Breastfeeding Myths Debunked

I’m not an expert on a lot of things.  But I consider myself  kind of an expert on breastfeeding.  I have successfully breastfed two children for thirteen and fourteen months respectively and am currentlyon month six of  breastfeeding my third.  Plus, none of my kids have taken to bottles, so when I say breastfeed, I mean breast feed.  I got it down.

With my first, I read all the books and heard all the benefits to breastfeeding and I bought them, hook, line, and sinker.  Most of them involve weight loss and breastfeeding, but some involve benefits to the kids, and the actual act of breastfeeding.  I wish someone would have slapped me upside the head with the actual facts when I first started so I wouldn’t have been so shocked.  So, if you’re a new mom, here are the myths debunked.

In case this is the first time you’re reading my blog, or you can’t tell for some other reason, I tend to be a little sarcastic.  This post is meant to be fun and not discourage anyone from breastfeeding.  These are totally based on my vast experience and no real scientific evidence.  I fully support breastfeeding and think everyone should at least try.

Myth 1:  Breastfeeding is natural

The Little bit of truth: Yes, we have boobs.  Yes, they are designed to feed babies.  Therefore, breastfeeding is natural.

The reality:   There is nothing natural about having your boobs swell to the size of watermelons when your milk comes in, nor is that comfortable.  Your newborn’s head will be dwarfed by your gigantic breast and your nipple will seem too big to fit into baby’s mouth.  Breastfeeding my first baby for the first month was bar none the hardest and most stressful thing I have ever done in my entire life.    It does, however, get easier.  Your baby will learn how to latch on, you will learn how to unlatch the baby if he doesn’t latch on correctly, and the baby will grow so your nipple isn’t bigger than your baby’s mouth.

My Experienced Advice:  Keep at it.  It will be worth it.

Myth 2:  When you’re breastfeeding, you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight.

The Little Bit of Truth:  That is true for the first 2-8 weeks depending on your body.  It’s really fun to step on the scale every morning and see it go down 5 pounds.

The Reality:  HA! HA! HA!  I don’t know why we believe this one.  I did with my first.  Let’s think about that objectively.  Really?  Do we really think we can stuff our faces like pigs and still lose weight?  In real life, to lose weight you have to use more calories than you consume.  While breastfeeding does consume a lot of calories, especially at first, it is not magic.    It does make it easier  however.  So if you eat like a normal person, you will lose weight.

My Experienced Advice:  Just because you may feel like a cow at times, you do not need to eat like one.

Myth 3:   If you do sit-ups and get back down to your pre-baby weight, your stomach will be flat again.

The Little Bit of Truth:  This one is complete crap.  Nothing true about it.  Sorry.

The Reality: Your body is changed forever.  Your stomach may never be flat again.  In my experience, I have to be at least 5 pounds lighter than I was pre-baby to get a flattish stomach.

My Experienced Advice:  Do the sit-ups.  It will get flatter.  But remember that little pooch is from carrying your baby and is worth it.  I like to rub mine for good luck.  Kind of like a Buddha statue.

Myth 4:  Babies don’t bite when they get teeth.

The Little Bit of Truth:  They don’t bite, most of the time.

The Reality:  Yes, yes they do.  And yes, it hurts.  When they’re biting it is usually because they’re teething and their mouth hurts, they’re testing out the new chompers, or they’re done eating and messing around.

My Experienced Advice:  When the biting starts, the feeding stops.  Depending on the situation, I either give them one more chance (if I think they’re still hungry) or I immediately end the feeding with a firm “no biting”.  They figure out pretty quick, biting = no booby.

Myth 5:  Breastfed Baby Poop Doesn’t Smell

The Little Bit of Truth:  Maybe it doesn’t smell as bad.

The Reality:  It’s poop people.  Of course it smells.  You will know when your breastfed baby poops, and not just when it explodes out of the diaper and drips down your leg.  You will be able to smell it.

My Experienced Advice:  Get a good diaper pail or take your garbage out frequently to keep your house from smelling like baby poo.

Myth 6:  Breastfed babies don’t get ear infections or sick as often

The Little Bit of Truth:  Okay, this one may be scientifically a fact.

The Reality:   Your kids will not be immune to everything and they will get sick, breastfed or not.  Mine all get ear infections.  A lot of them.  We had to go talk about tubes with Ella because she had so many and were one infection away from that talk with Sammy.  Penny had her first at four months.  That’s my kids.  Yours may have something else they get.  Breastfeeding does help protect them though, especially newborns.

My Experienced Advice:   You can’t keep your babies in a bubble and keep them from ever getting sick.  It’s not realistic.   Wash hands frequently and do what you can to prevent it.  When they do get sick, be a mom.  Cuddle and cater to them until they’re better.

Those are the big ones I can think of.  Anyone have anymore to add?  Anyone have any you’d like me to debunk?

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About Jessica Anne

11 Responses to “Breastfeeding Myths Debunked”

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  1. TornadoTwos says:

    I think you are right on with all of these. My biggest surprise in breastfeeding is how jealous my husband is of it. Not of the bonding with the baby, but jealous of me and the fact that, and I’m quoting him here, “your breasts are no longer just for me and just for fun.” Sometimes men really are just big babies :)

  2. Leslie
    Twitter: crunchybetty
    says:

    Where was the internet when my giant was a itty bitty breastfeeder? This would have helped sooo much.

    And I just read a study a couple of months ago about how kids who get sick (not bad sick, just kid sick) more often as children grow up to be healthier adults. Not that I’m giving anyone a reason to sneeze on their kids …

  3. Debbi says:

    If you read my guest post at Mommy Monologues, than you know my experience with Myth #2. I do the same thing with my son on the biting thing. I think it was three times of taking the boob away and he got the point. Thank god cause that HURT!!
    The sick thing, I’ve heard alot of the benefits, obviously but for the amount of doc visits and high fevers we had those first few months. I was questioning that fact. Every future breastfeeding Mama needs to read this!

    • Jessica Anne says:

      I totally did not have time to read my blogs yesterday, so when I read your post today, I thought, great minds think alike. :) I was totally in shock when my oldest got sick. I really thought she wouldn’t because she was breastfeeding. Kind of silly to think that really, but I did. My middle child, who is a stinker, would bite every time she was done nursing. I took the boob away, but it didn’t matter because she was done. She didn’t stop until she was weaned.

  4. Alyna @ Better Your Blog
    Twitter: BetterYourBlog
    says:

    This was funny! Great post – I wish this had been written last October so that my friend, who had her baby then, could have read it.

    Ugh. I had ear infections up the wazoo…though I was breast fed, but my mother also smoked so I think that contributed to it, and my ENT were all a bit under developed, my mouth was too small, my ears wouldn’t drain properly (lost 40% of my hearing for a while), I got nose bleeds in my sleep – had adenoids removed, nose cauterized (VERY painful!), palate widened and tubes in ears. One of the tubes didn’t fall out until I was sixteen. Every time I had a check-up they were shocked that I still had it…

    May your kids have healthier ears than I did!!!

    I hope you have a great weekend! I have a lot of reading to catch up on! :-)
    ~ Alyna

  5. MultipleMum says:

    This is a great post. Totally agree with you (and I think I am a bit of an expert too!). I wrote a post about my most recent breastfeeding experience – still haven’t quite weaned my 18month old twins but I am getting there… Take a look:

    http://cootaitlees.blogspot.com/2010/06/tale-of-two-breast-feeders.html

  6. Adriel says:

    aw, i really enjoyed reading this! so fun!!
    adriel