Key Myths About BreastfeedingWritten by simplymaternity on Monday 24th of June 2013
One of the key issues that pregnant women usually worry about is whether they will be able to feed their baby themselves.
For some, there is no question that they will be able to do it, for others even the thought of breastfeeding turns them off. But in actual fact, breastfeeding is still the best thing for all our babies and if you can do it right, it can be the best thing for you too.
To help you decide whether you will be able to breastfeed, we have listed our top five myths about breastfeeding, to put some of those basic misconceptions to bed.
If you are one of the lucky ones that have found breastfeeding a breeze, then congratulations. But that doesn’t mean everyone has the same experience. Personally, I had a really hard time trying to feed my first daughter even though I had practiced and practiced with the baby doll at my NCT classes. But when the time came, there wasn’t a natural fit and it was something we both had to work very hard at.
2. You Will Get All The Support You Need
It may be a controversial thing to say but there are some places were breastfeeding support is not what it should be. In fact in a number of hospitals it has been said that the staff are more concerned about your baby being full to stop them crying and disturbing other babies than whether they are breastfed. A lot of hospitals will also have a time limit by which point you have to have fed your baby sufficiently or they say it is medically required to bottle feed your child. If you get to this position and are determined to breastfeed then ask for help and ask again. If you are worried about the side effects of your new born being hungry then consider giving him an ounce or two of bottle milk to get him going. But do this too often and he will never learn to breastfeed.
It has been proven that the more support you get, the more likely it is that you will learn to breastfeed naturally. And if your partner is supportive of your desire to breastfeed, then the probability of a positive outcome gets even higher. So make sure you and your partner are on the same page and that they are willing to help you through it, even when times are tough. Don’t stop asking for help until you get it. You may feel like a nag, but there are going to be plenty of times you need to fight your corner to get your child what they deserve, so why not start now.
When you are in hospital and the nurse is bringing you disposable bottles of milk that are pre-heated then bottle feeding may seem easier. But as soon as you are home there is sterilisation, preparation and cleaning to consider before you even get into the cost of all the equipment and milk powder. Breast milk is on tap at any time of day, at the right temperature and the right consistency. You don’t have to worry about different water if you are going on holiday and there is no emergency runs to the pharmacy when you run out of milk powder at 2am. Simply open up your breastfeedting top and you are off. Though it may take some time to master at the beginning, as soon as you have the hang of breastfeeding, it can be a lot easier for you and your baby.
4. A Baby Should Breastfeed Naturally
This myth is probably one of the key reasons that people give up on breastfeeding. If your baby cannot feed from you immediately then it must be your fault. Maybe it is the shape of your nipples. maybe you are holding him wrong or maybe you will even go down the route of thinking you just don’t produce enough milk. But however much you try and blame yourself, the truth is that babies do not know how to breastfeed, just as they don’t know how to walk, talk or feed themselves. They need to be taught. And with a lot of patience most of us can do it. So bear with it and give your baby their first lesson in how to help themselves and you could find yourself fulfilling your baby’s basic needs in no time.
5. You Must Breastfeed For At Least A Year
Breastfeeding is all about mum and baby being fulfilled by a natural process that it is good for you both. Not only does breast milk contain all the natural ingredients that your baby needs but it can also reduce the chances of you contracting certain types of cancer and can also help you burn off your pregnancy pounds. But such a process is only beneficial for as long as you are both happy.
The first few days of breastfeeding are the most important as the milk contains a lot of natural antibodies which will help your baby fight certain illnesses and infections. So even if you only manage a few days then you have done more for your baby than you will ever know. I had the target of feeding my daughter for a full year which meant that when she got her first tooth at 12 weeks and I had to stop, I felt like a complete failure. This time round, I am firm, my goal is to feed for as long as it works and not a second longer.
If you would like to know more about breastfeeding then take a look at the World Breastfeeding Week website. It contains a wealth of information that could help any expectant mother make the right decision for her family.