If you’ve never breastfed before, getting started can seem over-whelming. With so many stories surrounding the subject you can be forgiven for being nervous and apprehensive.
Diane Emery, Director of Health Professional Liaison at Lansinoh, helps extinguish some common fears by offering re-assuring facts as well as helpful insider tips to ease you on the way to happy feeding:
Myth: Breastfeeding hurts
Although most mothers feel some nipple tenderness when they begin to feed their new baby, breastfeeding should definitely not hurt! A common source of discomfort in the early days is sore nipples, usually caused by uncomfortable attachment of the baby at the breast. This temporary condition will ease once you and your baby establish a good latch on technique. In the meantime, you can help soothe and protect your nipples by using a nipple cream that is free from chemicals and additives. Choose one that does not need to be removed before breastfeeding, as washing and drying your nipples every time you feed will only make the problem worse!
Myth: Some women do not produce enough milk for their baby
Actually, the opposite is often true – a lot of women produce more than enough milk! Breastmilk production works on demand and supply so feeding (or expressing) more frequently will increase your supply. Again, if your baby does not appear to be receiving enough milk, check his attachment and positioning, as the problem may be that he is simply not able to get the milk that you have. First time mothers in particular worry that they are unable to know exactly how much milk their baby is getting. However, continuous weight gain (after the first couple of weeks) and alertness is an indication that he is getting enough. Nappies are another good way of showing that your baby is being adequately nourished. Wet nappies indicate good hydration, while poo nappies indicate enough calories. By about day four, mums and dads may change at least three small poo nappies (the size of a 2p coin) and about six wet nappies each day.
Myth: Bottle feeding is easier
Not at all! When you are breastfeeding you know that you always have food for your baby at hand, at the right temperature, and with no need to sterilise any equipment, or indeed carry a whole lot of kit around with you. What is more, it is also helping you to regain your pre-pregnancy weight faster. Breastfeeding helps mobilise fat stores and burns up to 500 calories a day: a bottle feeding mum would need to cycle uphill for an hour in order to use up this many calories! And of course – breastfeeding is free…
Myth: Breastfeeding will make my partner feel left out
There are lots of things that Dads can do to bond with their baby, such as bathing, massage, and providing skin to skin contact. And if you are expressing breast-milk for the times when you need a rest or can’t be there with your baby, Dad can share in the feeding, too.
Myth: Breastfeeding gives you ‘saggy breasts’