Breastfeeding Myths And Misconceptions – Breastfeeding Debunked

Babies still benefit from breastfeeding when they start solids. And while too much alcohol consumption can present a higher risk of milk production and other lactation-related issues, practices like pumping and dumping after you take alcohol are outdated. Pumping and freezing your breast milk will denature the alcohol, and you will still produce sufficient milk for your baby no matter what you feed on. Don’t assume that breastfeeding is out of the question because you take medication, as safer alternatives are available. 

As a breastfeeding mom, how many times have you heard of the so-called breastfeeding “facts” from those around you that had your “mama bear radar” going off at warp speed?

You’ll get a lot of advice at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey—some useful and some less so. And different sources will give you completely different information. 

Well, it’s time to start debunking those myths and misconceptions and separate facts from fiction to help you make informed decisions about breastfeeding backed up with facts, studies, and evidence. 

Top 10 myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding 

A mother is using breast pump to store breastmilk in advance for her baby.

Far too often, breastfeeding moms have to sift through misinformation, from how easy breastfeeding is to how greatly it will change their physical disposition, to get the truth.

While breastfeeding may be as old as civilization, myths and misconceptions about it still abound.

Here are the most common breastfeeding myths and misconceptions of all time:

1. You should space your feedings so your breasts can fill up

Every infant-mother pair is unique. A breastfeeding mother’s body is always making milk.

A woman’s breasts hold the amount of milk unique to her, some containing more, others less.

The emptier the breasts, the faster the body will produce milk to replace what has been consumed or pumped. 

The fuller the breasts, the slower the production of breast milk.

If you consistently wait until you think your breasts have “filled up” before you breastfeed, your body may get the message that it is making too much milk and may respond by reducing milk production. 

2. Breastfeeding is free, easy, and comes naturally to all mothers

While breastfeeding is a natural process, it only sometimes comes easily to some mothers.

The mother and baby may require time to establish a successful breastfeeding routine

Buying formula can add up to your budget, but it’s a myth that breastfeeding is all-natural and free.

Most parents need to purchase pumps and bottles, an expense in your budget.

Add nipple creams, nursing bras and tops, and possible lactation consultations. The cost can add up. 

Additionally, breastfeeding consumes the breastfeeding parent’s time, effort, and labor.

Support from lactation consultants, joining breastfeeding support groups, and having patience can make the process smoother.

3. You have failed if you supplement breastfeeding with formula feeding 

Breast milk is uniquely tailored to meet a baby’s nutritional needs.

It contains antibodies, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria that help protect against infections and diseases. Breastfeeding also promotes bonding. 

A mother is giving formula milk to her baby to supplement for breastmilk.

While formula milk doesn’t offer the same benefits as breast milk, it can adequately nourish a baby.

Many breastfeeding women need to supplement with formula because they’re experiencing low milk supply, can’t pump enough milk while separated from their babies, or want to stop breastfeeding

Supplementing breastfeeding with formula milk isn’t a failure in any way.

Any amount of breast milk is healthy for your little one, and you’re doing a fantastic job.

Supplement breastfeeding with formula feeding when convenient for you and your baby. 

4. Breastfeeding leads to sagging breasts

Any woman who has gone through pregnancy will notice breast changes.

That, plus the natural effects of aging and weight gain, hormonal changes, and genetics, play a more significant role in breast sagging than breastfeeding. 

Breastfeeding may cause temporary changes in breast size and shape due to milk production, but these changes are not permanent.

Wearing well-fitted bras and engaging in exercises that strengthen chest muscles can help maintain your breast shape.

5. You must have a specific diet to breastfeed

While a balanced diet is essential for overall health, breastfeeding mothers must not follow strict dietary restrictions or change their diet.

Generally, according to the CDC, eating various foods for extra calories and drinking plenty of fluids is sufficient. 

You will make sufficient nutritious milk for your baby no matter how you feed it.

Some babies may have sensitivities to specific foods, so it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect any issues.

6. Breastfeeding prevents you from getting pregnant

Yes, breastfeeding can provide a contraception method known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM), but it is not a foolproof birth control method. 

A mom is breastfeeding her baby while laying down on the sofa.

LAM only works if specific requirements are met, such as exclusive breastfeeding every 4-6 hours, including at night, if you haven’t had a period yet, and your baby is under six months.

But that’s a lot of ifs; as per the CDC, it’s unlikely that you’re fertile.

So yes, you can get pregnant while breastfeeding, and taking precautions is essential if you don’t plan to conceive. 

7. If a baby wants to breastfeed frequently, the mother doesn’t have enough milk

Frequent breastfeeding in the early weeks is normal and helps establish milk supply.

Some moms assume that if their babies are hungry all the time, they do not have enough milk, or their milk isn’t fatty or filling enough.

Babies have small stomachs and may need to feed frequently to satisfy their hunger and get enough nutrients. 

Some babies also breastfeed more frequently than others, while others will cluster feed together all at once.

It doesn’t necessarily mean the mother is not producing enough milk. 

Babies also breastfeed more frequently during a growth spurt. Your best gauge as to whether your milk is enough is to look at your baby’s development.

You’re doing great if they’re growing, peeing, and meeting all their developmental milestones. 

8. Breast milk loses its nutritional value after a certain period

Breast milk continues to provide valuable nutrients and immune factors as long as the mother breastfeeds.

The composition of breast milk adapts to the baby’s changing nutritional needs.

The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months and continue to be breastfed until they are twelve months old. 

Even as solids are introduced, the WHO suggests that breastfeeding is still a significant source of nutrition and recommends that babies continue to receive breast milk until they are at least two years old. 

Extended breastfeeding has vital nutritional and immunological benefits for babies long after their first few months. 

9. Breastfeeding helps you lose weight

Breastfeeding is taunted as the perfect way to lose your postpartum baby fat.

According to a 2013 study, some women lose weight while breastfeeding, whereas a 2015 study indicates that others don’t. 

Breastfeeding requires extra calories, and many women gain weight in the process.

While breastfeeding, the best thing to do is focus on good nutrition rather than the number on the scale. 

10. You can’t take any medication or alcohol while breastfeeding

With a few exceptions, most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding, and there’s usually a breastfeeding-safe alternative when a particular medication isn’t safe.

It means you can take medication to treat everyday ailments like pain and fever, and more complicated medical issues. 

As far as alcohol goes, the rule of thumb is if you are good enough to drive, you’re good enough to breastfeed.

Pumping and dumping doesn’t reduce the amount of alcohol in a mother’s system.

If you’re concerned about the levels of alcohol in your system, pump and freeze your breastmilk as the alcohol would denature.  

As you consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication, you can also consult LactMed, a database from the National Library of Medicine that gathers information about the safety of most common medicines and their effects on breastfeeding. 

Where to find help

A doctor is discussing breastmilk practises with a breastfeeding mother.

If you have trouble with breastfeeding, you can find help and support in various places. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Visit a lactation consultant

These are trained professionals who can provide personalized guidance and assistance with breastfeeding. You can find lactation consultants through hospitals, birthing centers, or by searching online directories.

2. Join support groups

Look for local breastfeeding support groups, both in-person and online.

These groups often consist of experienced mothers who can provide advice and encouragement and share their experiences.

3. Contact a breastfeeding helpline

Many countries have helplines dedicated to supporting breastfeeding mothers. These helplines are staffed by trained professionals who can answer your questions and provide guidance. Search online for helpline numbers in your region.

4. Attend breastfeeding classes

Before giving birth, consider attending breastfeeding classes in a hospital or community center, or find a birthing educator to learn the basics and gain confidence in breastfeeding techniques.

5. Talk to your healthcare provider

Your healthcare providers, such as your obstetrician or pediatrician, can offer valuable advice and address specific concerns you may have about breastfeeding.


Is breastfeeding painful? 

While some discomforts can be experienced initially as you and your baby adjust to breastfeeding, extreme pain during breastfeeding is not normal.

It may indicate an incorrect latch or other issues that can be resolved with proper support and guidance from a lactation consultant. 

Do small breasts produce less milk? 

Breast size does not determine the amount of milk production.

The amount of milk produced is primarily influenced by hormonal signals and the baby’s feeding patterns.

The breast size does not impact the ability to produce an adequate milk supply. 

Can I put Vaseline on my nipples while breastfeeding? 

Although little evidence shows what works well, products like Vaseline or lanolin can help relieve dry or cracked nipples.

After each feed, let your nipples dry before getting dressed, and change your breast pads afterward. Avoid using soap, as it can dry out your skin. 

Can drinking water increase breast milk production? 

Adequate hydration is vital for milk production. The amount of liquid you put in your body affects how much breast milk you can produce.

Women should pack a bottle of water for themselves in their diaper bags


Read the articles below to learn more about breastfeeding your baby and caring for yourself during nursing.


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Hello, I am Emelda from Nairobi, Kenya. They simply call me mama Lilly. A fun of long road trips and a very good cook, along with my mommy duties to a super active girl. She inspires and challenges me in equal measure, and that is how I get to share with you our journey of triumph as we grow and tag you along.

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