Busting Breastfeeding Fictions: 5 Nursing Myths Debunked

December 17, 2019 3 min read

Mum sitting down in the bathroom breastfeeding her son while collecting let-down breast milk in her Pumpd silicone breast pump

More mothers than ever before are going online for breastfeeding advice, helping each other to network and share their experiences. However, this readily enables the spread of misinformation, and sometimes, being an informed mother means knowing who to trust. Continue reading below as our industry professionals debunk some of the more common nursing myths.

Myth 1. It’s normal for breastfeeding to be painful

This isn’t to say that some pain during breastfeeding is not common, especially in those first few weeks of new motherhood (because that pain is very real for some). However following on from that, pain shouldn’t be something you experience regularly and you don’t have to just live with it. If you are experiencing pain while nursing, don’t chalk it up to “part of the process” and report it to your midwife or lactation consultant right away. There are many things (most of which can be fixed) that could be causing you and your baby discomfort. Including latch, technique, or tongue tie. You may need the assistance of a lactation consultant or maybe something a bit simpler like a lanolin ointment, warm compresses, and changes to the nursing position to dramatically improve your breastfeeding experience.

Additionally, hand sanitiser sprays can reduce the risk of painful or uncomfortable infections and we recommend to keep one handy.

Myth 2. It’s important to nurse for equal time on each breast

No, you won’t wind up with a lopsided chest if you don’t split nursing time perfectly evenly between both breasts. You also don’t need to use both breasts during each feeding. Over time, you’ll likely find that nursing with both breasts does offer some benefits, like ensuring enough milk supply for your baby and relieving the discomfort of maintaining the same position for too long. Recommendations that you impose a set time limit on each breast aren’t necessarily counterproductive, but they are probably more specific than you need. Many lactation professionals recommend finishing one breast before moving on to others, even if your baby decides they’re full and won’t take it. Find the right balance for you and trust you and your baby’s level of comfort.

Myth 3. There are no benefits to breastfeeding after 12 months

Some mothers believe that breast milk begins to thin after about six months. In fact, breast milk makes a healthy and effective supplement for solid food as long as you are producing. Your milk does change over time, but the reason we begin adding to our babies’ diets at about six months is because their needs are expanding, not because our milk is becoming deficient. The benefits of breast milk for your baby’s immune system will likely remain well into their second year, which gives you the freedom to quit nursing when you’re both ready. Breastmilk will always be beneficial to your child for as long as you wish to continue your journey, so you go girl!

Myth 4. Certain breast sizes and nipple shapes make breastfeeding impossible

Breasts come in many shapes and sizes. So do nipples. Don’t let anyone tell you your breasts are too big or small to nurse, or that your nipples are too flat or inverted. While it’s true that certain nipples will make for an easier latch than others, and certain breast sizes will be better suited for certain breastfeeding positions, you shouldn’t assume you can’t nurse-based solely on your breast size or nipple shape. If you do need to introduce a nipple shield, we always recommend involving a lactation consultant, as shields can cause nipple confusion and in some cases are not needed with a few helpful tweaks and suggestions from an expert. 

Myth 5. Your bond with your baby will be weaker if you pump

Mothers pump for a wide range of reasons, from sharing nursing duties with their partner to returning to work or simply the need to take a break (and this is a 100% valid reason, ladies!). Pumping can greatly help maintain your supply and help to keep your baby eating regularly. It is a myth that pumping will deprive you of the nursing time you need to fully bond with your baby. Even if you are pumping, regular nursing can build an intimate relationship between you and your baby. Never let anyone tell you your way of feeding is wrong – you know you and your baby best!

You have breastfeeding questions, New Edition has answers!

Nursing mothers get the help they need from New Edition. With help and support for anything to do with breastfeeding NZ wide, New Edition is empowering mothers to experience breastfeeding with holistic pumps, sanitisers, and care items for mothers, father and caregivers alike.

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