Pregnancy and the birth of a new baby comes with so many opinions about what’s best for your little one. While friends and family members mean well, often they pass along false information. Here at Champions, we employ highly-credentialed breastfeeding experts who provide free consultations and services to support breastfeeding moms. This week, we asked them to break down a few of the most common breastfeeding myths

Myth #1: Formula has more vitamins than breast milk.

Both breast milk and formula provide nutrients, hydration and energy to your baby. However, a mother’s breastmilk is made for babies and there can be health risks associated with formula feeding like increased risks of pneumonia, diarrhea, obesity and type-2 diabetes, ear infections and asthma. Breast milk contains antibodies, stem cells, enzymes, beneficial bacteria and prebiotics that help your child fight off illnesses and create a steady immune system. 

Myth #2: Formula feeding is easier than breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding can be hard for some at first, but like anything in life, the more you do it, the better at it you become. Breastfeeding can be more convenient and faster to feed than formula because there is little to no prep-work. Breastmilk doesn’t need any sterilizing, measuring, mixing, or heating. You also don’t have to worry about packing supplies to bring when you go out, or about finding the right formula, bottle, and nipple in the store. Your body is made to provide the perfect mixture of nutrients your child needs at the correct temperature. 

Myth #3: You won’t be able to produce enough milk to feed your baby.

Less than 2% of women have a rare condition called hypoplasia that causes their breasts not to produce enough milk. Most mothers produce enough milk to feed their child without needing to supplement with a bottle of formula. If you are having trouble with breastfeeding, you can overcome this struggle with the proper guidance from a certified lactation consultant. Champions offers free lactation consultations to help you learn techniques to ensure your baby is getting enough milk. For more information, call 813-673-4646 ext. 1127. If you have any concerns about your milk supply or your child’s weight, check with your baby’s doctor or nurse. 

Myth #4: You can’t breastfeed in public. 

Mothers are allowed to breastfeed in any public or private place where they are legally allowed to be in all 50 states. While some people may have a negative opinion on breastfeeding in public, it is legal and you have the right to nurse your baby wherever, whenever they are hungry. According to the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express milk. The employer must also provide a place, other than a bathroom, for the employee to express breast milk.

Myth #5: Breastfeeding prevents you from getting pregnant. 

The simple answer is that you can get pregnant while breastfeeding. According to Planned Parenthood, breastfeeding can be used as a form of birth control in the first 6 months after your baby is born. But, it only works if you are breastfeeding exclusively without supplementing with formula or pumping, your baby is under six months and your period has not returned. About 2 out of 100 people who use breastfeeding as a method of birth control get pregnant in the 6 months it can be used after a baby is born.

If breastfeeding is something you really want to do, don’t let other people’s opinions and myths deter you. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) breast milk is the best nutrition for infants. Babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life. Once soft foods have been introduced, the AAP encourages mothers to continue to breastfeed until the baby is at least a year old, and as long after that as both mother and child are willing. 

“In my years of practice, I have seen that the majority of mothers do want to breastfeed. Women often wean before they are ready due to lack of education and support. The vast majority of breastfeeding problems have solutions that can be found through seeking support and guidance from a trained breastfeeding helper. It’s also good to remember that breastfeeding looks lots of different ways and all of them are ok. Any amount of breastmilk you give your baby is a gift of love!” – Amy Bohler, Manager of Prenatal and Lactation Services at The abcProgram at Champions

The staff at the abcProgram take a “family centered” approach to breastfeeding support and understand that infant feeding goals vary from family to family. Our goal is to provide accurate information so that each family feels empowered to make the decision that is best for their baby and supported to meet their feeding goals.

If you need help with breastfeeding, Champions’ lactation consultants at the ABC Program are here to help! We offer Baby Cafe walk-in clinics, one on one breastfeeding consults, and Breastfeeding Basics group classes.You can call 813-673-4646 ext. 1127 to speak to or schedule an appointment with our lactation consultants or sign up for a group. For more information about or services, visit our website.

 

Links to Resources: 

Breastmilk vs Formula

Breastmilk and Formula Feeding

Breastmilk Production

Public Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding as a form of Birth Control