Top 12 Breastfeeding myths busted!
Created by Ankita A Talwar Updated on Nov 23, 2020
When it comes to breastfeeding the baby, a new mother gets crowded with a lot of solicited and unsolicited advice, leading to her getting confused about what is right for her baby. We round up some common myths and clear them up for the mother. Read here.
#1 Myth: My baby feeds a lot. My body doesn’t have enough milk.
Fact: A mother’s milk will never fall short of the baby’s requirement. What could possibly be happening is, that the baby is not latching on properly and therefore not able to suckle as much as he should and remains hungry even after a session of feeding. Or possibly the baby falls off to sleep during breastfeeding and doesn’t take in his full appetite. Also, it is normal to breastfeed the baby again after 45 minutes.
Tip: Ensure the baby latches on properly. He should be suckling at the entire areola rather than just the nipple. If the baby, falls off to sleep during feeding, tickle his toes to wake him up.
#2 Myth: Eating certain foods during breastfeeding, can harm my baby.
Fact: Some foods that are gas causing for the mother, may cause flatulence in the baby. Ideally, breastfeeding mothers should have well-cooked and easily digestible foods. Extra spicy, junk, even cruciferous family vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage etc.) should be eaten in moderation.
Tip: Drink as much as water and milk, other fluids as possible during breastfeeding as it helps with the let down of the milk and milk becomes more easily available to the baby.
# 3 Myth: If you feed your baby after a head wash, the baby catches cold.
Fact: Unless the mother has a infection or cold, the chances of baby catching it through the headwash of the mother, is not possible. You can feed the baby as per the routine.
Tip: Ensure the baby doesn’t get cold water droplets dripping from the mother’s wet hair on himself. If left in dampness, the baby can get affected.
#4 Myth: The size of the breasts makes a difference to the amount of milk produced in the body.
Fact: Each mother’s milk is sufficient for the baby. The size of the breasts do not make a difference. Inverted nipples can cause a problem, which your lactation expert/gynaecologist can help you with.
#5 Myth: Too much of liquid intake, for a mother, during breasfeeding, can lead to bloating in the mother.
Fact: The more liquid you intake, the better let down of milk will happen and milk will be more easily available to the baby. Have lots of water, milk, soups, and other fluids. It also helps maintain the fluid balance of mother’s body.
#6 Myth: If the infant has diarrhoea or vomiting, stop breastfeeding.
Fact: The mother’s milk is the safest drink a baby can have. Infact, all the fluid loss from the baby’s body can be made up by the breast milk.
Tip: If the baby is taking breastmilk after expressing, through a bottle or a spoon, sanitize the equipment properly.
#7 Myth: It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.
Fact: Not true. Unless and until, there is a nipple rash or dryness of the areola/nipple, it can cause pain to the mother during feeding. Check with your paediatrician for this.
#8 Myth: Breastfeeding mothers should not have X-rays, or medicines for any problems.
Fact: Normal X-rays do not affect the mother’s milk or the quality of it. Unless and until there is a nuclear isotope involved in the procedure, such as bone scans and lung scans, a mother should not stop breastfeeding. Even in these procedures, check with your paediatrician on the same. Not all medicines affect the milk either. Your doctor will be the best judge.
Tip: In case going for a scan, if you are concerned, express milk and store it so that the baby has it available, after the scan is over.
#9 Myth: Giving the breasts a break, or a nursing rest, increases milk supply
Fact: The more the baby has milk, the more the mother’s body will produce milk. A mother may look for a rest for herself, or a break, but not feeding, to let the breasts rest, may prove counter productive.
Tip: If you feel like having a break from the breastfeeding schedule, express milk and store it.
# 10 Myth: Do not wake up a newborn to breastfeed him, if he is sleeping.
Fact: Till 3 months of age, the newborn needs to be fed frequently. So, if need be, breastfeed the baby when he is sleeping. Children below 3 months of age, should be breastfed every 2-2 ½ hours, as they do not have reserves to last them longer.
# 11 Myth: A breastfeeding mother will not get pregnant.
Fact: This is not true. A breastfeeding mother can get pregnant again, though she may miss the signs of pregnancy, as her menses may not have regularised.
# 12 Myth: A breastfeeding mother needs to eat more to produce more milk
Fact: Eating right is where the key lies, not eating more. Eat fibre-rich diet, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a balanced diet of proteins, carbs etc. Include lots of liquid.
| Aug 31, 2015
Sheetal Upadhyay, there is nothing wrong in feeding the child as much as you want. It is a myth that if you feed your child longer, it will affect your health. Yes, you might need to maintain a healthy diet for yourself to keep yourself healthy and your milk supply adequate too but you can feed longer. What you need to watch out is that the child should not be substituting food and other healthful nutrient with mother's feed. He should be eating a balanced diet as well as at this stage breastmilk will not suffice his nutrition requirement.
| Aug 31, 2015
Hi ankita, well written article... Thank you for the same. my baby was extremely preterm and spent 70 days in hospital so he had to be given my breast milk through tube and later bottle due to his weak lungs... he's 4 months now but my milk production has reduced drastically.... but now he can drink directly through breast and will not effect his lungs... do you think my milk production can increase again to required Level as I am forced to give him formula feed as well.
| Sep 05, 2015
Sheetal, the Indian Association of Pediatrics recommends that all babies should be breast feed till atleast 2 urs of age(though even once a day or at night would suffice) . It nelps decrese incidencee of beast cancer in mother and also increasees IQ of the baby
| Sep 09, 2015
My daughter is 8 months old now. , i breast feed her and also top feed her twice a day. , one in the afternoon n other an hour before going off to sleep in night, is that ok.. ? And does milk supply increase after 8-9 months. Mine is decreasing. I drink milk 1z in a day n breskfast. , n 2 meals .
| Sep 14, 2015
Plz help .im a mother of two babies.... one is 4 yrs nd other one is just arrived two weeks back. I breastfeed him only.. im living in very orthodox family. My mother in law keep on saying don't eay papaya.. apple or any other fruit. just eat dalia,halwa and khichdi. But im feeling very low and hungry all the day... she is not letting me eat any fibrous food thats why im facing hemmoroids problem. Plz help me wat to do now.
| Sep 16, 2015
Hi Pooja.. i had d same problem.. i know how u must be feeling.. i think u can add loki in ur daliya and also other vegetables which ur MIL thinks r fine,it will help ..also ask ur doctor to give u laxative. They r safe nd very helpful.. i used to have 4 spoons of laxative which helped alot! Start eating papaya if she allows.. its fine to eat fruits.. i used to eat dem!
| Sep 16, 2015
I also have confusion why family members don't give fruits and salads after delivery they tell that it will be cold and can create problem for my child as I am breastfeeding him. But dr. Suggested me to take lots of fibrous food including fruits and vegetables. I am taking the veggies but not in raw form. Now baby has become 1. 5 months, can anyone suggest a list of safe food that I can take for a good diet.
| Sep 17, 2015
Hi Greetings!! Nicely written article, straight to the point. In our caste and family there are lot of myths related to food consumption during Breastfeeding. I have seen many of my cousins and relatives ( who were breastfeeding) were force to eat spicy less vegetarian food for months and months. They all use to feel helpless and sad about this. When I was in my breastfeeding phase, socialites and my family expected me to eat same kind to bland food. Being from medical background I never listen to anyone and consumed whatever I like. My Gynec from one of the most reputed hospital in Mumbai cleared explained my family members she can eat anything even spicy.. non veg, ice cream (in moderate amount) , except for junk food like pizza, burger and vada Pav. I ate everything except junk food, had shatavari Rex and I was successfully able to feed my child without can trouble to both of us. In fact I was so confident about breastfeeding that I produce a lot of milk so I had to express with help of pump ( which gave me addition self relaxation and break from breastfeeding). The most important #myth is mothers need advice and suggestion from elders and socialites for baby care. A mother knows best what her baby needs and doctors are always there to help. And in present era were we eat so many multivitamin tablets post pregnancy, diet play very small role in breastfeeding. Still diet has important part but, being happy and confident is more important. #fact - prolactin hormone released from pituitary gland, which is sole factor of production of milk in our body. This hormone has strong stimulus from your mental status, if you are sad it's level decreases and milk production is hampered. Explain this to your family member and tell them to keep you happy and support you instead of forcing you to do things you don't like. If you are happy and confident definitely you will produce good amount of milk until and unless you have any medical condition. Lastly breastfeeding hurts is #myth totally agreed. But there are conditions when it might hurt even you don't have a rash or dryness, when your breast are full and your baby is not hungry and he's not ready to feed. #tip - you can express your milk and store in freezer ( milk doesn't get spoil or lose nutrition by that, if you keep for few hours) you should always express milk when your breast are full and baby is not hungry, storing milk longer in breast can cause pain, cyst or infection in breast. Last #tip to avoid dryness and rash you can apply nip balm ( 100% organic are also available online ) and you can wipe them before feeding though it's safe if baby ingest them. Hope my experience will help others.
| Nov 19, 2015
Breast feeding mother need to drink plenty of water before/ during/ after feeding. Generally, people will think that water is not a food but water is the only good food. Avoid cheese , spicy foods, sometimes milk is also good to avoid bcoz drinking milk will not produce the enough milk to the baby one of my baby pediatrician told about this. Only water is sufficient for producing the milk. Eat lots of fiber food after delivery bcoz generally women will get hemorrhoids after delivery that's common problem for every women so to avoid this pain we have to add the fiber food into our daily diet.
| Nov 19, 2015
Enter your comment here... hello all, I feel my milk production is low, as my son doesn't drink for more than 5-10 mins from one side, n dey don't get engorged every time after he has, most of the times my breasts remains soft always.... I m also taking sataavri, n other tablets too... what should I do
| Nov 19, 2015
Enter your comment here... even though my breasts ate soft der is always milk coming on pressure, .....my son only has fore milk n not the hind milk as a result he is under weight.... kindly advc wat shud I do..... my doc asked to Starr wid top feed as he was crying a lot. .....crying has reduced after top feed started
| Nov 20, 2015
Im a mother of 2months old baby girl. I have got fissured nipples since her birth and im still not able to feed my baby. Have tried all sorts of medications possible but still the nipples are not healing at all. Now my baby shows discomfort to breastfeeding and she is comfortable with bottle feeding. She is completely depending on milk powder now. My milk production has also reduced. Is there any possiblity that i can do to relactate my baby?? I still wish to breastfeed her. And is there any chance that my nipples will get healed and is there any hope that i can feed my baby again??
| Nov 20, 2015
Hi; My son is new born of 10. days i want to breastfeed him but getting very little milk would like to know alternative to breast milk. Iam gettinf 3-4 tablespoon of feed through pump twice a day and powder milk nan1 of nestlw creastes constipation in kid. Request you to please suggest
| Nov 21, 2015
@deepthi: congratulations and welcome to the group. don't worry about the less milk. Keep feeding the baby then it will increase the milk supply. For new born babies, we need to feed for every 1:30 - 2 hours. Drink lots of water before and during and after feeding. Your milk supply will increase with in a short time if you feed your baby continuously.
| Jan 18, 2016
Bit aged n experienced people in the family keep on poking all these things on us and is difficult to handle them ..... being a new mom. they think we aren't aware of anything ....but now a days a educated mother can very well rake care of their babies through studies n counselling on different apps such as parentune baby berry n so on n i guess we nid no more Base less suggestions to take proper Care of our babies
| Jan 19, 2016
Dear MOMS, to increase your milk first of all you need to take good diet. Eat makhane, lauki,turai and panjiri or aata ladoo. Trust me all these mentioned things will iincrease your milk. Also drink good amount of water to be hydrated so that kidney flushes out your waste properly and also drink milk to improve your breast milk. Take good amount of protein intake while breastfeeding. Thanks.
| Mar 23, 2017
My baby is having lactose intolerance problem from his birth. And he was suffered from diarrhoea daily. So doctor suggested me to stop breast feeding and start formula milk. From his 6th, I didn't feed my milk. I have stopped breastfeeding and started other food with formula milk. Is it good for my baby and me?
| Aug 16, 2017
informative and useful. thank u.