MYTH: You can’t breastfeed if you have small breasts or flat nipples.
Reality: In no way does outward appearance affect the production of milk or a mother’s ability to dispense it. Breasts and nipples of all shapes and sizes can satisfy a hungry baby. Inverted nipples that don’t become erect when stimulated don’t even usually need any preparation to make them fully functional.
MYTH: Breastfeeding is a lot of trouble.
Reality: Never again will it be so easy to feed your children (once you get the hang of it). Breasts, unlike bottles, are ready when baby is. You don’t have to remember to take them with you when you’re planning a day at the beach, lug them in a diaper bag, or worry about the milk inside them spoiling in the hot
MYTH: Breastfeeding ties you down.
Reality: It’s true that breastfeeding is naturally better suited to mothers who plan to be with their babies most of the time. But those who are willing to make the effort to express and store milk, or who prefer to supplement with formula, can satisfy both their need to work—or see a movie, or go to an all day seminar and their desire to breastfeed. And when it comes to stepping out with baby, it’s the breastfeeding mother who is more mobile, always having an ample supply of food along no matter where she goes or how long she plans to stay.
MYTH: Breastfeeding will ruin your breasts.
Reality: Much to the surprise of many people, it’s not breastfeeding that affects the shape or size of your breasts but rather pregnancy itself. During pregnancy, your breasts prepare for lactation, even if you don’t end up nursing—and these changes are sometimes permanent. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy, hereditary factors, age, or poor support (going braless) can also result in breasts that are less firm. Breastfeeding is blame free.
MYTH: Breastfeeding didn’t work the first time so it won’t work again.
Reality: Even if you had trouble Breastfeeding your first baby, research shows that you’ll likely produce more milk and have an easier time breastfeeding the second time around. The adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” emphatically applies to nursing.
MYTH: Breastfeeding excludes dad.
Reality: A father who wants to be involved in the care of his nursing infant can find ample opportunity—for bathing, diapering, holding, rocking, playing with, bottle feeding with expressed milk or supplemental formula, and, once solids are introduced, spooning those “trains into the tunnel.”
Strong mother-baby bond. As almost any mother who’s ever breastfed will tell you, the breastfeeding benefit you’re likely to treasure most is the bond it nurtures between mother and child. There’s skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact, and the opportunity to cuddle, baby-babble, and coo built right into the breastfeeding experience. True, you can enjoy the same pleasures when bottle feeding, but it takes more of a conscious effort (see page 110), since you may frequently be faced with the temptation to relegate the feeding to others when you’re tired, for example, or to prop the bottle when you’re busy. Another benefit for breastfeeding moms: Research suggests that women who breastfeed are somewhat less likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
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