Content provided by UCHealth
Breastfeeding can be a great way to communicate with and nourish your baby. But it’s not always easy: sometimes it can be confusing, difficult and downright difficult.
Bronwyn Ebner, registered nurse and lactation consultant at UCHealth Birth Center at Yampa Valley Medical Center, dispels common breastfeeding myths below.
Myth 1: Breastfeeding is easy.
“Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s easy,” Ebner said. “It is an art that requires patience, practice and perseverance.”
If you have trouble breastfeeding, seek help as soon as possible. A trained professional, such as a lactation consultant, can usually provide tips and tricks that make a difference.
Myth 2: Breastfeeding is supposed to hurt.
Although it’s common to have pain when you’re learning to breastfeed, proper support and positioning of your baby can help you avoid pain and damage. If your nipples are bleeding, cracked or blistered, don’t suffer: talk to a lactation consultant or other qualified professional.
Myth 3: If I have COVID-19, I shouldn’t breastfeed.
If you have the virus or have been exposed to it, experts say you can continue breastfeeding – just wear a mask and practice good hand hygiene.
“There is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through breast milk,” Ebner said. “In fact, the antibodies you make when you’re exposed to a disease are passed to your baby in your breast milk and provide support and protection for your baby’s developing immune system.”
Myth 4: Marijuana is natural, so it is safe to use while breastfeeding.
Studies are inconclusive on how much THC, the chemical responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana, reaches a baby through breast milk, but mothers should be careful about using cannabis during pregnancy and nursing. feeding with milk.
“Because THC is stored in fat, it has the potential to negatively affect the baby’s developing brain,” Ebner said. “In addition, mothers should avoid anything that impairs their judgment when caring for their baby.”
Myth 5: I should “pump and dump” every time I drink alcohol.
An occasional alcoholic drink has not been shown to be harmful while breastfeeding, but if you drink more than that, you can “pump and dump” until you no longer feel the effects of alcohol. Do not nurse or breastfeed your baby if you are impaired.
Myth 6: If I’m depressed, I can’t take medicine and breastfeed.
New moms should never feel pressured to struggle with depression: your healthcare provider can help you find antidepressants or other medications that are safe for breastfeeding.
“If you have chronic depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression, please contact your health care provider,” Ebner said. “Your mental health is as important as your physical health.”
Myth 7: I couldn’t breastfeed my first baby, so I can’t breastfeed my next baby.
Every pregnancy and every baby is different, so breastfeeding can be a totally different experience with your second or third baby. Contact a lactation consultant to go through your options and address any concerns.
Myth 8: If I’m breastfeeding, I can’t use formula.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months, formula milk is also still an option. “Any amount of breast milk is beneficial,” Ebner said.
Myth 9: I’m a bad mother if I don’t want to breastfeed.
Moms shouldn’t feel bad about doing what they think is best for their family and baby, and for many, that means using formula.
“You should never feel pressured to breastfeed — it’s your body, your baby, your choice,” Ebner said. “We are here to provide you with information and assistance.”
Myth 10: I should be able to do it myself.
Being a new mom can be an isolating experience. Add a pandemic to the mix, and the stress and struggle can increase tremendously. Never hesitate to ask for help.
“As the old saying goes, it takes a village,” Ebner said.