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Common Breastfeeding Myths

A nursing expert explains breastfeeding myths and separates fact from fiction for new moms.

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-Hi, I'm Kimberly Durdin and I'm a board certified lactation consultant. And I've been helping moms breastfeed for over 20 years. A lot of moms hear different things about breastfeeding, different myths that may make them think that breastfeeding is difficult or impossible even. One of the most common myths I hear is that moms are concerned that they might not ever make enough milk to meet the needs of their baby. The truth of the matter is almost all women can breastfeed their babies. And most women can breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months as is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. So, with good support and good knowledge, most moms can go on to breastfeed their babies fully without the use of unnecessary supplementation. Another myth that I hear quite frequently is that breastfeeding is supposed to hurt or that painful latching on, painful breastfeeding experiences are just kind of what happens when you're breastfeeding and most moms get concerned that in order to breastfeed their baby, they'll somehow have to learn to deal with this type of pain. Well, that's really untrue. Breastfeeding is not supposed to hurt. It is common the first couple of days after birth to experience some nipple tenderness even if your baby is properly latched, but it should go no further than that. After about the first week of breastfeeding, mom should really not be feeling anymore tenderness and that anytime when mom is breastfeeding, if she feels pain when her baby latches on, she should-- she should seek support and help from a board certified lactation consultant or a community breastfeeding helper. Another common myth that parents sometimes hear is that formula is the same as breast milk and that there is absolutely no difference between the two. Remember that breast milk contains antibodies, which protect your babies from disease, illness, and formulas don't contain antibodies at all. Formulas provide vitamins, and minerals, and the basics of nutrition for your baby. Breast milk contains everything that your baby needs, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, enzymes, growth hormones, and a host of other things that are not available in formula such as the immune protection against diseases and illnesses. So, they're really not the same. However, if you need to use-- if you think you need to use a formula, first talk to your doctor or lactation consultant and they could help you find what's the best choice for you as well as some alternatives to using formula if you feel you need to supplement. Well, I hope this information helps you steer clear of some of the most common breastfeeding myths that are out there. For more information, peruse some of our other topics as well. Check out some of the websites that we've listed in the resources. Thanks for watching.