Perhaps one of the most difficult parts of being a first time parent, is having to listen to enduring myths and ingrained beliefs of well-meaning friends, family and loved ones. Our in-laws, our mother, our grandmother, our best friend’s mom, our elderly neighbor, all have their two cents worth on what they believe we should be doing in our parenting journey. Breastfeeding could top the list of having the most number of misconceptions and beliefs that often derail a first time mom’s commitment to exclusively breastfeed.
After the popularity of my last post, about everything you wanted to know about breastfeeding but were too scared to ask, I thought I’d like to share some myths on breastfeeding that really need to be corrected.
Stress turns breast milk sour
My grandmother, bless her heart, always kept reminding me, always be in a good mood, don’t stress, relax, otherwise you can’t breastfeed, makes your milk turn sour. As much as I love my grandma, breast milk DOES NOT turn sour no matter how stressed you are. Breastfeeding actually relaxes a mother by releasing the hormone prolactin, also known as the “mothering” hormone, instantly and naturally inducing a feeling of calm and relaxation in a mother. And one other thing, breast milk doesn’t spoil in your breasts. You may feel engorged and get rock hard bossoms but no, your milk won’t turn sour.
You can’t breastfeed if you’re sick
Many mothers worry that breastfeeding their little one while they are sick would also make baby sick. Not true. If mom is sick, then all the more they should breastfeed. Breast milk actually protects our baby from illness by providing much need antibodies specific to your illness. Not breastfeeding baby while sick actually makes baby more prone to catching your bug. While it is not an absolute guarantee that bay won’t get sick, continuing to breastfeed during a bout with the flu actually provides baby with the much needed protection from your illness. He may feel down and unwell for a day or two, but compare that to not breastfeeding at all and having to endure baby’s restlessness for a week.
Breastfeeding is only for the rich (or the poor)
Breastfeeding is the great equalizer. You only need one boob and one baby to provide the perfect food genetically and perfectly designed to provide for your infant’s unique needs. No matter what your social or financial status in life may be, breast milk is the only need all mothers are able to provide with no prejudice to how much they can afford financially. It’s free, for heaven’s sakes, IT’S FREE!
Breastfeeding is painful, deal with it
Many people think breastfeeding is a sacrifice one makes for the sake of the little one, that it is painful and difficult. Breastfeeding is a physiologically designed gift that should not hurt at all. If breastfeeding hurts then you are doing it wrong. Breastfeeding may be uncomfortable at first but by no means should it cause you pain. If it hurts then something is wrong. Get help from a breastfeeding peer counselor or a lactation consultant.
No matter how much we love our well meaning parents, in-laws and friends, breastfeeding is a gift that we can successfully enjoy when armed with the right information. Think of it this way, whenever you hear a derogatory remark that makes you feel you’re doing it all wrong, there’s always Google and Facebook and blogs to remind you that you’re on the right track.
Here are even more myths about breastfeeding!