As a parent, advice is hurled at you from all directions. Everything from sleep schedules to the SAT seems to be fair game. And whether they've breastfed or not, there are plenty of so-called experts out there who are happy to give you their humble opinion about breastfeeding. Some of the advice may make you stop and think, while some will just make you laugh out loud. If you are trying to sort through all of the advice and differentiate fact from fiction, you should know that there is some seriously outdated breastfeeding advice you should ignore.
Women have been breastfeeding babies since the beginning of time. And, unfortunately, some of the breastfeeding "facts" that were thought to be true are still being passed around today. You may have been told that you should stop nursing if you're sick, that your breastfed baby will never sleep through the night, or that nursing will keep you from getting pregnant. But in reality, this advice is out of date and should be tossed out right along with leisure suits and mullets.
Although many of your "advisors" mean well, it's best to get your breastfeeding advice from your doctor or a lactation consultant. Here is just a sampling of the most outdated pieced of breastfeeding advice that should go in one ear and out the other.
1You Can't Nurse If You're Sick
A case of the sniffles doesn't mean that you can't nurse your baby. As Baby Center mentioned, it is fine to breastfeed when you're sick. In fact, you have likely exposed your baby to your illness before you see any symptoms. The nutrients contained in your milk will help your baby fight the illness.
2Bottle Feeding Will Cause Confusion
You don't have to worry about bottle feeding messing up your baby's nursing groove. As WebMD pointed out, babies have the ability to recognize the difference between the actions of nursing and bottle feeding without getting confused. They went on to suggest that nursing mothers who wish to supplement with bottle feedings introduce the bottle to their babies between 2 and 6 weeks old.
3Small Breasts Won't Make Enough Milk
You don't need DDs to be able to give your baby adequate nutrition. According Fit Pregnancy, the breast tissue that contains your milk ducts grows during your pregnancy. This tissue has nothing to do with the size of your breasts.
4You Can't Get Pregnant If You Breastfeed
You may have been told that breastfeeding is a means of birth control, but it is not a sure thing. As WebMD pointed out, as soon as you begin menstruating again, you can can get pregnant. If you don't want to conceive again right away, you should speak with your doctor about birth control.
5Baby Won't Sleep Through The Night
It is true that your breastfed baby will need to be fed more often than a bottle fed baby, because breast milk is digested easier. But as Fit Pregnancy pointed out, other factors such as size and personality affect how long your baby will sleep.
6Always Nurse From Both Breasts
According to La Leche League International (LLLI), it is important that baby finish the first breast completely — even if she doesn't get to the second breast. Nursing babies need to receive a balanced combination of foremilk and hindmilk to receive the nutritional benefits of nursing and gain an adequate amount of weight.
7Baby Will Be Too Clingy
You may have heard that al of that time on the breast will cause your baby to be too clingy. In fact, by nursing your baby, you are helping them in the long run. As Fit Pregnancy pointed out, studies have shown that babies who nurse grow to be more independent later in life.
8You Need To Drink Milk To Make Milk
As the aforementioned LLLI article mentioned, a balanced diet containing fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins help mothers produce milk their babies need.
9Your Breasts Will Sag
Breastfeeding is often blamed for a mom's less than perky breasts, but that isn't necessarily the case. According to Parents, once you have weaned your baby, your breasts will return to their normal size, unless you have gained or lost a considerable amount of weight.