As a nurse practitioner and lactation consultant for many years, I have heard many new mothers talk about how difficult it is to breastfeed. Let’s dispel some of the myths about breastfeeding:

Myth #1 Breastfeeding just comes naturally to moms.
No! While often instinctive to babies, breastfeeding is no more instinctive to moms than barbecuing is to dads. It is learned behavior and gets easier with guidance and practice.

Myth #2 Everyone has pain in the first weeks of breastfeeding.
No! Pain is ALWAYS a sign that something is wrong. Please know that it can often be prevented, and that once its cause is determined, can usually be eliminated. Suffering is not part of breastfeeding. If you are having pain, please get help!

Myth #3 Never wake a sleeping baby.
No! Newborns are notoriously sleepy, and in the first days of life, it is not unusual for them to sleep through a feeding, seem “too sleepy to eat,” or fall asleep before they actually get enough to eat. If and when to wake them will depend on many factors.

Myth #4 It is important to get your newborn on a feeding schedule.
No! While some babies settle into patterns early, it is more likely that they will want to be fed in a range of hours, like every one to three hours. Sometimes a newborn can be at the breast for hours and not get enough to eat because he is not really drinking. Rather, he is pacifying or sleeping. The trick is to recognize hunger and satiation signs, know when the baby is actually swallowing milk, and identify “red flags.”

There is a lot of new research about breastfeeding that helps new parents avoid the pitfalls that caused many of their parents and friends to quit breastfeeding. Taking a breastfeeding class during pregnancy and getting professional help soon after the baby arrives can help prevent these pitfalls or reverse them early.

Parents Place is pleased to be offering Breastfeeding and Caring for your Newborn, a class to help expectant parents learn about feeding and caring for their newborn during the first two weeks of life. Learn more here >

If you have any questions, contact me at 650-688-3053 or [email protected].

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