Breastfeeding - what the experts say

Breastfeeding myths and realities

Breastfeeding ruins the shape of your breasts.

Breast slackening results from sudden fluctuations in size, a risk that is inherent in pregnancy whether you breastfeed or not. If breastfeeding is going well, engorgement is avoided and weaning is gradual, the breasts will be more likely to maintain their shape than if you suddenly cut off the milk supply after childbirth.

If you have small breasts, you don’t produce enough milk.

The mammary gland is approximately the same size in all women. So breast size has nothing to do with the quantity of milk produced.

Breast milk sometimes isn’t nourishing enough.

Human milk is never bad, too thin or not nourishing enough. If your baby is not gaining enough weight, it may be caused by the baby latching on to the breast incorrectly. You may also experience temporary declines in milk production due to factors such as fatigue, strong emotions, anxiety or a change in your daily routine. Don’t panic: simply nurse your baby as often and as long as possible and rest as much as you can. Your milk supply will quickly return to normal.

Breastfeeding prevents you from losing weight after childbirth.

Milk production burns a large portion of the daily calories you consume. If you eat a healthy diet and a reasonable quantity, breastfeeding should help you quickly lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.

You have to drink more when you breastfeed.

Milk production doesn’t depend on the amount of water consumed but on the frequency of feeds and how productive they are. Drink when you’re thirsty without forcing yourself.

You can sleep with your baby for easier feeds.

Breastfeeding is helped by baby and mother being close to each other, and night-time feeds are much easier when the baby is lying at your side. It's important, however, to follow certain safety guidelines when your baby sleeps in your bed, including: no comforter on the baby, no pillow, a firm mattress and no risk of falling. Another option is to place your baby’s crib or bassinet next to your bed or use a special co-sleeper bassinet, which attaches to the side of the parents’ bed.

Night-time feeds make it easier to establish and maintain the mother’s milk supply.

Most newborns need to nurse at night during their first few months. In addition, night-time nursing promotes a well-established milk supply by avoiding too much time between feed. So avoid trying to get your baby to sleep through the night too soon.

A nursing mother with a fever shouldn’t breastfeed.

The opposite is true: continuing to breastfeed provides the baby with the antibodies necessary to fight off an infection.

A woman with flat or abnormal nipples can’t breastfeed.

Babies always manage to nurse whatever type of breasts their mother may have. Simply be sure to place your baby in the right position facing your breast. If the baby really has trouble latching on to your breast – because, for example, it’s too swollen with milk – then gently massage the nipple to soften it and express a little milk before presenting it to your infant.

A nursing baby should receive a vitamin K supplement.

This supplement is given to babies right after birth. You will receive a prescription in the hospital.

You should not breastfeed if you had a prior breast abscess.

A previous abscess does not affect the mammary gland’s ability to produce milk during a new pregnancy.



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