Breastfeeding Myths vs Facts

Q. Well, what ARE some of the myths about breastfeeding? It’s hard to tell what to believe.

A. This is another good question. In our modern society, it is often hard to pick out facts from fiction. But as our understanding of breastfeeding continues to improve as we re-learn some of the basics, we have a better idea of what is real and what is just a belief that does not have a solid basis.

For example, it is not a good idea to get breastfeeding information from formula companies. The information is often technically correct, but tends to imply that breastfeeding is often difficult or excessively time-consuming and is often written in such a way that it undermines a mother’s confidence in her ability to make enough milk. The FACT is that breastfeeding challenges can usually be resolved, and sometimes moms need good objective assistance from health professionals. IBCLC’s have a lot of specialized training in breastfeeding challenges — and helping moms fix those challenges!

Sometimes untrue information gets passed around after someone in a family or community had a certain problem. For example, a lot of moms are told “Breastfeeding hurts for a few weeks, but then you get used to it.” The FACT is that breastfeeding should not hurt, but if it does, that probably means that you need to fix the latch — and please remember that it is normal to need help if you can’t easily resolve it yourself. Or any other breastfeeding challenge, for that matter.

Another thing moms are frequently told is: “Breastfeed for about 20 minutes and then switch sides.” This is often counter-productive when a baby might very well need to return to the same breast before switching sides. The FACT is that it is much better to let your baby’s individual needs guide you to when to switch sides. A lactation consultant can help guide you with this if you are concerned, or your baby does not seem to be satisfied after feedings.

Watch this column for more myths/facts in the future. In the meantime, the breastfeeding myth subject is also discussed at Mothering Magazine’s website. See: Mothering Magazine

You can also get great info at sites such as La Leche League International or

Check our links in the menu above, to go to good websites.