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Article: Breastfeeding Myths and Misconceptions: The Baby Nutritionist’s Perspective

Breastfeeding Myths and Misconceptions: The Baby Nutritionist’s Perspective
health tips

Breastfeeding Myths and Misconceptions: The Baby Nutritionist’s Perspective

As a new mom, you may find yourself receiving advice from all kinds of people.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding, people are not always sharing research-based information.

Here are some truths about common breastfeeding myths and misconceptions according to a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified lactation counselor.

Note: If you’re struggling to decide how you want to feed your baby, see our post on breastmilk vs. formula, what to consider when making a decision.


The Impact of Stress and Mental Health on Breastfeeding

The Basics

For some moms, having a newborn can bring added stress to life, but you can still successfully breastfeed when you’re stressed or uptight. Your mental health should not impact your overall milk supply.

The Science Behind It

We’re still learning about the complex relationship between mental health and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding hormones like oxytocin can reduce stress, anxiety, and perinatal mood disorders during the post-partum period.

When Stress Becomes a Problem

However, some moms find breastfeeding is adding to their stress, especially if stress is being caused by a painful latch or feeding issues. If you are experiencing anxiety due to pain or other feeding problems, it’s important to get help quickly from an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC).


Breast Size and Its Relation to Milk Production

The Myth Debunked

All women, regardless of size, can successfully breastfeed and produce the right amount of milk for their babies.

What to Consider

While breast size is not a concern, there are some breast abnormalities that could impact your ability to successfully breastfeed. It’s always a good idea to get a prenatal breast exam from your OBGYN or midwife, especially if you have any concerns about your body.


Diet, Hydration, and Exercise and Their Effects on Breastmilk

Nutrition Matters, But Not How You Think

Eating a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated and exercising while breastfeeding can have health benefits for you and your baby. But, you can certainly be successful breastfeeding even if you don’t always make the healthiest of food choices.

Hydration and Exercise

When it comes to hydration, simply drinking to thirst is usually sufficient, and plain water does the trick! On the exercise front, it’s perfectly safe and healthy to exercise while breastfeeding.


The Truth About Caffeine and Alcohol While Breastfeeding

The Good News

Good news! You don’t have to sacrifice your morning coffee (or your other favorite caffeinated beverage) while breastfeeding your baby.

Moderation is Key

When it comes to alcohol, drinking in moderation is generally considered safe.


Medications and Their Impact on Breastfeeding

What to Know

There are many medications that are considered safe while breastfeeding. Be sure to mention you are breastfeeding when starting any new medications.


Breast Surgeries and Their Impact on Milk Supply

The Possibilities

When it comes to breast enhancements or reductions, it’s possible that you can still breastfeed without any issues. It’s also possible that the tissue and/or nerve damage could cause some challenges.


Conclusion

You’re doing a great job, mama!

rebecca ellison profile

Rebecca Ellison, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN, CLC

Rebecca is the author of this post and is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), certified lactation counselor (CLC), wife and a mama to three littles in Knoxville, Tennessee.

You can visit her website to view her breastfeeding course 'Ready, Set, Latch!'

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