Breastfeeding and Pregnancy Myths Busted
Breastfeeding Myths Busted
From the moment you first tell friends and family that you’re expecting a baby, chances are you will be inundated with advice and anecdotes about everything. From what to eat to how to tell whether you’re having a boy or girl. Although well-meaning, many people tend to repeat things they’ve heard without doing their research and unknowingly perpetuate myths and old wives tales. Here’s the lowdown on just a few of the most commonly shared fallacies:
You need to ‘toughen up’ your nipples to prepare for breastfeeding
There is absolutely no need to ‘prepare’ your nipples for breastfeeding, especially by scrubbing them or using other uncomfortable methods! During pregnancy, your breasts will naturally change to prepare themselves in every way they need to. For example the blood flow to your breasts will increase, which can cause them to be warmer than usual and the veins to become more prominent. Your nipples will become larger and darker so they are easier for your newborn to find.
You need to consume dairy products to produce milk
To realize this is a fallacy we need only to remind ourselves that the practice of humans consuming the milk of other animals is a fairly recent one. So how did women produce enough milk for their children before the advent of dairy farming? Our bodies, like every other child bearing animal, are created to reproduce and to nourish our young. Growing a baby is what triggers your body to produce milk, not the consumption of another mother’s milk! Some mothers may struggle to produce enough milk for their baby but this in no way reflects that their diet is lacking or that there is something they have done wrong. It is just ‘one of those things’ and is certainly not going to be ‘fixed’ by consuming dairy.
You need to consume meat while pregnant to ensure you get enough protein for your developing baby
Similarly to the myth about dairy consumption aiding milk production, this idea falls down when pit against historical facts. Countless humans the world over have survived and reproduced without eating meat, it’s as simple as that! As every vegan knows, it’s perfectly possible to obtain the required amount of protein from plants. When you are growing a baby you need such a minimal amount of extra nutrients that you will easily be able to meet your dietary requirements eating the same foods you usually do.
You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding
This one is mostly true as the hormonal changes in your body triggered by breastfeeding do interrupt ovulation…BUT at some point that will change. Unless you’re vigilant in tracking your body’s changes it’s likely that you won’t know you have ovulated (and therefore could possibly become pregnant) until your period arrives… or doesn’t!
You must avoid contact with cats while pregnant
The idea that cats and pregnant women don’t mix was borne of the warning to avoid cat faeces while pregnant due to the risk of toxoplasmosis infection and the danger it represents for unborn children. The truth is, it is also possible to contract the parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis by eating poorly prepared meat. The same way a cat might contract it in the first place! It’s perfectly safe to live with cats while pregnant. If you’re still worried, you can ask your doctor for a blood test to see if you’re susceptible or have already been infected with toxoplasmosis in the past and have become immune to it.
You can tell your baby’s sex by how low you’re carrying/ their heart rate/ your food cravings, etc
Most studies on the topic have disproved that there is any guaranteed way to discern a baby’s sex before they are born. Obviously ultrasounds give us a good idea but even they are only accurate up to 98% of the time!