Like pregnancy and childbirth, you should learn about breastfeeding before becoming a new mom. Test your breastfeeding knowledge by reading these facts and myths to better understand how amazing women’s bodies truly are.
1. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. FACT
WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. At six months, solid foods, such as mashed fruits and vegetables, should be introduced to complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more.
2. Human milk boosts a baby’s immune system big time. FACT
Mama’s milk helps baby fight viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections, including:
Respiratory tract infections
Urinary tract infections
Common colds and flus
3. Breastfeeding helps mama heal faster in the postpartum. FACT
It helps her uterus return to pre-pregnancy size faster and lowering overall postpartum blood loss.
4. Bigger breasts isn’t necessarily better. FACT
The amount of breast milk a mom produces has nothing to do with her breast size.
5. Breastfeeding isn’t easy for every mom. FACT
A 2013 study published in Pediatrics involving 513 first-time mothers found that 92 percent of participants reported having at least one concern by their third day of breastfeeding, with the most common one being difficulty with latching, followed by breastfeeding pain and trouble with their milk supply
6. It makes your boobs sag. MYTH
Some women think breastfeeding will change the appearance of their breasts, according to a 2011 study from the American Society for Plastic Surgeons. But, as the study authors point out, it’s the number of pregnancies a woman has—not whether she breastfeeds— that causes breasts to sag over time.
7. Breastfeeding is a reliable form of Birth control. MYTH
Breastfeeding can be effective birth control, but only if certain conditions are met. According to Planned Parenthood, women can use breastfeeding as a form of birth control in the first six months after giving birth if they’re breastfeeding exclusively (meaning that baby is not drinking anything else), nursing at least every four to six hours and have not yet gotten their period again. But it’s not foolproof — 1 in 100 women who practice continuous breastfeeding will get pregnant, and 2 in 100 will if they don’t always practice it correctly.
8. When engorged, use heat. MYTH
Women are told to apply a warm washcloth or get in a hot shower if they’ve got an infection, swelling or their breasts are the size of watermelons.
“To put heat on a breast creates more blood flow to the area and actually increases the milk,” said Sara Chana Silverstein, an international board-certified lactation consultant, master herbalist and creator of the Savvy Breastfeeding app. “Ice reduces inflamed tissue around the ducts so breasts can drain properly.”
9. Do not breastfeed if you are sick. MYTH
Continuing to breastfeed while you have a cold or the flu actually helps protect your baby from illness. The germ-fighting antibodies that your body is busy making are transferred to your baby every time she nurses. As a result, she probably won’t get sick at all, or if she does, it will be a milder version of whatever is ailing you, says Dr. Smillie. Keeping up your bonding sessions, in spite of feeling rotten, can help improve your mood too.
10. You’re a bad mom, if you don’t breastfeed. MYTH
Although breastfeeding provides significant health benefits for your baby and you, being unable to breastfeed for whatever reason doesn’t make you a bad mother. With your love and care, your child will thrive whether he dines on breast milk, formula, or some combination of the two.