By peoplestaff225
Updated August 02, 2006 08:00 AM

Today’s World Breastfeeding Week post is sponsored by Zutano’s Children’s clothing. Zutano Children’s clothing is proud to support breastfeeding programs in the workplace, World Breastfeeding Week and the La Leche League International for all of their hard work.

Here are the top 8 myths I’ve heard about why some women think they can’t breastfeed.

Information taken from Dr. Jack Newman’s “Some Breastfeeding Myths” Handout, published January 2005 (permission granted).

1. Many women do not produce enough milk. Not true!
The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby does not get the milk that the mother has. The usual reason that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they are doing.

2. It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt. Not true!
Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation that lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching on poorly. Any nipple pain that is not getting better by day three or four or lasts beyond five or six days should not be ignored. A new onset of pain when things have been going well for a while may be due to a yeast infection of the nipples. Limiting feeding time does not prevent soreness. Taking the baby off the breast for the nipples to heal should be a last resort only. (See handout #3a Sore Nipples).

3. There is no (not enough) milk during the first three or four days after birth. Not true!
It often seems like that because the baby is not latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk that is available. When there is not a lot of milk (as there is not, normally, in the first few days), the baby must be well latched on in order to get the milk. This accounts for "but he’s been on the breast for 2 hours and is still hungry when I take him off". By not latching on well, the baby is unable to get the mother’s first milk, called colostrum. Anyone who suggests you pump your milk to know how much colostrum there is, does not understand breastfeeding, and should be politely ignored. Once the mother’s milk is abundant, a baby can latch on poorly and still may get plenty of milk.

4. It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed. Not true ! Or, this should not be true.
However, breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not receive the help they should to get started properly. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually becomes easier later.

5. Breastfeeding ties the mother down. Not true!
But it depends how you look at it. A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime, and thus breastfeeding is liberating for the mother. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because he is with you.

6. Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk. Not true!
The same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally, formulas are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium, lead and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or from baby to baby. Your breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than nutrients.

7. Women with flat or inverted nipples cannot breastfeed. Not true!
Babies do not breastfeed on nipples, they breastfeed on the breast. Though it may be easier for a baby to latch on to a breast with a prominent nipple, it is not necessary for nipples to stick out. A proper start will usually prevent problems and mothers with any shaped nipples can breastfe
ed perfectly adequately. In the past, a nipple shield was frequently suggested to get the baby to take the breast. This gadget should not be used, especially in the first few days! Though it may seem a solution, its use can result in poor feeding and severe weight loss, and makes it even more difficult to get the baby to take the breast. (See handout #8 Finger Feeding). If the baby does not take the breast at first, with proper help, he will often take the breast later. Breasts also change in the first few weeks, and as long as the mother maintains a good milk supply, the baby will usually latch on by 8 weeks of age no matter what, but get help and the baby may latch on before. See handout #26 When a Baby Refuses to Latch On.

8. Breastfeeding in public is not decent. Not true!
It is the humiliation and harassment of mothers who are nursing their babies that is not decent. Women who are trying to do the best for their babies should not be forced by other people’s hang-ups or lack of understanding to stay home or feed their babies in public washrooms. Those who are offended need only avert their eyes. Children will not be damaged psychologically by seeing a woman breastfeeding. On the contrary, they might learn something important, beautiful and fascinating. They might even learn that breasts are not only for selling beer. Other women who have left their babies at home to be bottle fed when they went out might be encouraged to bring the baby with them the next time.

Photos: Amber and 4 1/2 old month son Finley, Bobbi and Maggie at 6 months, Danielle and Anya at 8 months, Keila and 1 week old Isabella.

Note: All photos are copyright to the owner and subjects. Please do not reproduce these images.

For women who do breastfeed, here are the top 5 myths I’ve heard about how to breastfeed. Click the extended post to read more.

For women who do breastfeed, here are the top 5 myths I’ve heard about how to breastfeed.

Information taken from Dr. Jack Newman’s “Some Breastfeeding Myths” Handout, published January 2005 (permission granted).

1. Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has. Not true!
Howmuch milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother’sstress level. The baby who nurses well can get much more milk thanhis mother can pump. Pumping only tells you have much you can pump.

2. There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting. Not true!
Thereis no easy way to measure how much the baby is getting, but this doesnot mean that you cannot know if the baby is getting enough. The bestway to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for severalminutes at each feeding (open mouth wide—pause—close mouth type ofsuck). Other ways also help show that the baby is getting plenty(Handout #4 Is my Baby Getting Enough Milk?). See the videos

3. Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby’s needs. Not true!

Breastmilkcontains just enough iron for the baby’s needs. If the baby is fullterm he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least thefirst six months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantitymay be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent irondeficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and the babypoops out most of it. Generally, there is no need to add other foodsto breastmilk before about 6 months of age.

4. A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side. Not true!
However,a distinction needs to be made between "being on the breast" and"breastfeeding". If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20minutes on the first side, he may not want to take the second side atall. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and then nibblesor sleeps, and does the same on the other, no amount of time will beenough. The baby will breastfeed better and longer if he is latchedon properly. He can also be helped to breastfeed longer if the mothercompresses the breast to keep the flow of milk going, once he no longerswallows on his own (Handout #15 Breast Compression). Thus it isobvious that the rule of thumb that "the baby gets 90% of the milk inthe breast in the first 10 minutes" is equally hopelessly wrong. Tosee how to know a baby is getting milk see the videos

5. If the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed. Not true!

Thereare very very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely whilebreastfeeding. A very small amount of most medicines appears in themilk, but usually in such small quantities that there is no concern.If a medicine is truly of concern, there are usually equallyeffective, alternative medicines that are safe. The risks ofartificial feeding for both the mother and the baby must be taken intoaccount when weighing if breastfeeding should be continued (Handouts#9a and b You Should Continue Breastfeeding).

Questions? (416) 813-5757 (option 3) or orhis book Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (called The UltimateBreastfeeding Book of Answers in the USA)

Photos: Jackie ‘s newborn son James, and Erika and Anika at 4 months.

Note: All photos are copyright to the owner and subjects. Please do not reproduce these images.