Common myths about breastfeeding can lead to confusion and uncertainty about the right way to breastfeed.1
- Myth 1: Frequent nursing leads to poor milk production, weak let-down of milk, and unsuccessful nursing.
- Fact: Milk supply is best when a healthy infant is breastfed as often as he or she indicates the need. The body's response to hormones that help push milk out of the breast is strongest in the presence of a good supply of milk, which usually occurs when a mother feeds based on an infant's cue.
- Myth 2: Infants get all the milk they need in the first 5 to 10 minutes of breastfeeding.
- Fact: While many older infants can take in the majority of their milk in the first 5 to 10 minutes, this is not true for all infants. Newborns are not always efficient at nursing and may need longer to feed. An infant's ability to take in milk is also subject to the quality of the milk ejection. Some nursing mothers may eject their milk in small batches several times during a nursing session. Rather than guessing, it is best to allow the infant to nurse until he or she shows signs of fullness and satiety, such as self-detachment from the breast and relaxed hands and arms.
- Myth 3: A breastfeeding mother should space her feedings so that her breasts will have time to refill.
- Fact: Every infant-mother pair is unique. A nursing mother's body is always making milk. A mother's breasts hold an amount that is unique to her, some holding more, some less. The emptier the breast, the faster the body makes milk to replace what has been consumed or removed; the fuller the breast, the more the production of milk slows down. If a mother consistently waits until she thinks her breasts have "filled up" before she nurses, her body may get the message that it is making too much milk and may respond by reducing total milk production.
- Myth 4: Colostrum (the first milk) is bad for the baby.
- Fact: Colostrum actually is very helpful in promoting a newborn's health. It contains essential nutrients, provides immune factors, and supports the development of a newborn's digestive system.2
For more information, visit the Common Breastfeeding Myths page of the La Leche League International website.
- La Leche League International. (2007, October 14). Common breastfeeding myths. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.llli.org/nb/lvaprmay98p21nb.html [top]
- La Leche League International. (2007).What is colostrum? How does it benefit my baby? Retrieved July 3, 2012, from http://www.llli.org/faq/colostrum.html [top]