Breastfeeding Myths Part 1


There are innumerable myths regarding breastfeeding. Often passed along by people with good intentions, these bits of incorrect or misleading information can prevent or destroy a healthy breastfeeding relationship. Here are some common breastfeeding myths, and an explanation of why they are not true.

“Breastfeeding Hurts!”

Breastfeeding should not hurt if done correctly, unless there are complications involved such as cracked nipples or an infection. In the beginning, nipples can become chapped and sore while still adjusting to their new duties, but this is usually a temporary and only mildly annoying problem. Occasionally nipples will crack or bleed, but this usually happens only when the baby’s mouth isn’t positioned properly. Generally speaking, if the baby has the proper latch on mom’s nipple, there will be no pain.

Other sources of discomfort while nursing include plugged ducts, mastitis, engorgement, or the let-down reflex. If a milk duct becomes plugged, there may be a bit of soreness in the breast. The cure is massage and more nursing. Mastitis is a breast infection, which can sometimes accompany a plugged duct or cracked nipple. If mastitis occurs, fever and flu-like symptoms may be present, and part of the breast may become red and swollen. Antibiotics are usually needed to clear up the infection, but the antibodies in breast milk will protect the baby from getting sick.

Engorgement, an uncomfortable condition caused by swelling and an excess of milk, usually only happens during the first few months of breastfeeding. It can be prevented by nursing frequently, and can be relieved by pumping, hand expression, and cold compresses. Some women find the let-down reflex to be mildly painful, but this usually diminishes in time.

Continue to Breast Feeding Myths Part 2 and BreastFeeding Myths part 3

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