When discussing the topic of nursing, you can bet there will be plenty opinions and advice offered. How much of that well-intentioned feedback is actually accurate? We address some of that here with the truth behind common breastfeeding myths.
Myth 1: If a baby feeds often, that means they aren't getting enough milk.
Fact: Breast milk is easy to digest, so generally babies get hungrier sooner than if they are formula-fed. Typically, newborns naturally fall into an every-two-hours schedule. Watch Baby's cues and not the clock.
Myth 2: A breast-fed baby won't sleep through the night.
Fact: Each baby will sleep through the night when they are ready - depending upon their size, sleeping pattern and personality. Switching to formula just for this reason is not recommended. Research indicates that while babies may sleep longer when fed formula, they do not sleep better. This is because formula does not get digested as quickly as breast milk leaving a longer stretch between feedings.
Myth 3: If you give a nursing baby a bottle, she will refuse the breast.
Fact: Switching between breast and bottle rarely will confuse a nursling, but it is best to wait about six weeks before offering a bottle. This will ensure they have mastered breastfeeding first. Use it once or twice a day to develop bottle feeding skills while still maintaining the ability to nurse.
Myth 4: Weaning can be difficult if you don't do it by your nursling's first birthday.
Fact: While some people are not comfortable with children over one year of age nursing, there is absolutely no evidence that breastfeeding for a longer period of time will make weaning any harder. Every individual is different and some little ones want and need to nurse longer than others. Only wean when you and/or baby are ready.
Myth 5: You cannot get pregnant while breastfeeding.
Fact: No contraception is 100% safe, and this includes nursing. So if you are not ready to be pregnant again, then do not rely on breastfeeding for birth control. Experts do claim that lactation amenorrhea can be 98% effective -- meaning that you are breastfeeding exclusively, your menstrual cycle has not begun, and typically your baby is less than six months. But again, why take the chance? Speak with your doctor about safe alternatives.
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