Misconceptions about breastfeeding
Mums-to-be are often faced with much reading, (expert) opinions and an abundance of ‘facts’ when preparing to breastfeed.
However, parenting expert Pinky McKay is here to bust some myths of breastfeeding, naming five of some of the biggest lies mums are told.
1) It will ruin your shape of your boobs
“Breast development during pregnancy prepares your body to feed your baby and, this growth, along with relaxing - the hormone that helps loosen the ligaments and tendons in your pelvis to prepare for birthing - can do the dirty on your boobs,' McKay told the Daily Mail.
“As your breasts get heavier during pregnancy, this can stretch your breast tissue, creating the potential for saggy boobs as they return to their normal size again.”
So, whether you breastfeed or not – it will have no difference on what happens to your breasts.
“The best way to help your breasts shape up after having a baby is to breastfeed – you will have great looking boobs while you are breastfeeding,” she said.
“The best way to reduce boob sagginess is to breastfeed as long as possible and wean very gradually, so your breasts have a chance to slowly shrink and reabsorb the breast tissue and skin that stretched during pregnancy and early breastfeeding.”
2) You need space feeds
According to McKay, this is one of the biggest myths.
“Breastfeeding works on a theory of supply and demand – the more milk that is removed from your breasts, the more milk your body will produce.
“By spacing feeds, rather than feeding according to your baby’s huger cues, your body will receive the signal to slow milk production. This can result in a reduced milk supply,” the expert explains.
3) Breast milk has a ‘use by’ date
No, the goodness in your milk does not vanish after three or six months.
“Breastfeeding continues to be an important source of nutrition and health protection, however long your baby breastfeeds,” she said.
“In fact, immune factors in breast milk increase during the second year of your baby’s life just as your baby is becoming more mobile and mixing socially with more people.
“According to a well known study (Dewey 2001) "Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins"
4) Breastfed babies are bad sleepers
Breast milk is digested more easily than baby formula - it will actually help your child sleep soundly.
“Hormones in breast milk calm babies and aid sleep,” McKay points out.
5) The amount of milk you pumps is an indicator of the milk supply
“However much milk you can express, even with the best hospital grade pump, a baby who is well attached and sucking effectively will almost always be able to get more milk than a pump,” she told the Daily Mail.
“If you are not able to pump much milk, please don’t let this create doubts about your milk supply.
“A better way to affirm your milk supply is to watch your baby’s output – heavy wet nappies and bowel motions along with good weight gains are a much more reliable indicator that you are making plenty of milk and your baby is feeding effectively.”