Top breastfeeding myths and how to debunk them

New moms are showered by friends and family, with advice and information throughout their breastfeeding journey. Some of this information might be correct, but very often the information can be mistaken. Here are the top breastfeeding myths debunked.

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Sally Al Beer
Published on:May 22nd 2022 |Updated on:Mar 10th 2024
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Top breastfeeding myths debunked

  • Breastfeeding causes hair loss

Many new moms have hair loss postpartum, and this loss is often believed to be linked to breastfeeding.

The truth:

Hair loss after having a baby is normal, and it happens due to decreased hormone levels postpartum. It is not linked in any way to breastfeeding. During pregnancy, a woman’s hair improves and becomes thicker. This thickness starts declining after childbirth, even women who don’t breastfeed, also report hair loss after birth.

 Breastfeeding causes sagging of the breasts

One of the most spread myths about breastfeeding, which sadly stops many moms from breastfeeding their babies.

The truth:

There is no correlation between the sagging of the breasts after having a baby and breastfeeding. This happens even to women who don’t breastfeed, due to losing the excessive weight they gain during pregnancy. To avoid having saggy breasts, it is recommended not to gain too much weight while pregnant and to lose any gained weight gradually.

Another reason for the sagging of the breasts is the sudden weaning, to avoid the sagging weaning must happen progressively.

  •  It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt

Another one of the common myths about breastfeeding is that drives many mothers to stop breastfeeding.

The truth:

Breastfeeding pain happens during the first few days postpartum. And it is a mild pain that happens once the baby latches and it lasts a few seconds only. If the pain lasts longer and is more severe then it might make a mother stop breastfeeding, this might be an indication of a fungal or bacterial infection, or that the baby is not latching properly. An incorrect latch leads him to bite instead. This biting causes damage and soreness of the nipples, and inadequate feeding. Pain can go away by ensuring a correct latch, which is taught by a breastfeeding consultant. And if the pain is caused by an infection, it will go away with the treatment prescribed by the doctor.

  • Food increases breast milk supply

One of the myths that cause weight gain for women, is that a breastfeeding mom needs to eat food that is rich in fats and sugars to increase her milk supply.

The truth:

The milk production process depends on supply and demand, meaning that the more the baby feeds, or the mom pumps, the more milk will be produced. A breastfeeding mother needs to drink a lot of water and follow a healthy and balanced diet, as she needs a lot of energy to fuel her body to produce milk.

  •  It is impossible to breastfeed after a C-section

One of the misconceptions about breastfeeding is that it can’t happen after a c-section. The percentage of women that breastfeed after delivering by cesarean is less than that of the women who delivered by vaginal birth.

The truth:

The low number of women breastfeeding after a cesarean is largely due to the wrong practices applied in some maternity hospitals. Such as separating the baby from the mother for long periods, which is unnecessary. Skin-to-skin can be done right after birth, or as soon as possible.

To overcome any breastfeeding hurdles after a c-section, the mother can ask that the baby be placed with her once she returns to her room, and practice skin-to-skin as soon as possible. Putting the baby directly on the surgical incision can be avoided by using the football hold and placing the baby alongside the mother while breastfeeding. Pumping and hand expression stimulate the milk flow postpartum, and not waiting until after leaving the hospital to start breastfeeding are additional tips to make breastfeeding easier after a c-section.

  • Breastfeeding should stop once the period returns

Many mothers believe that the resumption of their period is an indication that they did something wrong while breastfeeding, or that they should stop breastfeeding.

The truth:

The resumption of the menstrual cycle postpartum, and during breastfeeding is different from one woman to another, even from one birth to another. The period can stop completely during breastfeeding or resume after delivery. This does not affect the continuation of breastfeeding.

Periods might cause a slight decrease in milk supply or a change in the milk’s taste. However, these changes don’t happen to everyone, and even when they do they are usually temporary. In case these changes persist, a doctor can prescribe some supplements to lessen their effect.

Also read How to increase breast milk after delivery

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Sally Al BeerBreastfeeding Counselor & Newborn Care Specialist

Sally graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the University of Sharjah. She moved to Ontario Canada where she worked as a pharmacist for several years. Meanwhile, she had two children and received great support from breastfeeding consultants. She enjoyed the breastfeeding journey which drove her to volunteer to help new mothers in this journey as well. She found her passion in the field of mother and baby and continued to volunteer after returning to live in the UAE, until she became an accredited breastfeeding specialist providing support to hundreds of breastfeeding mothers, by helping them overcome the challenges of breastfeeding.

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