by Dr. Jack Newman
women do not produce enough milk.
true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough
milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common. Most
babies that gain too slowly, or lose weight, do so not because
the mother does not have enough milk, but because the baby
does not get the milk that the mother has. The usual reason
that the baby does not get the milk that is available is that
he is poorly latched onto the breast. This is why it is so
important that the mother be shown, on the first day, how
to latch a baby on properly, by someone who knows what they
is normal for breastfeeding to hurt?
Not true! Though some tenderness during the first
few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary
situation which lasts only a few days and should never be
so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than
mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching
on poorly. Any nipple pain that is not getting better
by day 3 or 4 or lasts beyond 5 or 6 days should not
be ignored. A new onset of pain when things have been going
well for a while may be due to a yeast infection of the nipples.
Limiting feeding time does not prevent soreness.
is no (not enough) milk during the first 3 or 4 days after
true! It often seems like that because the baby is not
latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk.
Once the mother's milk is abundant, a baby can latch
on poorly and still may get plenty of milk. However, during
the first few days, the baby who is latched on poorly
cannot get milk. This accounts for "but he's been on
the breast for 2 hours and is still hungry when I take him
off". By not latching on well, the baby is unable to
get the mother's first milk, called colostrum. Anyone who
suggests you pump your milk to know how much colostrum there
is, does not understand breastfeeding, and should be
baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each
Not true! However, a distinction needs to be made
between "being on the breast" and "breastfeeding".
If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20 minutes on
the first side, he may not want to take the second side
at all. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and
then nibbles or sleeps, and does the same on the other, no
amount of time will be enough. The baby will breastfeed better
and longer if he is latched on properly. He can also be helped
to breastfeed longer if the mother compresses the breast to
keep the flow of milk going, once he no longer swallows on
his own. Thus it is obvious that the rule of thumb that
"the baby gets 90% of the milk in the breast in the
first 10 minutes" is equally hopelessly wrong.
breastfeeding baby needs extra water in hot weather.
true! Breastmilk contains all the water a baby needs.
is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed.
Not true! Or, this should not be true. However,
breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not
receive the help they should to get started properly. A
poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a
poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often
more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually
becomes easier later.
formulas are almost the same as breastmilk.
same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are
only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction
of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally
formulas are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete
knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies,
no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much
more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breastmilk.
They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The
proteins and fats are fundamentally
different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from
the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or
from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or
from baby to baby. Your breastmilk is made as required to
suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and
thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow
well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than getting
the baby to grow quickly.
the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.
Not true! With very, very few exceptions, the
mother's continuing to breastfeed will protect the baby.
By the time the mother has fever (or cough, vomiting,diarrhea,
rash, etc) she has already given the baby the infection, since
she has been infectious for several days before she even knew
she was sick. The baby's best protection against getting
the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If
the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother
continues breastfeeding. Besides, maybe it was the baby who
gave the infection to the mother, but the baby did not
show signs of illness because he was breastfeeding. Also,
breast infections, including breast abscess, though painful,
are not reasons to stop breastfeeding. Indeed, the infection
is likely to settle more quickly if the mother continues
breastfeeding on the affected side
the mother is taking medicine she should not breastfeed.
Not true! There are very very few medicines that
a mother cannot take safely while breastfeeding. A very small
amount of most medicines appears in the milk,but usually
in such small quantities that there is no concern. If a medicine
is truly of concern, there are usually equally effective,
alternative medicines that are safe. The loss of benefit of
breastfeeding for both the mother and the baby must be taken
into account when weighing if breastfeeding should be continued.
mothers' milk can "dry up" just like that.
Or if this can occur, it must be a rare occurrence. Aside
from day to day and morning to evening variations, milk production
does not change suddenly.
are changes which occur which may make it seem as if milk
production is suddenly much less:
increase in the needs of the baby, the so called growth
this is the reason for the seemingly insufficient milk,
a few days of more
will bring things back to normal. Try compressing the
your hand to
help the baby get milk.
change in the baby's behavior.
about 5-6 weeks of age, more or less, babies who would
fall asleep at the
breast when the flow
of milk slowed down, tend to start pulling at the breast
crying when the milk
flow slows. The milk has not dried up, but the baby has
changed. Try compressing
the breast with your hand to help the baby get more
mother's breasts do not seem full or are soft.
is normal after a few weeks for the mother no longer to
have engorgement, or
even fullness of
the breasts. As long as the baby is drinking at the breast,
baby breastfeeds less well.
is often due to the baby being given bottles or pacifiers
and thus learning an
way of breastfeeding.
birth control pill may decrease your milk supply.
about stopping the pill or changing to a progesterone
only pill. Or use other
the baby truly seems not to be getting enough, get help,
but do not
introduce a bottle
that may only make things worse. If absolutely necessary,
baby can be supplemented,
using a lactation aid that will not interfere with
lots can be done before giving supplements. Get help.
Try compressing the
breast with your hand to help the baby get milk.