9 Old Wives' Tales About Breastfeeding That Are Totally True
There's nothing like a bunch of old wives' tales to both make you laugh and convince you that you're putting your child in harm. It doesn't matter if you're pregnant or a new mom, somebody has told you something — like that you're not supposed to lift your arms above your head or you'll strangle your baby — and you've thought about it a beat too long and felt like an unfit mother. But the ones that pertain to nursing? They are laughable, sure, but there are a few old wives' tales about breastfeeding that are totally true.
I know. Your grandmother's told you a million things about pregnancy and babies and they all go against everything you've ever learned about science while getting your PhD in chemistry. But listen, there is some truth to a few of those old wives' tales about pregnancy. Fit Pregnancy noted that research has found a correlation between heartburn and delivering a baby with hair on its head and according to Baby Center sex can help induce labor when your body is getting close. But are bigger breasts going to produce more milk? Not necessarily. Some of the old wives' tales about breastfeeding sound ridiculous and some? Well, they also sound ridiculous, but they are totally true like these nine old wives' tales.
1. You Can Introduce Your Child To New Flavors Through Your Breast Milk
Ever had an old relative tell you to chow down on those veggies so junior will eat his broccoli, too? There's some truth to that. According to Fit Pregnancy, studies have shown that mothers who ate green beans often while breastfeeding found that their babies were more accepting of the vegetable when they ate solid foods than babies who weren't exposed to them.
2. Drinking Dark Beer Can Increase Your Milk Supply
OK, so it's not so much the beer that makes this true. In fact, KellyMom noted that alcohol can actually decrease your milk supply some. But the old wives' tale about dark beer increasing your supply has some truth to it. (When my aunt gave birth in England in the early '80s, they actually stored Guinness in the new mothers' nightstands.) According to Baby Center, the barley used to make beer contains a polysaccharide which can stimulate prolactin, the hormone that produces your breast milk.
3. Skin-To-Skin Contact Can Increase Milk Supply
Nurses, lactation consultants, and grandmas will tell you to open up your shirt and let your bare-chested baby snuggle in close to your skin for milk production. Guess what? It totally works. According to La Leche League International, the skin-to-skin contact between a mother and baby can stimulate the hormone prolactin and help increase your milk supply.
4. Eat Garlic To Make Your Baby Nurse More
I read this in a book once and thought it sounded like the most ridiculous thing in the world, but hey, it actually works. Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts noted on their website that research has found that after eating garlic, the flavor peaked in a mother's breast milk about two hours later. When the flavor levels are high, the babies suckled more vigorously and actually drank more milk than before. If you like garlic, it's worth a shot to get your baby to take in more milk.
5. Drink Plenty Of Fluids For Milk Production
You've probably heard that you need to drink milk to make milk, but that's not necessarily true. What is important is not getting dehydrated. According to Parenting, you should have a healthy fluid intake to keep your milk production up, but it doesn't really matter what liquid you're drinking.
6. Your Baby Can Get Nipple Confusion With Pacifiers & Bottles
I'm not saying don't give your baby a pacifier or bottle, but the old wives' tale that your baby could then refuse your breast is true. La Leche League International noted that some babies may have an improper breastfeeding latch after using a pacifier and they may prefer a pacifier for comfort, turning away from your breasts all together. There is also a theory they will prefer the flow of a bottle rather than your breast (it's easier to remove milk from a bottle than your breast), which is why many lactation consultants suggest waiting until you have established a good breastfeeding relationship before introducing either.
7. Sleep When The Baby Sleeps For Milk Production
Hey, like you needed an excuse to sleep, right? According to the website for Dr. Jay Gordon, sleep is hugely important when it comes to milk production, so if you ever feel like your supply needs a boost, try getting some more sleep.
8. Put Cabbage Leaves In Your Bra For Engorgement
It sounds so bizarre, right? Like drinking castor oil to start labor (don't). But the cabbage leaves totally work. KellyMom noted that while there hasn't been a ton of scientific research done, there is enough evidence to suggest that using cabbage leave compresses can help with oversupply, engorgement, and to help decrease your production.
9. Your Baby Won't Like Your Milk After You Work Out
OK, this one is true if you just read it for what it is. There is nothing wrong with your milk when you are working out, but according to KellyMom, babies may seem very fussy when they breastfeed after you work out and refuse your milk altogether. Chances are, they just aren't keen on the salty taste of your breast after you've been sweating yourself into shape.