Breastfeeding Myths Uncovered: Guidance From a Newborn Doctor

A mother holding her newborn child,

The main purpose of breastfeeding is to feed and nourish your baby, but for many, it can also serve as an enriching bonding experience for both mother and child. For first-time moms, deciding whether to breastfeed depends on several factors.

Breastfeeding presents numerous benefits, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that your baby is properly fed. If you are considering breastfeeding, do not let these common myths dissuade you.

1. You Should Avoid Certain Foods

One of the biggest misconceptions about breastfeeding is that you should avoid certain foods and drinks. The truth is that you should only limit alcohol. Alcoholic drinks should be kept to one or fewer drinks with a low alcohol content per day.

Nearly everything else is still on the table for new moms! Your newborn doctor will recommend that you follow a well-balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods while breastfeeding. If you notice that your baby has an adverse reaction when you eat or drink certain foods or drinks, speak with your pediatrician.

2. Breastfeeding Is Painful

A common concern for new moms is the way breastfeeding feels. There is a myth that breastfeeding is painful. In the first few days, breastfeeding may feel strange and uncomfortable. This discomfort is because it is a new experience your body is not used to, but breastfeeding should be perfectly comfortable once you adjust.

Many women spend the first few days learning how to breastfeed in a way that feels best for them. Your newborn doctor or lactation consultant can help your infant latch correctly, avoiding the potential for sore or damaged nipples. You should speak with your doctor if you still have pain several weeks into breastfeeding.

3. You Cannot Take Medications

Another concern surrounding breastfeeding is medication. If you are a new mom who takes medication, you may worry that this is unsafe for your baby. When it comes to medications, you need to share all of this information with your pediatrician.

Most medications are safe to take when breastfeeding, but some can pass to the baby and lead to adverse effects.

Make sure to tell your doctor what medications you take, the exact dosage, and how often you take them. If you are on a medication that is unsafe for your baby, you may be switched to an alternative medication. You can also change dosages or take your medication at times that will not impact your breast milk.

4. You Cannot Breastfeed When Sick

Some people believe you should not breastfeed your baby when sick because the illness may pass to the infant. In most cases, this will not happen. As long as you feel well enough, you should be able to breastfeed your baby. Make sure to check with your newborn doctor in advance to confirm this is okay.

It is important to consider your own health when breastfeeding your baby. You want to remain as strong and healthy as possible. If your illness requires any medications or treatment, you should receive the care you need as soon as possible. Make sure you stay well-hydrated and get plenty of rest to recover more efficiently.

5. Babies Should Be Weaned When You Return to Work

One of the most notable concerns for new moms is how they will navigate motherhood and their careers. Can you return to work while breastfeeding? Some people believe you must wean your baby before you return to work, but this is not always necessary.

Many mothers can return to work and continue breastfeeding at the same time. This is very doable with a good support system and quality breast pump.

More employers are understanding the importance of breastfeeding and supporting new mothers with private rooms for pumping and other accommodations to make the process easier.

Navigating Your Breastfeeding Journey With a Newborn Doctor

Are you a soon-to-be mom who is unsure about breastfeeding? Speaking with a pediatrician or newborn doctor can provide great help. We work with new moms at Newport Children’s Medical Group, helping guide them through the breastfeeding journey. You can learn more by contacting us online or visiting our office today.