Breastfeeding Myth Busters

IMPORTANT: ARTICLE CORRECTION

  • Myth: Breastfeeding is easy and everyone can do it.

Fact: While breastfeeding is a mother’s natural way of nourishing her baby, it isn’t as easy for some mothers and it doesn’t always work as planned. This is why there are lactation specialists who can help in the hospital and make home visits to teach moms and babies how to breastfeed, or refer out for any other problems.

  • Myth: The only way to feed a baby is through breast or bottle. 

Fact: There are many ways to feed a baby other than through breastfeeding or bottle feeding. You can use a spoon, cup, dropper, syringe, or a supplemental nursing system to transfer breast milk or formula.

  • Myth: Breastfeeding is natural birth control (called lactational amenorrhea).

Correction: In the Breastfeeding Myths article in the Spring 2019 Print issue the author of the article has discovered an editorial change that needs immediate correction. This information is extremely important to the breastfeeding dyad. 

The corrected information is as follows:

Myth: Breastfeeding is natural birth control (called lactational amenorrhea). 

Fact: Only if all of the guidelines are met and then only with an effectiveness rate of approximately 98%. These are: baby is six months old or less; exclusive breastfeeding with NO pacifiers, bottles or other foods or liquids, breastfeeding on cue 24 hours per day and co-sleeps. Once your baby starts sleeping through the night (5 continuous hours or more) or your menstrual cycle returns, breastfeeding is no longer a reliable method of birth control.”

The author does not advise breastfeeding at intervals of at least every 4 hours during the day and at least every 6 hours during the night. 

A newborn baby needs to breastfeed a minimum of 8-12 times per day, which is equal to every three hours or less around the clock. 

  • Myth: All breast pump parts and baby bottles must be sterilized after each use. 

Fact: Warm soapy water and air drying parts after each use is sufficient; all pump and bottle parts must be sterilized only every few days.

  • Myth: Breastfeeding is how to bond with baby.

Fact: There are many ways to bond with a baby, and bonding doesn’t solely depend on breastfeeding. An adult will bond with a baby by responding to the baby’s needs, making eye contact, and using touch and language. All will help baby to feel loved and secure.

  • Myth: Cabbage leaves are safe to use to help relieve breast engorgement. 

Fact: Using cabbage leaves on your breasts increases the risk of contracting the bacterial infection listeria (foodborne illness that can be fatal for newborns). Studies have proven that using hot and cold compresses are more effective, and pose no adverse health risks.

Jade Holter is a certified postpartum doula and certified lactation educator. She works island wide making house calls for families with newborn babies. For more information, contact Jade at 808-280-0505 or www.doulajade.com.

 Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment.