The Biggest Breastfeeding Myth Is…

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about breastfeeding myths and dispelling them. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!


 

 

My vote for the biggest breastfeeding myth is…

“My baby needs a formula top-up”

The biggest breastfeeding myth, in my opinion, is that if babies drink a formula “top-up”, it is because they are still hungry (implying that some of us don’t produce enough milk to satisfy our babies). Babies have the reflex to swallow… and they get overfed. Giving these top-ups to our babies create obstacles for us moms and puts our own milk supply in danger. A baby who just had a giant “top-up” might skip a drink at the breast after and, the less often the baby drinks at the breast, the less milk we produce.

I think it is a very insidious thing, because as adults, we eat more because we are still hungry (hmmm, wait a second, is that always true?). It goes against our natural instinct to think that a baby who drinks from a bottle might not be thirsty. From birth to around 5 months, a baby will start sucking when his lips are touched from all sides (when put at the breast, with a finger, a soother or when bottle-fed), not only when he is hungry.

If a baby shows signs of hunger after having been at the breast, have a good look at the latch and make sure the baby really swallows milk (and is not only sucking at the breast without swallowing). If he is, and he is gaining weight, and he looks healthy, then the reason for his cries – if that was the late hunger cue – might lie elsewhere (and I’m not going into the thousands of options here!). The trouble with bottles compared to breasts, is that the baby does not control the flow from a bottle and can’t really stop on his own when he’s done. It’s also tricky when the parent holds the bottle, because it’s easy to feel like the baby has to drink it all. On the other hand, you can’t overfeed your baby at the breast.

I particularly appreciate this problem because, like many other North-Americans who struggle with their weight, I have such a hard time evaluating what a right size portion should be. I weigh, I measure, I eyeball, I weigh myself and I obsess with it. Babies are so much brighter. They naturally know what their portion should be. Unless we interfere with their natural ability by feeding them “controlled portions”, they will, at the breast, recognize when they are full and stop drinking by themselves, and this early self-learning will last for years. Some studies show that the longer a baby is exclusively breastfed, the lower his risk for becoming overweight is compared to those who were bottle-fed.

Sometimes I wish I was a breastfeding baby!

What’s the biggest breastfeeding myth in your opinion?

 


Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

4 thoughts on “The Biggest Breastfeeding Myth Is…”

  1. This is so spot-on! Our first visit to the ped after going home from the hospital, this is exactly what he told me I needed to do, because baby’s weightloss was over 10%…FIRST mistake in a series of many for a first-time mom who hadn’t done her homework! So wish I had known better than to start doing that!

  2. This is so spot on! That’s exactly what the ped told us we needed to do our 1st visit after going home from the hospital, because my daughter had lost more than 10% of her birthweight…FIRST mistake of many by a first-time mom who didn’t know any better!

    1. It is so hard to navigate through all the information (and misinformation) out there. Wouldn’t it be nice if our doctors could help, instead of hinder!?!

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