Get Healthy Carson City: 5 misconceptions about breastfeeding

With all the myths surrounding breastfeeding, it is no wonder why many women feel anxious when it comes to breastfeeding for the first time. Our goal is to help women feel confident and empowered to breastfeed their infant. Below we will present the myths and facts about breastfeeding so mothers are comfortable and encouraged.

Here are 5 common misconceptions when it comes to breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding is Supposed to Hurt

Discomfort during breastfeeding might be common during the first few days, but is not considered “normal.” Tenderness is typical during breastfeeding; however, if it becomes painful, it might be a sign of improper latching, which should be addressed with a licensed lactation consultant. When done properly, breastfeeding is meant to flood the body with feel good hormones that promote mother-infant bonding as well as relaxation.

Smaller Breasts Do Not Produce Enough Milk

Breast size does not matter. The ability of a woman to produce milk is determined by the breast tissue rather than the size. The size is determined by the amount of fat stored in the breast and has no bearing on its ability to produce milk. Women with smaller breasts have the ability to produce just as much milk as women with larger breasts. In fact, most babies will learn to breastfeed with their mother regardless of breast size. If any issues should arise with feeding, clients can work with lactation consultants to increase milk production.

Modern Formulas Are The Same As Breastmilk

Although many companies aim to replicate the nutritional value of breast milk, formula still lacks some of the vital components that come from breastfeeding. Breast milk improves immunity for the infant and decreases risk of future illness. Hormones such as Oxytocin are released to promote mother-infant bonding. Breast milk contains beneficial bacteria that help promote a healthy gut in the infant. Breastfeeding also might help the mother return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster, as breastfeeding helps burn additional calories.

You Cannot Breastfeed If You Are Taking Medication

Most medications do not affect the breast milk. However, there are a few that might have bad effects. You should talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant if you are planning to take medication while breastfeeding, as a safer substitute could be available.

You Cannot Breastfeed If You Are Sick

Before a mother even notices symptoms of a cold, her body already is making antibodies that are specifically designed to protect her breastfeeding baby from illness. If the baby were to catch the illness, the antibodies from the mother’s milk will help make the illness less harsh for the baby.

According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding has been shown to lead to better overall health outcomes for children. Although certain circumstances might prevent a mother from lactating and participating in this experience, women who are able to breastfeed are encouraged to do so at least up to the first six months of life. We encourage mothers to embrace their body’s incredible ability to foster the gift for their child. It is important to note that breastfeeding does not always come easy. If issues arise, we recommend contacting a licensed lactation consultant to help you feel confident and comfortable if breastfeeding is the route you would like to go.

For information on breastfeeding, you can contact your local WIC agency:

Carson City Health and Human Services WIC

900 E. Long St., Carson City

Call 775-887-2190

8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

Douglas County WIC clinic

1524 U.S. 395 North

Call 775-283-4772

8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

For additional resources and information about Carson City Health and Human Services programs and services, check out our website at, “like” us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at @CCHealthEd, call us at 775-887-2190 or visit us at 900 E. Long St. in Carson City.

Salma Martinez is with Carson City Health and Human Services WIC. Kelsie Hill is a UNR dietetics student.


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