Myth-busting breastfeeding

Myth-busting breastfeeding

Large breasts make more milk

Breasts are made up of fatty tissue, glandular tissue and connective tissue. The size of your breasts depends on how much fatty tissue there is. The glandular tissue in the breast is responsible for producing milk and it isn't affected by how much (or how little) fatty tissue there is.

Large breasts make breastfeeding difficult or easy (depending on who you talk to!).

If you have large breasts, breastfeeding won't be any easier or harder for you than your smaller breasted friends. Success is all about attachment and position.

It's normal for breastfeeding to hurt.

Breastfeeding should not be painful - and you should never dread breastfeeding because of associated pain. While there is sure to be some tenderness in the early days, any ongoing pain is usually the result of incorrect attachment and wear and tear on the breast as a result.

Your baby gets 90% of your milk in the first 10 minutes.

Every baby is different and will feed differently, and so it's pointless to time your feeds. Some babies power drink, and are fed and burped in less than ten minutes. Others feed and snooze and take forever.

A breastfeed baby needs extra water in hot weather.

Breast milk provides your baby with all the water he needs.

There isn't enough iron in breast milk to meet your baby's needs.

Your baby will get just enough iron from breast milk to meet her needs for the first 6 months. After that, she will get iron through solid food.

There is no way to know how much breast milk the baby is getting.

While it's true that you can't measure exactly how much milk your baby is getting, you can know that she's getting enough if she drinks at the breast for several minutes each time you feed her, she has settled periods each day, she sleeps well, and has wet nappies throughout the day.

If you have an infection you should stop breastfeeding.

While there are a few exceptions, if you get sick you should continue breastfeeding to keep your baby's immunity strong. By the time you get ill, you have already exposed her so it is pointless to then stop feeding. If you have an infection related to breastfeeding, you should continue to feed (though it may be painful) as this helps to settle the infection.

You can't breastfeed if you're taking medicine.

There are some medicines that you can't take while breastfeeding, but the majority are OK. Make sure that your GP is aware that you are breastfeeding when he prescribes you a drug. While a small quantity of the medicine will be consumed by your baby through your breast milk, it will be in such a tiny amount that it's completely safe.

Breastfeeding is impossible for women with flat or inverted nipples.

Flat or inverted nipples may make attachment more tricky but once your baby is on, you should be able to breastfeed normally.

You can't breastfeed if you fall pregnant.

There is no medical reason to stop breastfeeding while you're pregnant - in fact, some women choose to feed both children after birth.

You shouldn't breastfeed a baby with diarrhoea.

Breastfeeding is actually the best treatment for a gut infection (gastroenteritis).

You don't have enough milk if your breasts don't feel full.

Full-feeling breast are usually the result of them actually being over-full. As your body adjusts to your baby's demand for milk, your breasts will feel less full. As long as you're breastfeeding, your breasts will never be empty because your body is always producing milk to feed your baby.

Breastfeeding is the cause of every problem experienced by a new mother.

Your breastfeeding is often the first explanation given by family and friends if you're tired, nervous, weepy, sick, have a pain in your knees, have difficulty sleeping, always sleepy, feeling dizzy, anaemic, losing your hair, or just losing your mind. But sometimes, it turns out, you're sleepy for no more complicated reason than you're not getting enough sleep. None of this will be magically improved by giving up breastfeeding. If you enjoy it, and believe it's the right thing for you, stick with it - even if it means you have to block out the noise of those around you.

Common Sense Advice. Share your experiences, tips and advice on the Kidspot Forum.

This article was written by Ella Walsh for Kidspot. Sources include Australian Breastfeeding Association and theTasmanian Breastfeeding Coalition.

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