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Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: Dispelling A Common Breastfeeding Myth

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

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This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about breastfeeding myths and dispelling them. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

 


 

I missed yesterday’s carnival, but the topic was online resources so I’d just shamelessly plug Breastfeeding Place anyhow. You know how I roll. 🙂 By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to go check out the new site for breastfeeding moms, you should. We’ve been working really hard to support and encourage all your hard work!

Today I am supposed to talk about dispelling myths. I have heard a lot in my journeys through childbirth and breastfeeding and I think the most misleading piece of information out there is that babies need to nurse 15-20 minutes on each side. It is so very often said and I think it’s time to bring new light to the subject! Don’t be fooled, mamas!

There are plenty of reasons that a mother might think the advice of 15-20 minutes on each side is an accurate portrayal of feedings for a breastfed baby. First of all, milk flows faster with the let down and women are often led to believe there is only one let down per breast per feeding. What that new mother may not realize is that her body will continue to make milk if the baby continues to demand milk. The tap is never dry in an actively breastfeeding relationship. I know it’s hard to believe, but if left alone on one breast a baby can get a second let down and sometimes even a third… and you never have to switch sides!

If you move the baby to the other breast too soon you could start an imbalance of foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is watery milk high in lactose and hindmilk is deliciously balanced fatty milk. Most people refer to hindmilk as the “dessert” for breastfed babies. Foremilk is always present at the beginning of a feeding, and the longer the feeding goes on the more hindmilk the baby gets. If you switch the baby from one breast to the other without letting baby get his or her just desserts, then an imbalance is created. Babies have a hard time digesting high volumes of lactose. This can make them uncomfortable and often you will see an increase in fussiness, gas, and green stools. If ignored long enough, weight gain can be an issue as well.

The cure to a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance is something called block-feeding. In block-feeding the mom nurses on one side no matter what for a block of time (normally 2 hours). If your baby wants to eat 3 times during that two hour block, he or she will always get the same breast.

Of course foremilk/hindmilk imbalance isn’t always why the 15-20 minutes rule is invalid. Once you figure out that it’s nonsense you can just enjoy the relaxation of letting your baby drink until he or she is finished. I personally nurse from one breast for an entire feeding. I don’t switch sides unless it’s night time and Anders is fussy and demands faster milk flow ASAP. Then it’s just for soothing him, giving into his desires, however you want to put it.

Rest assured that you don’t have to time anything when it comes to breastfeeding. If a good latch and proper weight gain are established, then just let your baby eat!

Om nom nom!!!

 


 

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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Comments

  1. HA ha YES! I remember being told I had to time feeds! I actually received some silly reminder bracelet for it. I tried to be that mom who tracks everything in and out and what time it happened. It lasted ONE day. I have the small chart taped into his baby book because I find it so amusing that I thought it was a good plan, as if you are not busy enough!

  2. I love this post! There are so many things I wish I’d known about breastfeeding before I had my little boy, and relaxing and just letting my son take the lead is one of the main ones!

  3. I definitely remember hearing a little rumor like this. Thanks for helping to clear it up!

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