A Collection of Bad Breastfeeding Advice
Here is a collection of ‘bad advice’ that many women are given in regard to breastfeeding from nurses, family, friends, etc. This bad advice is usually given with the very best intentions and is not meant to be ‘bad’. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything stated here!
*You must ‘prepare’ your nipples: rubbing with a towel/loofah/washcloth, pinching, pulling, etc. Leave your nipples alone! Your nipples were designed to breastfeed. Do not do anything to them; nipple stimulation is a labor inducer. During your third trimester, you can put Lansinoh cream on them, but you shouldn’t have to do anything else. Once you are nursing, use only warm water to wash your breasts, as soap may dry your nipples.
*Don’t put Lansinoh cream directly on your nipples; it will cause clogged ducts . Put it right on them; that’s what it’s for. Also, it does NOT need to be washed off before baby nurses.
*Baby shouldn’t nurse more than every 3-4 hours or you’ll spoil her. In the first few weeks, baby should eat at least every 3 hours-this is a minimum. It will often be closer to every 2 hours, as breastmilk digests in approximately 90 minutes. An increase in nursing time and frequency will happen during growth spurts, changes in routine, etc. Nurse on demand, as nursing is also a source of comfort for baby. You can never nurse too often; you can nurse too little. It’s a common thought that babies under 6 months cannot be spoiled.
*Switch breasts every 5-7 minutes, 10 minutes, etc. Never watch the clock when you are nursing. Baby will tell you that he is done by pulling off of your breast or falling asleep. When baby is finished with one breast, offer the second, though baby may or may not take it.
*You must not have enough milk, your milk must be bad, you should use formula if: baby is nursing so often, for such long periods, you don’t think you are pumping enough, etc. Baby will go through growth spurts, may cluster feed, or have some ‘marathon’ nursing sessions for any number of reasons. It does NOT mean your supply is low or that your milk is ‘bad’. These increases in frequency will come and go, but they will not last forever. Continue to feed on demand.
Never, never, never look to length of time nursing or pumping output as a reliable indicator of your supply. To see if baby is getting enough milk, watch her number of wet diapers and if she’s content after eating. Weight gain and meeting developmental milestones is also a good indicator that she’s getting enough. Your baby nursing is much more efficient than even the best breast pump.
*It won’t hurt to give one bottle of formula, a pacifier, etc: Both bottles and pacifiers can cause nipple confusion. With a bottle, baby may also decide he likes the faster flow of a bottle and may refuse the breast. Artificial nipples should only be introduced once nursing has been well established for a minimum of 3 weeks.
Milk production is a supply and demand process. If you give baby that one bottle of formula, your body will think baby doesn’t need as much milk, and will decrease your supply. With a lower supply, you will have to supplement with more formula, your body will continue to decrease your supply, and you’ll soon be down to nothing.
*Give baby a little cereal in a bottle; it will help him sleep through the night.Babies need NOTHING but breastmilk until at least 6 months of age. This cuts down on developing food allergies and gives the digestive tract time to mature. All babies are different, and giving cereal will not always guarantee sleeping through the night.
*There are no benefits to nursing past 6 months. The six month mark recommended by the APA, WHO, etc. is a minimum. The benefits to baby and you will continue as long as you breastfeed. In cases where food allergies are expected, breastfeeding is recommended a full year.
*If you have a sore breast, don’t nurse with it for a day or two. This can lead to a supply problem. Unless it’s very, very painful, you should nurse even a sore breast. It’s best to offer the healthy breast first, as baby will then be more gentle with the second breast. It’s best to see your doctor if you develop any problems ASAP.
*You can’t nurse if you’re sick. The only illnesses that require you to stop breastfeeding are HIV/AIDS HTLV-1 and septicetmia from food poisioning. If you are sick, do continue to breastfeed-baby has already been exposed, and your milk will develop specific antibodies to whatever you have. If you are given medication, be sure your care provider knows you are breastfeeding. If a medication isn’t okay to take while breastfeeding, there is usually an alternative.
*Your baby isn’t getting enough milk when given a bottle. Up to 6 months, an exclusively breastfed baby will only need approximately 3 ounces of breastmilk per feeding if eating every 3 hours, 2 ounces if eating every 2 hours. As baby grows, your breastmilk becomes more concentrated with the nutrients it produces. Formula doesn’t change, which is why it must be continually increased as baby grows. If baby seems to be eating significantly more than that, it’s most likely that the person giving baby the bottle isn’t adequately reading the signs that baby is finished.
*If baby is born and not producing enough wet diapers, you must supplement with formula. If there is a problem with baby not getting enough milk, pumped breastmilk is a better alternative to formula. To avoid nipple confusion, baby should be fed with a medicine dropper, oral syringe, etc. Babies are born with extra water to carry them through until mom’s milk ‘comes in’, generally 3-5 days after giving birth.
*It is better bottle feed … you can make your DH get up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. It isn’t fair that you should have to do all the work.Okay, formula feeding is easier on mom. For about the first month, you will be the ONLY person that can feed her. This will take up a good portion of your post-partum time and energy. Dad and siblings need to realize that they’ll really have to do many of the chores: cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.
*If your child is dehydrated, you must stop breastfeeding. Baby will not need any supplements to prevent dehydration IF he/she is eating often. Pedialyte can be used in addition to breastmilk, but should not replace it. Breastmilk does not dehydrate like cow’s milk.
This list was compiled from “bad bf advice” given to moms from iVillage’s Breastfeeding Support/Ask the LC board, and brought together for us here by Theresa. Thank you, moms, and thank you Theresa for sharing this with us!
Copyright © 2000 – 2006 Jim Yount