turn was getting enough nutrients in my breast milk for my baby.
You don’t have to have the perfect diet. you just have to try to have a normal healthy diet and your body will take care of the rest.
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4. “If Your Baby Wants To Breastfeed Every Two Hours, You’re Not Producing Enough Breast Milk”
I was told this time and time again when I was breastfeeding what seemed like constantly. But if you don’t know how breastfeeding a newborn really works this can be a very common assumption.
When your baby is firstborn, they will be wanting to cluster feed, which means feeding again and again in a very small time period. This is completely normal and means that your baby is getting your breast milk supply up.
However, if your baby is continually going back to the breast and doesn’t seem full after eating, you probably have a bad latch. Getting the perfect latch can help your baby to get all of the breastmilk expressed from your breast and therefore make them full and happy.
If your baby is not emptying your breast or coming off of the breast not full and satisfied you need to work on fixing your latch.
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5. “You Couldn’t Breastfeed Your First Baby, So You Probably Won’t Be Able to With Your Second Child”
I was not able to breastfeed my first child. And I believe it was because I didn’t have a good latch which resulted in me thinking that I wasn’t making enough breast milk for my baby.
This is why I was so determined to breastfeed my second child and would not let anything stop me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much support around as I wanted. Many people doubted that I could successfully breastfeed since I failed with my first baby.
However, I actually breastfed my second child until he was 16 months old with no problems.
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6. “You Just Breastfed Him, He Doesn’t Need To Eat Again”
As I said before at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey, your baby is likely to want to breastfeed very often and this is called cluster feeding.
By allowing your baby to cluster feed on demand, you are not only comforting your baby, but you are also letting your baby tell your body how much breast milk they are going to need.
So don’t let people tell you that your baby doesn’t need to eat. Breast milk is actually digested by your baby within 2 hours, so they really could need to eat every two hours in the first few months of life.
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7. “Your Baby Will Be Spoiled If You Breastfeed Them Too Much”
Many people believe that breastfeeding too often is spoiling your baby. The truth is that breastfeeding is not only feeding your baby but also allowing you to bond with them and comfort them when they need their moms.
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8. “Breastfeed Your Baby On A Schedule, It’s Good for Them”
I’ve been asked a ton of times how often I breastfeed my baby and if I have them on a schedule. This type of thinking usually comes from formula feeding moms who had their baby on a formula feeding schedule.
But breastfeeding is not to be scheduled. Unlike baby formula, breast milk is digested very fast and babies also breastfeed for more than just to eat. So don’t put a schedule on your baby. Let them breastfeed on demand.
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9. “If Your Nipples Are Cracked and Painful, Just Push Through, It Will Get Better”
There seems to be this idea that breastfeeding is supposed to be painful. However, this is not true.
While breastfeeding my first child, I had a horrible latch, which leads to some intense pain every time my baby latched onto my breasts. But once I tried to breastfeed my second baby with much more knowledge about breastfeeding, I was able to get a good latch and not have any pain.
If you are having pain while breastfeeding, see your lactation consultant because it’s likely due to a bad latch or some type of infection. Never just let it go because it will only continue to get worse.
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10. “Don’t Let Your Baby Use You As A Pacifier”
When babies breastfeed it provides much more than just nutrition. Breastfeeding is a bonding moment and can help calm and soothe a baby when they are feeling scared or upset.
However, many people that just see breastfeeding as eating, think that your baby is using you as a pacifier and you should stop that behavior. For me, breastfeeding also brought me peace and relaxation because I was able to comfort my baby.
So if your baby is using your breastfeeding as a time to soothe themselves, don’t let people tell you it’s wrong. They will only be this little once.
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11. “Breastfed Babies Don’t Need to Be Burped”
This piece of breastfeeding advice just makes me laugh. I guess since when you are breastfeeding you aren’t using a bottle with air in it, the assumption is that your baby won’t need to be burped.
This is just not true. Babies get gas from breast milk just like formula. And they definitely need to be burped after every feeding to prevent gas pains.
12. “Your Husband Will Never Bond With Your Baby If You Breastfeed”
To be honest, my husband was really worried that he wouldn’t be able to bond with our second baby because I planned to breastfeed him. But after he was born, he made plenty of time to bond with him. This is because there are several ways for dads to help with breastfed babies.
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13. “It Won’t Hurt To Give One Bottle Of Baby Formula”
This was what I was told when my first baby would not stop crying because I had a bad breastfeeding latch and didn’t know it. So in the middle of the night, I gave in and gave her a bottle of baby formula.
Now I know most people say it won’t hurt, but it really does when you are trying to build your breast milk supply.
Once you’ve given one bottle, that is one less feeding that your baby had on your breasts, and therefore your breasts don’t know when your baby needs to eat. And when you start giving more and more bottles of formula, your body stops producing as much breast milk.
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14. “Give Your Baby a Bottle With Baby Cereal It Will Help Them Sleep Through The Night”
This tip is often from women of an older generation. I’ve been told to put baby cereal in my baby’s bottle numerous times to help them sleep but the truth is that it’s not really that good for your baby.
The belief is that getting your baby full before bedtime will help them sleep longer. However, putting cereal in your baby’s bottle can lead to overeating and is not safe for younger babies because their tummies are not ready to handle solids yet.
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15. “Don’t Breastfeed Your Baby While You’re Sick. You’ll Get Them Sick”
I had both of my babies at the beginning of the winter months so the cold and flu were definitely going around. In fact, when my second baby was only a few months old, our whole family came down with something and I was told by others that I should stop breastfeeding before I got my newborn sick.
But since I had taken a course and learned so much about breastfeeding, I was able to laugh this piece of bad breastfeeding advice out of site.
The truth is that when a breastfeeding mother is sick, her antibodies that her body is creating go into her breast milk and therefore to her breastfeeding baby. So when you are sick keep on breastfeeding because you are giving your immunity to your baby.
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16. “You Have to Wean Your Baby Once They Get Teeth”
One of the biggest reasons that I hear of breastfeeding moms quitting breastfeeding is due to their baby getting teeth. I believe that most of that is due to the fear of their baby biting their nipples.
And of course, there is a chance of getting bitten by your teething baby, but for me, it was a really silly reason to quit breastfeeding since you can teach your baby not to bite you.
In fact, I breastfed my son for 16 months and he never bit me on purpose, only on accident a few times when getting distracted and pulling off of my nipple.
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17. “You Should Breastfeed in Private So You Don’t Make Others Uncomfortable”
So many breastfeeding moms face negative comments about them breastfeeding in public and it’s really one of the most stupid things to be upset about. The problem is that our society has gone through many generations of moms not breastfeeding and so everyone has not been exposed to it.
And then when a mom is trying to breastfeed her baby in public where other people are around there is so much negativity surrounding it.
First of all, the law is that you are allowed to breastfeed your baby in any public place that you and your baby are allowed to be. Secondly, exposure to breastfeeding is so very important so others can learn that it’s natural and normal.
And lastly, most moms breastfeed their babies discreetly without anyone even knowing all of the time.
For me, feeding my son and making him happy was much more important than making anyone else happy.
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18. “Once Your Baby Turns One You Need to Wean Them”
Many think that babies only need to breastfeed up until they are one year old. However, a mother’s breast milk can actually have numerous nutrients, antibodies, and more that a baby can benefit from was past their first birthday.
In fact, the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has now said that if you can breastfeed up to your child’s second birthday it is recommended. That is unless they self-wean.