Breastfeeding Myths Part 5 (re: Having enough milk/Exercising)

Breastfeeding is just one of those topics where lots of misinformation is spread through very well-intentioned advice and sometimes it’s hard to know what exactly to believe. In past newsletters, we have shared many of these myths about breastfeeding  and we would like to share them with you again in a short and sweet 5 part blog series.
#12     • If your mother didn’t have enough milk to breastfeed you, you won’t be able to breastfeed either.
Most women who are grandmothers now were moms during the ’70’s and 80’s. The majority of women did not breastfeed during that time. Few health care providers or hospitals were even encouraging of breastfeeding, let alone offering help. Take a lack of good information and inadequate breastfeeding management in a mom’s first days and weeks of breastfeeding…that adds up to an epidemic of breastfeeding failures.
     In most cases, it wasn’t that your mom didn’t have enough milk, even though that’s what she may have been told. She probably didn’t get the support and information she needed to be successful, neither of which are hereditary.

#13     • If you have a large baby, you won’t have enough milk to satisfy him/her.

The first few days of breastfeeding are nerve-wracking. This baby wants to nurse all the time and you are sure there is nothing there.

     Even when you know (because you have studied it – that you have colostrum …. it’s not supposed to be a large volume because it’s concentrated …. and it gives the baby a chance to practice their suck-swallow-breathe technique before your breast becomes a fire hose), it’s still hard to have faith that things are working.

Enter a big baby, say 8 or 9 pounds or more. Someone might even say, “You don’t have enough milk for this big guy.” Don’t let that add to your nervousness.

     Your body needs the baby to nurse frequently so your body can gear up to the abundant milk supply the baby will need. Large baby = more breastfeeding = more milk.
     Believe in your body. Let the baby provide lots of stimulation. The milk will be there.
#14     • Exercise will affect the taste and nutrients of your milk.
Taste: Some small studies have shown a slight increase in lactic acid in breastmilk for a short time after exhaustive exercise. There’s no evidence it lasts long enough to be consequential or that it makes any difference to babies anyway.
Nutrients: There is some evidence that the immune factor IgA may be reduced slightly after (again) exhaustive exercise. There are other things that can briefly affect IgA levels in breastmilk, but no evidence that this makes significant difference to baby.
Is baby not as interested in nursing after your exercise? Maybe baby doesn’t like the salty taste of your perspiration on the breast. Try washing or showering before feeding.
You’ve reached the end of our first blog series on breastfeeding myths. Sound off in the comments below if you have any stories about the myths we have shared or if there is a topic you would like us to cover in our next series 🙂

We want to know what you think!