Busting breastfeeding myths

New mothers are bombarded with tips, tutorials and remedies for breastfeeding, and some of that information may be more myth than fact.

These myths are common knowledge for Nathalie Dumaresq and Melanie Russell, who both work as registered nurses and lactation consultants at the breastfeeding clinic at the Grey Nuns Community Hospital. They say they debunk breastfeeding myths almost every day since more parents are turning to the Internet to gather information. Nathalie explains that although it’s great that mothers are eager to learn about breastfeeding, incorrect information that can be found on the Internet can cause anxiety for first-time moms.

“A lot of mothers quit breastfeeding because they are reading wrong information, and if they don’t come and ask questions of a health professional, especially a lactation consultant, then it can really affect their breastfeeding experience,” says Melanie.

Both Nathalie and Melanie say that the best way to stay away from incorrect information is to go to a reliable Internet source, such as healthyparentshealthychildren.ca, or to go right to the experts, such as a lactation consultant.

“We want people to know that we are here. Breastfeeding clinics are around, and moms can access us if they need us,” says Melanie.

“We will see them once every week or two weeks until they are on the path they need. It’s not a one-stop deal,” Nathalie continues.

In the video below, Nathalie and Melanie debunk common breastfeeding myths.

More breastfeeding myths busted by Melanie and Nathalie

Exercise will affect the taste of breast milk.

Studies show that moderate exercise will not affect the taste of milk or milk production. If there is extreme exertion, like athletes or marathon runners experience, it can affect the lactic acid in the breast milk, which will change the taste of the milk. The milk is still safe for the baby.

A mother has to drink milk to produce milk.

The key to making milk is to drink water. No mammals need to drink another mammal's milk to produce their own milk.

You can’t breastfeed while taking medication.

It is rare to find a medication that makes a mother’s milk unsafe for breastfeeding. Consult your healthcare provider or lactation consultant to make sure your medication is safe to take while you are breastfeeding. If the medication is unsafe for breastfeeding, alternative medications can be recommended.

Every mother can breastfeed.

Most mothers can breastfeed, but breastfeeding can be difficult. There are mothers who don’t produce enough milk, causing them to stop breastfeeding and often turn to a milk bank. But it is rare to have a mother who can’t produce milk at all.

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