5 Popular Breastfeeding Myths Debunked By Lactation Experts
There always seem to be a lot of controversies when it comes to nursing. Whether it's breastfeeding in public, drinking alcohol while breastfeeding or when the right time to stop breastfeeding is, most people stick to their beliefs and this can lead to an argument or two. However, there are a few myths that seem to be quite popular and experts have attempted to debunk some of them.
There are people who believe that antiperspirant should be avoided while breastfeeding because one of its components, aluminium, is toxic for your breast tissue.
Aimee Abu-Shamsieh, M.D., M.P.H., associate clinical professor of paediatrics at the UCSF Fresno, said this is actually not true. She explained that you are technically more likely to experience the effect of aluminium through the food you eat than your skin products because it is a component commonly found in the environment. Regardless, barely any reaches the breast milk either way.
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2. Pain relievers
There are mums that have chosen to suffer in pain instead of taking medications because of the myth that pain relievers are a no-no while breastfeeding.
According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen are generally okay to take. There are some drugs you might want to avoid like decongestants (which can lower milk production) or antihistamines as they can make you drowsy. However, be sure to seek your doctor's advice before taking any medication as, depending on your body or a condition you may have, you may react differently.
Sometimes, all a new mother needs is a pick-me-up to energise her in the morning and prepare her for the day with her baby. Now imagine denying yourself that because of a belief that isn't even true.
According to research, your baby will only a very small percentage of what you drink. To be on the safer side, though, Dr Abu-Shamsieh advises that one to three servings of caffeine spread over the day is much safer.
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4. Baby weight
While some of us have heard that breastfeeding burns calories, it might be tempting to cut out more calories to achieve a better outcome, right? Wrong.
Dr Abu-Shamsieh explained that breastfeeding burns about 500 calories a day and this is more than enough to help you lose those extra pounds. If you try and do too much too soon, you might end up doing more harm to your body. It is best to wait to diet until at least two months postpartum when milk supply is established. If you really want to speed up the weight loss process, simply opt for healthier meals like fruits and veggies, protein, foods with healthy fats like avocado and nuts and so on.
There is a myth that as long as you pump and dump, you can have as much alcohol as you want.
This is a dangerous belief as even a small amount of alcohol will be passed into the breast milk. Julie Mennella, Ph.D., a developmental biopsychologist at Monell Chemical Senses Center said that this will end up changing the taste of the milk, causing your child to get used to the taste of alcohol. She also added that alcohol affects infant brain development.
In addition, because we all metabolise alcohol differently, the pump and dump trick might backfire. Having a drink once in a while is fine but a glass of wine at dinner every night might still end up affecting your baby regardless of how often you dump because there is simply no way to test how much alcohol your baby is getting.
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At the end of the day, being careful while breastfeeding is important. As they say, it's better to be safe than sorry. Don't push yourself to do too much too soon and but don't drive yourself into hysterics by believing everything you hear. When in doubt, you should consult your doctor.
This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended to provide medical advice. Mambee doesn’t take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this post. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the readers should consult with their physician or other healthcare provider.