So you've decided to breastfeed your baby and have been getting a lot of mixed messages from your family and friends. Many of the information passed on as facts between mothers are in fact myths or urban legends.
Myths and facts about feeding frequency.
- If I nurse my baby frequently, milk production will become poorer overtime and the nursing difficult. True or false?
FALSE The myth that milk production efficiency depends on the frequency of feeding is a myth. Milk supply in a mother's body is ideally optimized to feed the child whenever needed.
- I should only breastfeed my child 4-6 times a day to maintain a steady milk supply. True or false?
FALSE This is a common myth. Recent studies show that mothers who breastfeed regularly produce more milk. Mothers who provide their children with infrequent or short feedings are shown to suffer from poor milk production.
- My newborn gets all the milk he/she needs in the first 5-10 minutes of nursing. True or false?
FALSE While older babies take the majority of the milk they need in the first 5-20 minutes of feeding, we cannot generalize. Newborns are not efficient in nursing and take more time. Moreover, some mothers take more time to let-down milk in response to the baby's sucking, so it is important to feed your baby until he/she looks full or relaxed.
- I should space my feeding to give my breasts time to refill. True or false?
FALSE Your breasts are considered a "milk storage tank" that send sensitive messages to the milk production glands. If the tank is empty, the message is "help me fill up quicker". If the tanks are almost always full, the message is "please don't produce milk as fast, I'm full". It's important to give your child small, regular feedings for his/her health and facilitate efficient milk production from your end.
- It doesn't matter if I'm breastfeeding or using formula milk, my baby will still take the same number of feedings. True or false?
FALSE Breast milk has a smaller size of protein molecules which are digested faster. While breastfed babies will be hungry in approximately 1.5 hours, a formula milk baby can feel hungry after 3- 4 hours.
- My doctor recommended I feed my baby every 3 hours. I should stick to this number. True or false?
FALSE Your pediatrician has given you general guidelines on the frequency of breastfeeding. It is by no means conclusive. The key here is to listen to your baby's needs, if he/she is not hungry, do not force feed.