Breastfeeding Myths

There is a myth that large breasts are required to make enough milk to breastfeed. The shape and size are due to the layers of muscle and fat in your breasts, and the truth is that breast size has no effect on milk production.

Yet another myth is that you cannot smoke and breastfeed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, states that it’s better to breastfeed than formula-feed, even if you do smoke. Nicotine and many other chemicals are found in cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. When you smoke, these harmful chemicals get into your breast milk, and your baby is exposed to them through breastfeeding and second-hand smoke.

If you do smoke or use smokeless tobacco, try to quit or cut down as much as possible. Don’t smoke right before breastfeeding and never smoke in the house or anywhere around the baby. Second-hand smoke increases the incidence of pneumonia, bronchitis, and sudden infant death syndrome in a baby.

You cannot use birth control and breastfeed is also a myth. There are several birth control methods that are safe for breastfeeding women, such as condoms, IUDs, foam, diaphragms, and birth control pills that contain progesterone, also known as the mini-pill.

Another myth is that you cannot become pregnant while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can delay ovulation for some women. The Lactational Amenorrhea Method is more effective when used with another birth control method, such as a condom. If you plan to use this method of birth control, talk with your healthcare team for details.

It’s untrue that you’ll be tied down if you breastfeed. A breastfed baby is very portable. You do not have to carry extra gear with you. If you return to work or need to be away from your baby, you can express or pump milk in advance.

You must drink milk to make milk is another myth. It’s not necessary to drink milk in order to produce breast milk; however, calcium is important for breast milk production.

It’s also not true that each member of the family has to feed the baby to bond. Bonding can occur in a variety of ways, such as cuddling, playing, holding, talking or reading to, and rocking the baby.

A final myth is that you cannot breastfeed if you have had breast surgery, such as augmentation or reduction. Mothers who have had breast surgery can breastfeed their babies. Milk production may be reduced and supplementation with formula may be needed. Contact a lactation consultant to discuss the best ways to successfully breastfeed after breast surgery.

MYTH

TRUTH

You need large breasts to make enough milk.

Shape and size are due to the layers of muscle and fat. Size has no effect on milk production.

You cannot smoke and breastfeed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, states that it’s better to breastfeed than formula-feed, even if you do smoke. Nicotine and many other chemicals are found in cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. When you smoke, these harmful chemicals get into your breast milk, and your baby is exposed to them through breastfeeding and second-hand smoke. If you do smoke, try to quit or cut down as much as possible. Do not smoke right before breastfeeding and never smoke in the house or anywhere around the baby. Second-hand smoke increases the incidence of pneumonia, bronchitis, and sudden infant death syndrome in a baby.

You cannot use birth control and breastfeed.

There are several birth control methods that are safe for breastfeeding women, such as condoms, IUDs, foam, diaphragms, and birth control pills that contain progesterone, also known as the mini-pill.

You cannot become pregnant while breastfeeding.

Exclusive breastfeeding can delay ovulation for some women. The Lactational Amenorrhea Method is more effective when used with another birth control method, such as a condom. If you plan to use this method of birth control, talk with your healthcare team for details.

You will be tied down.

A breastfed baby is very portable. You do not have to carry extra gear with you. If you return to work or need to be away from your baby, you can express or pump milk in advance.

You must drink milk to make milk.

It is not necessary to drink milk in order to produce breast milk; however, calcium is important for breast milk production.

Each member of the family has to feed the baby to bond.

Bonding can occur in a variety of ways, such as cuddling, playing, holding, talking or reading to, and rocking the baby.

You cannot breastfeed if you have had breast surgery, such as augmentation or reduction.

Mothers who have had breast surgery can breastfeed their babies. Milk production may be reduced and supplementation with formula may be needed. Contact a lactation consultant to discuss the best way to successfully breastfeed after breast surgery.