I made a conscious choice not to breastfeed my oldest daughter. I had almost no exposure to breastfeeding and never thought twice about my choice. However, I decided when I was pregnant with my second daughter that maybe I owed it to her and my family to research breastfeeding.
As I started to read and ask questions, I found that I had heard some urban legends and myths about breastfeeding and taken them as gospel truth. I decided to try breastfeeding this time around, and ended up nursing for close to a year. If you are closing the door on the idea of breastfeeding, are you falling for one or all of these breastfeeding myths?
Myth #1: Breastfeeding is sexual.
I never actually thought that breastfeeding would turn me on, but I did have a hard time thinking of my breasts as anything other than sexual objects. As a result, I couldn’t even imagine what breastfeeding would feel or be like.
Once I started reading and realized that breasts are actually here for the specially designed purpose of making milk, I was able to entertain the thought of doing it myself. I learned that breastfeeding does have a very calming and relaxing feeling for the mother caused by the release of oxytocin and prolactin.
Myth #2: I won’t know if my baby is getting enough milk if I breastfeed her.
Many nursing mothers worry about whether their milk supply is adequate. There are many ways to determine if your baby is getting enough milk. Wet diapers, steady weight gain, and emptier feeling breasts after nursing are all signs that your baby is getting milk.
I also learned that I shouldn’t compare my baby’s weight gain to the weight gain of formula fed babies. Breastfed babies gain weight at different rates, and should be evaluated in comparison to other breastfed babies. I often heard people comment that there was no way of knowing if my daughter was getting enough to drink. Thankfully, these ways do exist!
Myth #3: I will never be able to leave my breastfed baby.
This was a big concern for me when I considered the possibility of breastfeeding. Even as a stay at home mom, I put a lot of value in my “me time” and wanted to be able to go to dinner with friends, out with my husband to a movie, and to have quality alone time with my oldest daughter. Would I be able to do those things if I was breastfeeding?
I was pleased to find that the answer was yes. It is possible to make breastfeeding work for all different lifestyles. Women have the option of pumping when separated from their babies, meaning that you can take some time for yourself. While my daughter is a bit attached to me, I have found that it has more to do with her personality and temperament than with the way I chose to feed her.
Don’t fall for these 3 breastfeeding myths when making decisions about breastfeeding. I am proud to say that I researched and learned about breastfeeding and then nursed my second daughter for just short of a year. From someone who was completely scared away by the thought of it at one point, I now firmly believe that any woman can do it. After all, I did.