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BellaOnline's Breastfeeding Editor

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Even More Breastfeeding Myths

Guest Author - Nicki Heskin

Test yourself on these commonly misunderstood breastfeeding issues or myths…true or false?

1. Breastfeeding women can use the birth control pill.
2. Mothers who have a cold or taking cold medication should interrupt breastfeeding.
3. Mothers should not take antidepressants while breastfeeding.
4. It is ok to have a glass of wine with dinner while breastfeeding.
5. Premature babies must have artificial baby milk (formula).


Here’s the answers:

1. Breastfeeding women can use the birth control pill.
TRUE
There are many forms of birth control available to breastfeeding women, including the birth control pill. However, the traditional combination birth control pill is likely to reduce milk supply. The Minipill (no estrogen) or a non-chemical barrier method is a better choice. Working with a breastfeeding-knowledgeable doctor can help to guard against unintended pregnancy while maintaining milk supply.

2. Mothers who have a cold or are taking cold medication should interrupt breastfeeding.
FALSE
This is hardly ever true. In fact, breastfeeding through everyday colds and flu benefits the mother and baby. Some serious illnesses or diagnostic tests might involve interrupting breastfeeding, or only very rarely, weaning.


3. Mothers should not take antidepressants while breastfeeding.
FALSE
Some drugs are better than others with regard to breastfeeding. The exact effects of baby brain development unknown, but risks of many drugs are less than risks of artificial baby milk (formula) and it is important for mothers to treat depression for the well-being of themselves and their babies. Time is yielding more information -- mothers can find information on specific drugs and see if they can use one that is proven safe.

4. It is ok to have a glass of wine with dinner while breastfeeding.
TRUE
This is true -- provided this implies the common understanding of a "glass." Women need not abstain from alcohol while breastfeeding but should understand how alcohol affects their ability to care for their baby and shows up in (and exits) breast milk. See my article on Alcohol and Breastfeeding for more details.

5. Premature babies must have Artificial Baby Milk (formula).
FALSE
Breast milk is generally better than formula if babies are able to suck and can handle liquid nutrition. Mothers whose babies cannot yet handle nutrition by mouth can pump to protect milk supply until the breast milk is needed. With support to mother and baby, many preemies are able to successfully nurse at the breast even after prolonged bottle feeding with expressed breast milk. Not all preemies need supplementation. Be sure to discuss options with the doctor(s) as the needs of a specific premature infant are unique, but the benefits of breast milk are worth exploring.



References:
1. Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd, Mohrbacher, Stock, LLLI, pg. 241
2. Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd, Mohrbacher, Stock, LLLI, pgs. 424-430
3. Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd, Mohrbacher, Stock, LLLI, pgs. 535-536
4. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, Newman and Pitman, Three Rivers Press, pgs. 193-195
5. Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd, Mohrbacher, Stock, LLLI, pgs. 597-599



Disclaimer: All material on the BellaOnline.com Breastfeeding website is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Although every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information as of the date of publication, the author is neither a medical doctor, health practitioner, nor a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). If you are concerned about your health, or that of your child, consult with your health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation. Information obtained from the Internet can never take the place of a personal consultation with a licensed health care provider, and neither the author nor BellaOnline.com assume any legal responsibility to update the information contained on this site or for any inaccurate or incorrect information contained on this site, and do not accept any responsibility for any decisions you may make as a result of the information contained on this site or in any referenced or linked materials written by others.


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Content copyright © 2014 by Nicki Heskin. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Nicki Heskin. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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