Breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful and natural ways to feed a baby; however, there are MANY misconceptions surrounding it. I want to talk about these myths because too often, moms are nervous, scared, or simply misinformed about how important it is. 

Keep reading for 5 misconceptions about breastfeeding and the much-needed truths behind them.

1. Breastfeeding comes naturally.

Babies are born with the reflex to look for their mother’s breast. However, many mothers need practical support with positioning their baby for breastfeeding and making sure their baby is correctly attached to the breast. Breastfeeding takes time and practice for both mothers and babies. Breastfeeding is also time intensive, so mothers need space and support at home and work.

2. The smaller the breast, the less milk you’ll produce.

This actually couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the smallest breasts can produce large amounts of milk. The capacity to which a woman produces milk solely relies on the milk-producing cells (breast tissue). The truth of the matter is breast size is determined by fat and has nothing to do with milk production.

3. Nipple shape determines how well a baby will breastfeed.

Women’s bodies are made in unique shapes and forms, down to the nipple shape and size. For most women, the size of their nipple does not affect their child’s ability to nurse successfully. In other cases where nipple size may be a factor in a baby’s inability to properly latch, a lactation consultant can help provide techniques to help overcome the challenges.

4. Sore nipples are normal with breastfeeding.

Naturally, breastfeeding was designed to feel good, so having nipple pain isn’t actually normal. When breastfeeding works, it floods our system with hormones that contribute to relaxation and mother-infant bonding. Pain does the opposite; it fills our bodies with stress hormones. However, if you experience pain, needle-like sensations, and other soreness, those are indicators of deeper issues. Sometimes it is something as small as a latching issue or something more major, such as mastitis. Contact your doctor, ob, midwife, or lactation consultant if you have concerns.

5. Your baby should be on a breastfeeding schedule.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be fed every 2 to 3 hours (or about 8 to 12 times in a 24-hour period) during the first couple weeks of life. Beyond that, your baby will begin to show you cues of when they are hungry. So as for an actual schedule, your baby will put themselves on a natural one. You’ll notice this predictable pattern within just a few short weeks.

The journey of breastfeeding is just like any other. There are learning curves, bad moments, and good moments. The pros typically outweigh the cons, with the most important being providing your sweet bundle of joy with nourishment and sustenance. 

If you find yourself frustrated, unable to get baby to latch properly, or would like better alternatives to the traditional way of breastfeeding, connect with a lactation consultant!