Breastfeeding and formula feeding have both been hot debates over the years. As people use social media to state their opinions, give advice, and other general information on the subject, it can be hard to distinguish what’s accurate. With breastfeeding, in particular, there are several myths floating around that need to be cleared up.
Breastfeeding is Easy and Comes Naturally
While breastfeeding, in general, is a natural way to feed your baby, it’s not always easy. It most definitely doesn’t always come easily for every mom. Breastfeeding is worth it, but the late nights and feeding on demand aren’t what most people would consider easy. In fact, sometimes it can be downright hard to keep up.
Also, sometimes moms don’t get the hang of it right off the bat and some babies don’t latch on right away. It can take some work and patience, but if you’re dedicated to making it work, it will. In some cases you may need some additional guidance, luckily, there are breastfeeding consultants, called lactation consultants, who can help if you’re having trouble.
Breastfeed Straight Away or You Miss Your Chance
Not every mom can breastfeed right away. Maybe there was a complication after giving birth and the mom needed further evaluation or another scenario made it impossible to breastfeed right away. Contrary to the myth out there, breastfeeding can be done successfully even if the baby was given a bottle first.
It’s true that if you breastfeed within the first hour of your baby’s birth, his or her natural instincts to latch on are stronger so the likelihood of success increases. However, certain circumstances happen where either the mom physically can’t or she chooses to formula feed first. In these cases, you can still successfully breastfeed. If problems arise, you can contact a lactation consultant for help.
Even if you’re a mom who already considered formula first, it’s a myth to think you can’t try to breastfeed now. You may need support from a lactation specialist, but it’s still possible.
You Can’t Use Formula if You Breastfeed
Some moms do supplement with formula while they breastfeed and that is completely fine. There are several scenarios to this. Some moms may not produce enough milk, maybe they are in a situation where they can’t pump as often as needed, or for some other reason, they need to ensure their baby is fed. Whatever the case is, it is okay to use formula while you are breastfeeding.
Avoid Breastfeeding if You’re Sick
A lot of people are misinformed when it comes to being sick and breastfeeding. If you have a fever, flu, cold, or even mastitis you don’t have to put a pause on your breastfeeding regimen. Your sickness won’t pass through your breastmilk to your little one.
Truth is, when you’re sick and you breastfeed, your breastmilk will contain antibodies that can reduce the risk of your baby getting the same sickness.
However, breastfeeding isn't recommended with certain illnesses, such as HIV, so it is always a good idea to consult your doctor.
There’s No Point to Breastfeed if You’re Going Back to Work
Many moms breastfeed when they go back to work after maternity leave, and you can do the same. Legally, employers are required to allow moms to pump at work and give them regular breaks to do so. Whether you choose to breastfeed when you go back to work is completely up to you. Remember, each ounce of breastmilk matters, so any length of breastfeeding is an accomplishment and is beneficial to yourself and your baby.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should be breastfed for at least the first six months, so if you want to breastfeed don’t let your work stop you. Keep in mind work should never be the reason you stop unless you want to yourself.
Dads Can’t Bond When Moms Breastfeed
This is one of the biggest myths you may see floating around on the internet. Dads don’t need to feed their baby to bond. If they feel that way, they can still feed their baby from a bottle with breastmilk in it. Dads can also benefit from skin-to-skin contact and it can create a tremendous sense of bonding.
With all the misconceptions and myths out there, it’s hard to know what’s factual and if breastfeeding is truly for you. Breastfeeding can be for anyone with the right patience and help from a lactation professional. As long as mom is comfortable and willing, it can be done.