5 Breastfeeding Myths Debunked

Dec 26, 2016
Tagged with: 5 Breastfeeding Myths Debunked


Despite the fact that we’ve been hearing for years now how beneficial breastfeeding is for both mother and baby, there are still some rumors circulating about the practice. If you’re pregnant and wondering whether or not to breastfeed, it’s important to get accurate information on the realities of breastfeeding. To help you get informed, here are five breastfeeding myths, debunked.

  1. Breastfeeding is always easy to get the hang of

Breastfeeding seems simple at first glance, but many moms struggle with problems that can limit supply or reduce the amount of milk the baby gets. Some new moms get discouraged when breastfeeding gets complicated and doesn’t go according to plan, which is understandable: a baby who isn’t eating consistently is at risk for many health problems. Most women and babies learn to manage to breastfeed and gain the benefits. It’s a good idea to have access to breastfeeding resources before birth so that any problems can be handled quickly, with less stress on the family. Sometimes, the problems are just a matter of technique!


  1. It’s not okay to drink alcohol when breastfeeding

Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy, as there is a risk of harming a fetus. However, breastfeeding transmits alcohol to the baby, and as long as the mother is not drinking heavily, this breastfeeding myth holds no weight. It is unfortunate for a woman to be shamed for having the occasional drink when breastfeeding.


  1. Extra calorie intake is always necessary for adequate milk production

While many women find that they need to consume more calories when breastfeeding to meet their needs, the calorie intake doesn’t have an effect on the amount of milk produced, unless the mother’s calorie levels drop dramatically for an extended period. Moreover, no special diet is followed while breastfeeding. Mothers should try to eat a balanced diet, but shouldn’t have restrictions on which foods they can enjoy—it doesn’t affect the baby’s health and is an unnecessary deprivation.


  1. Breastfeeding is an airtight birth control method

Depending on who you ask, there are two sides to this breastfeeding myth. The first is that breastfeeding is a completely foolproof method for birth control. The second is that breastfeeding doesn’t act as birth control. Well, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Women who are breastfeeding exclusively (every 4-6 hours) will have hormonal levels that prevent ovulation and menstruation, but it’s not a perfect method. Some women can still get pregnant, so if a couple doesn’t want to have another pregnancy, a backup plan may be a good idea.


  1. Women who have had breast surgery cannot breastfeed

Many women who have breast augmentation with implants or breast reduction worry that they won’t be able to breastfeed. While these types of operations can occasionally affect breastfeeding ability, they do not with the majority of cases. There’s no reason not to try, especially since the artificial material in the breasts poses no risk to the baby.


A Natural, Free Nutrition Source

Not all women can breastfeed, but for those who can, there are massive potential benefits. Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce hospital intake rates, as well as minimize the rate of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) by 50% in babies 6-23 months old. Breastfeeding also helps strengthen the bond between mother and baby and set babies up for a brighter future. With so many benefits, it’s important that every woman knows the facts about breastfeeding so that she can make an informed decision.


To learn more, visit womenshealth.gov or check out the breastfeeding resources below:

Breastfeeding as Birth Control

Breastfeeding Fact Sheet

The CDC Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies

Author: Audrey Willis