10 Myths and Facts About Breast Milk and Breastfeeding

Morinaga Platinum ♦ 1 June 2017

10 Myths and Facts About Breast Milk and Breastfeeding

Since the beginning of pregnancy, mothers will hear a number of advice, have plenty of conversations, or read about breast milk and breastfeeding mothers. Do not entirely believe all the information received, as it could be misleading. Below are ten myths and facts about breast milk and breastfeeding that parents should be aware of:

Small breast sizes means that only little breast milk is produced.

Myth. Breast size does not affect the amount and quality of the breast milk. Larger breast sizes are generally due to an increased amount of fat tissue. Women with small breasts are still able to provide adequate breast milk to the child.

Mothers who have recently given birth are unable to produce adequate breast milk.

Myth. Every woman has her own rhythm to produce breast milk for the first time. Sometimes, the breast milk is already produced on the first day, while some are only able to breastfeed on the third day. However, this does not mean that mothers whose breast milk is produced later are unable to provide an adequate quantity of breast milk. Initially, mothers will produce thick and yellowish breast milk in a small quantity, known as colostrum, which is rich in nutrition for immunity. Mothers should not be concerned, as a newborn can survive without breastfeeding for the first 72 hours. They also only require two teaspoons of breast milk to fill their stomach.

Breastfeeding helps to reduce body weight.

Fact. In one day, breastfeeding mothers burn an additional 300 to 500 calories compared to non-breastfeeding women. This helps to speed the process of weight reduction. Breastfeeding enables the body to produce a hormone that functions to aid the process of returning the uterus to normal size, so that the abdomen appears slimmer.

Breastfeeding leads to saggy breasts.

Myth. According to a study by American Society for Plastic Surgeons in 2011, the duration of breastfeeding does not affect breast size. Nevertheless, the more often a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth, the higher the possibility for the breast to change in size, making it appear saggy. A lot of factors can affect the shape of the breast, including age, smoking happits, body mass index, as well as genetics.

Breastfeeding can function as a natural contraception.

Fact. By providing exclusive breastfeeding to the child, the mother is automatically implementing a natural contraception method. If conducted correctly, breastfeeding is 98% effective as a contraception method. However, it should be noted that this effectiveness will decrease after the six months period. To ensure that contraception effect proceeds successfully, parents can use additional contraception methods.

Breast milk should not be given to children with diarrhea.

Myth. The child should still be breastfed, as breast milk contains 88% water, which will help prevent dehydration. Breast milk contains antibodies that help to fight against infections. Breast milk also contains Lactobacillus bifidus, a type of bacteria that grows in the small intestine of babies to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and the occurrence of diarrhea.

Women with a history of breast enlargement surgery should not breastfeed.

Myth. This depends on the surgical technique used. On average, women with a surgical incision below the breast line can breastfeed their babies well. On the other hand, women with a surgical scar on the side of the nipple often have difficulties when breasteeding, which occurs due to the damage in the nerve endings of the nipple. Women who have undergone breast reduction may also experience difficulties in breastfeeding due to the possibility of removal of a part of the mammary glands during the surgery.

When mothers return from traveling, breast milk should be thrown away first prior to breastfeeding due to the possibility of it becoming stale.

Myth. Breast milk does not become stale. Thick yellow breast milk or cloudy white breast milk are often thought to be stale. The colour, clarity, and consistency of breast milk highly depends on the type of nutrition contained in it. The production of breast milk is in accordance to the requirements of the child.

Night time breastfeeding session is very important.

Fact. The prolactin hormone, which stimulates the breast to produce breast milk is at its highest levels at night. Therefore, it is very important for mothers to not miss the night time breastfeeding session to ensure the adequate production of breast milk.

Women with flat nipples produce very little breast milk.

Myth. Similar to how breast size does not determine breast milk production, flat or inverted nipples also do not mean that mothers are unable to breastfeed. It should be noted that babies suck on the areola region of the breast, and not the nipple. Correctly positioning the child during breastfeeding is the key to successful breastfeeding.

Ensure that you have adequate and accurate knowledge on breast milk and breastfeeding to be able to provide the best for the child.