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Crappy Breastfeeding Advice That’s Ruining Your Breastfeeding Journey

If you’ve ever heard anything about breastfeeding chances are it’s wrong. Most of the information on the internet and being spread by the medical community is flat out untrue. I decided to compile a list of myths and bust them here, but it turns out there is so much terrible information out there that I would have to write this post for the rest of my life to address it all. So I picked a few to give more information on, complied a large list of other myths and started a podcast called The Badass Breastfeeding Podcast with Dianne Cassidy, IBCLC. The podcast is dedicated to correcting the bad information. So check out some common myths here and head to the podcast for more information to help you reach your breastfeeding goals.

Podcast for Apple / Podcast for Android

Your breastmilk has no nutritional value after one year- That’s right. And did you know that broccoli ceases to provide you with any nutritional value after you turn 12 years old? Oh and also, after you turn 31 years old your body stops being able to absorb the nutrients in apples. Sound ridiculous? Because it is. Everything on earth designed for human consumption provides the nutritional value it is supposed to regardless of your age. As long as you are making milk for your child it is providing valuable nutrients. As a matter of fact, breastmilk at any age, is the most nutrient dense substance known to humans. Your body is an awesome machine that will make milk for as long as your child nurses and your body will tailor that breastmilk to the needs of your growing child at every age. I don’t care what the letters are after the name of the person that tells you otherwise, they are simply wrong.

Night nursing will rot your baby’s teeth- This is another piece of crap thrown around to breastfeeders to make their lives more difficult and to make them wean before they are ready. Dr. Jay Gordon said, “We’d be a dead branch on the evolutionary tree if human milk rotted human teeth.” Actually, when your child is latched your nipple is pulled all the way to the back of their throat making it so that very little breastmilk ever passes over their teeth. Studies show that breastmilk does not increase cavity risk and that it even protects against cavities. It’s likely that other food and drinks are what causes cavities. And the biggest cause? Genetics. Brush your child’s teeth before bed and when they wake up. That’s all you can control. If your dentist tells you to night wean because it’s causing tooth decay, smile and nod then tell them to do their job and stay out of your personal choices.

Jack thinks this advice stinks.

Your small breasts will not produce enough milk- And if you have big breasts you will make gallons at a time! No. This one has to be a result of society’s obsession with the size of our breasts. The size of your breasts has absolutely nothing to do with how much milk you will make. Many breastfeeders with small breasts have struggled with over supply and plenty of large breasted breastfeeders have struggled with low milk supply. Breastfeeding on demand and getting a good latch will help you get a great milk supply no matter the size of your breasts. Your breasts are prefect for your baby. Milk supply issues are a result of scheduled feedings, improper latch and other issues that can be dealt with by help from a lactation consultant.

You’re not making enough milk- Actually you are making enough milk. You are likely struggling with an improper latch that is making it difficult for your child to transfer milk sufficiently from your breasts or you are scheduling feedings and not breastfeeding on demand. It’s also possible that there is no issue at all and you are simply feeling vulnerable as a new breastfeeder. For example, your breasts will not feel full after the first few weeks. This does not mean they are empty, it means they are working properly. And your fussy baby is fussy because they are a baby, not because they are starving. Many times there is no issue at all. The only situation in which a breastfeeder cannot make enough milk for their child despite everything else working is when they have a rare condition called IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue). Contact a lactation consultant and get those issues sorted out. Your body is good enough for your baby.

You have to wean to have surgery- Just no. The most common concern is anesthesia. You are free to breastfeed as soon as you wake up. Do you know why you are awake? Because the anesthesia wore off! And do not pump and dump, there is no reason. All things will leave your system is due time. Most medications are safe for breastfeeding. If you are questioning a medication just look it up here. I once spoke with a person who breastfed through brain surgery. Her doctors used the information from Dr. Hale at the link I provided and she continued her breastfeeding relationship right on through.

I think this crappy advice should be flushed down a toilet.

Breastfeeding a toddler or small child will lead to psychological damage and clinginess- This is complete crap and is rooted in our discomfort with 1. Women using their bodies for the way nature intended. 2. Breastfeeding toddlers not being a cultural norm in our country. 3. Women’s breasts being so sexualized that everything we do with them being sexualized as well. The solid fact of the matter is that breastfeeding is healthy for your child as long as you and your child wish to breastfeed. Keeping your child close and breastfeeding them for as long as you choose will do nothing but foster independence and emotional wellbeing later in life. I make a personal promise to you about this.

Here are many more myths that you can get more information about at The Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, on this website (search keywords) or at Kellymom.

You have to wean to go back to work

You need to pump and dump

You can’t drink alcohol

Supplementing with formula will help your baby sleep

You have to wean when you get pregnant

When they get teeth it’s time to wean!

Breastfeeding beyond infancy is for the mother’s needs

Breastfeeding in public is immodest

Breastfeeding is illegal in some places

You have to toughen up your nipples with a cloth

Exley gives this advice a big thumbs down. 

You can’t nurse if you are stressed or upset

The shape of your breasts determines your breastfeeding success

When your child can ask for it they are too old to breastfeed

You can’t breastfeed if you are sick

You can’t breastfeed if you have mastitis or a plugged duct

You can’t breastfeed while pregnant

Your toddler will drink away the nutrients of your fetus

Breastfeeding will cause premature labor

You can’t breastfeed 2 children (tandem nursing)

Your baby is breastfeeding too much

You are spoiling your baby

Your baby won’t learn to sleep through the night if you breastfeed through the night

Spicy food will make your breastmilk spicy

You can’t breastfeed twins or triplets

You have to have a perfect diet to breastfeed

You have to supplement until your milk comes in

Your breastmilk isn’t enough for your big baby

The amount you pump is equal to the amount you make

You struggled to breastfeed with your first child so you will with your second child too

Formula is equal to breastmilk

Your premature baby can’t breastfeed

Breastfeeding is natural so it will be easy to do

You need to transition your child to cow’s milk

Breastfeeding is supposed to hurt

Your breastmilk is gone from your breasts after 10 minutes of breastfeeding

Your baby burping while breastfeeding is the cause of plugged ducts

Fizzy drinks makes your milk fizzy

Your food choices are affecting your baby

You should put baby on a feeding schedule

If cold air hits your back your breastmilk will dry up

You’re a pervert for breastfeeding beyond infancy

Breastfeeding causes hiccups

You have to pump a bottle for your partner to bond with the baby

To dry up your breastmilk place a cup of it in the sun

You can’t take common medications

Breastfeeding will help your child not be a picky eater

You won’t have enough milk unless you eat certain foods

You have to drink milk to make milk

Colostrum is not healthy and should be discarded

Your baby needs to be offered solid foods over breastmilk

Birth interventions won’t affect breastfeeding

You have to wean by a certain age

You have to wean if they bite you

Disliking breastfeeding means you are not a good mom

If your mom had low milk supply you will too

Breastfeeding causes postpartum hair loss

You can’t suffer from postpartum depression if you breastfeed

If your child can pull down your shirt then they are too old to breastfeed

You have to wait 3 hours after feeding to have sex

If your baby has a gtube they will aspirate on breastmilk

Breastfeeding will make you lose weight

You can’t eat seafood

Breastfeeding will make your baby gay

After 15 minutes of nursing air comes out of your breast

You can’t breastfeed if you are adopting

Breastfeeding causes cancer

Drinking milk will make your baby sick

Supplementing with formula will help your long-term breastfeeding goals


***And this is just the tip of the iceberg***