Breastfeeding myths

Our peer supporters are mums who have breastfed their own babies and received formal training in breastfeeding peer support. Here are some common questions they get asked by new mums and mums-to-be.

Breastfeeding myths busted!

Breastfeeding should not hurt! Mild tenderness at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey can be normal. Most pain is likely to be due to a poor latch. Seek support with positioning and attachment as soon as possible. Some mothers say the first 10 seconds of the latch can be uncomfortable, this should disappear after 10 seconds. Any pain after a period of comfortable feeding is likely to be due to thrush.

You do not have to wash your nipples before or after a feed. Doing so could wash away the protective oils from the breast. These oils are produced naturally to help lubricate, cleanse and protect the nipples against environmental germs and bacteria.

Breastmilk is 88% water. Exclusively breastfed babies do not need additional water. Breastfeeding supplies all the fluids your baby needs.

Breastfeeding does not make the breasts saggy, it is pregnancy hormones that impact ligaments that hold the breasts shape.

There is no evidence that breastfeeding causes tooth decay. The nipple sits at the back of the throat, well away from the teeth. Dentists recommend breastfeeding as a top tip to reduce tooth decay.

The size of your breasts does not determine the quality or amount of breastmilk you produce.

There are a number of ways to know your baby is getting enough milk. Babies should be actively feeding (with an open mouth wide-pause-close mouth type of suck) between 8-12 times over a 24 hour period. Counting nappies and observing babies responses e.g. is baby active and alert, does he have a good colour, and is baby satisfied following a feed.

Breastmilk doesn’t change much in terms of nutritional content and calories regardless of the diet of the mum. The quality or the amount of breastmilk is not affected by diet. The mother should eat a balanced diet depending on her appetite for her own health.

Babies do not need to stop breastfeeding if mum is ill. Most illnesses baby will receive antibodies from mum that will then help the baby to recover from the illness quickly. Sometimes it is the baby

There are very few medicines that a mother cannot take safely whilst breastfeeding. A very small amount of medicine enters the milk at such a small quantity that it does not cause any concern. Safe alternatives are usually available for medicines that have been deemed unsafe. Information on what medicines are safe can be found at the Breastfeeding Networks Drugs in Breastmilk Website: www.nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk