1. Myth: It’s Normal for Nipples to Hurt
Breastfeeding does not have to hurt. Nipples can and will feel sore if you're breastfeeding your newborn every couple of hours and especially when they start teething but there are ways to ease the discomfort or pain.
- Check the positioning of your baby. Make sure your baby is correctly latched onto your nipple. If you’re unsure check in with a lactation consultation or doula.
- Self-care is important. If your nipples are sore you can apply natural salve’s like Ghee or coconut oil to help soothe your skin. Make sure to wash off anything you put on your nipple thoroughly before breastfeeding.
- A cold compress will temporarily soothe your nipple. Use a hydrogel pack stored and cooled in your refrigerator or wrap a towel around some ice as a cold compress. Apply to the affected area for about 5-7 minutes every 3-4 hours.
2. Myth: Always Wash Your Nipples Between Breastfeeding Sessions
You do not need to wash your nipples in between breastfeeding sessions. The baby is exposed to ‘good bacteria’ from the nipples associated with the mother’s smell and sounds. It will help build the baby's immune system. Self care is important, however, and you generally should wash your breasts once a day. We know it’s hard to remember showering during the first few months but you can keep a washcloth nearby to clean up after a long day of nursing.
3. Myth: You Must Change Your Diet When Breastfeeding
You can continue your regular diet after giving birth. Make sure to keep a balanced nutritional diet with balanced meals and lots of water. And you may have to increase your caloric intake because you are breastfeeding. However, no major changes need to be made.
4. Myth: Don’t Exercise While Breastfeeding
Exercise is very important post birth. Not just for your physical well being but for your mental well being. Your schedule will be unstable for a while but going on walks with baby, 10 minutes of dancing, or 10 minutes of yoga is very helpful in getting your movement back on track. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain and help fight postpartum depression.
5. Myth: Don’t Breastfeed if You’re Sick
You can breastfeed when you are sick (depending on the type of illness you have). The antibodies your body makes treat your illness and will pass on to your baby, building his or her own defenses. Mother’s should always use caution when sick with rest, medication (if needed) and self-care.
*ALWAYS ask your doctor, lactation consultant, midwife or doula if you need extra support or have questions.
(Sources: Unicef & WebMD)