Busting Breastfeeding Myths

In celebration of National Breastfeeding Month, a local lactation consultant debunks four common breastfeeding myths.

Breastfeeding is hard. That’s why every August, during National Breastfeeding Month, advocates like Kelly Doresi amp up awareness. Doresi, a Clawson-based certified lactation consultant, helps nursing moms with her organization Successful Breastfeeding.

“A lot of breastfeeding success comes back to trust,” says Doresi. “Trust the process and trust that your body is made to do this.”

Here, she debunks some common myths.

Myth 1: Start with a freezer stash of milk.

“Moms feel like they need to start pumping right away,” Doresi says. But that may lead to an overproduction of milk – which can create latching and stomach issues for baby as well as plugged ducts and infection for mom. Nurse on demand until just a few weeks before returning to work, Doresi says; then, ease into pumping.

Myth 2: Breastfed babies want to eat all night.

Hunger and gas cues are very similar, which can lead to too-swift feedings. “Moms are so exhausted that they assume the baby is hungry, even if it’s just gassy,” Doresi says. “Babies will comfort suckle because of the gas.” Fussing can also be part of active sleep where babies wiggle, open their eyes and make noises.

Myth 3: Dads can’t help with breastfeeding.

Dads may not produce the milk, but Doresi says they play a large role. “When I meet with parents postpartum, it’s always the dad that has the answers.” Doresi says moms are often so involved with trying to make breastfeeding work that they forget details about diapers and feeding times. “Dads can step in and help.”

Myth 4: It happens naturally.

“Moms should learn about breastfeeding before the baby comes,” Doresi says. She also encourages moms to contact professionals. “People don’t reach out to us until things are going really, really wrong.” Try prenatal classes and meet with a lactation consultant after baby is born to address all of these issues.

The Big Latch On

This annual global event typically happens in August. Visit biglatchon.org to find out where things are happening in southeast Michigan this year.

This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated regularly. 

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