Top 5 Breastfeeding Myths BUSTED

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Episode Transcript

June 27, 2020

Where did the cultural expectation that our nipples need to point to the ceiling come from? Because mine have never done that. I'd rather they not.

This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal, and this is the Milk Minute podcast. We are also midwives and lactation consultants here to talk to you about all things, lactation and boobs, body positivity, mental health.

In this first episode, we wanted to talk about a couple of things. I wanted to start out with, why do we need another breastfeeding podcast? Great question, Maureen. Well, here’s my answer. And maybe it’s different from yours, Heather. Cause we haven’t discussed this before. I think that I need a podcast, where I feel like real people are talking about real experiences, not just scientific information, but we’re going to have that too. And not just what to do and what not to do, but what really happens and what have you really seen work? And we have a lot of experience with that. We do. And we actually have a lot of different experience.

Because I have more of a hospital medical base and I was also a NICU nurse for awhile. And you’re more of a community aspect, home birth midwife.  Between the two of us, I think we should be able to, to figure this one out, but also I really feel like every time I get any breastfeeding information, that’s not from you, Maureen. I feel like the picture in my mind’s eye is like a 1990s woman in a  pastel recliner who is breastfeeding with this most genuinely perfect smile about how great it’s going if we can just do step one, two, three, four, and five, and that’s just not how it works. Yeah. Not, not for me, certainly. And definitely not for me either, which is why I’m sitting here under the stairs.

Talking to you so we can prevent this from happening to other people in an evidence-based way. Yeah. And just in case you were wondering we’re sitting in a, I don’t know, we could call it an alcove if we’re getting fancy. Yeah, let’s. But we could also call it like the, like Harry Potter corner of your house. When did the stairs with like some foam and a futon mattress and we are making it work for you guys.

Welcome to episode one where we’re discussing the top five, most common breastfeeding myths that we hear from our clients all the time.

And we are gonna kind of have this be a recurring theme throughout the podcast because. This is literally nonstop in the work that we do. It is always, always, I heard this, I heard this and I think that we have a really weird cultural perception of breastfeeding, at least in the United States. So we have to all really work hard to combat that.

And compounding that is just this natural self doubt that has been bred into us from the time we are young about what our bodies are capable of doing. And most of us have highly sexualized our breasts, most of our lives and spent more time thinking about how we can make them look good in a push-up bra. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with that. But also, you know, we don’t see people breastfeeding regularly out in public. We don’t see people troubleshooting issues. So when it comes time to do it, and maybe it doesn’t come as easily as possible, you start thinking, it’s your fault that you weren’t good enough that your breasts aren’t good enough. And these myths tend to creep in and we hear them over and over again and over and over. And we are definitely 100% going to have a separate episode about how we culturally got here today with breastfeeding, at least in this country.

But we’re also just, I’m sorry, we’re going to mention it a thousand times. So get used to it, y’all. The first myth we want to talk about is actually a really sensitive one for a lot of people? And this is the myth that breastfeeding will ruin your romantic relationship. Over and over again, I hear this one.

Like, oh, I’m going to formula feed because these boobs belong to my husband. And, and what I hear a lot too, is that my partner doesn’t want me to breastfeed because they’re going to feel left out. They already feel left out and we haven’t even started. Yeah. A quote from my personal life with the first husband of mine was I feel like you and the baby are a team and I’m left out all the time. And it’s like, well, yes, we’re a team. Like this person just came out of me. We’re still one person. That’s why they call it the fourth trimester. And I remember saying, feel free to join the team at any moment in time, you know?

Yeah. And that’s the key, that’s the key part. And that’s a discussion that we really encourage parents to have prenatally. Because, you know, this is, this is real. Like you maybe have never seen someone breastfeed. Maybe your partner has never seen someone breastfeed. Maybe their only exposure to it is some really crappy episode of some TV show where like the male lead is complaining about not being able to feed his baby.

Yeah, that or porn. Right. Right. So you know, when you have those conversations, prenatally and you really set it up, so, you know, you can remind your partner, “Hey, you are so important to this relationship. You know, and you can support breastfeeding and it can still be something we can do as a family. It can be something that is really sexy to have you be supportive of this and be such a good partner who can provide in that situation.” Absolutely. And I don’t remember where I heard this or saw this, so apologies for not giving credit where credit is due. But I read this somewhere and it said, “you will never forget how your partner treats you during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”

Does that not just resonate with you. And it’s complicated for them to admit the fact that they’re jealous of a baby. Yeah. Like, wow. What an emasculating thought. Right. And, you know we really want this podcast to be something that you can listen to with your partner. And, you know, your partner can feel like they’re learning with you. They’re included.

And maybe they’re a little bit more prepared because just like a lot of you guys feel like, wow, you were not prepared at all for your breastfeeding journey… Your partner’s in the same boat. You know, unless they grew up in some magical breastfeeding fairy land. Which you know, that’s not real.

And also, this is just a blanket statement, but men tend to be fixers and if they can’t fix a problem, they either check out completely or they try to solve your problem with non-evidence based information, quickly to make the uncomfortable feeling for them go away. You know, when you’re sitting there struggling and your baby is screaming at the breast and you don’t know what to do. It’s easy for them to say, just give a bottle of formula and what she hears is, “I’m not enough, or you don’t think I can do this,” and that is obviously going to be a very deep seated thing that has to be unpacked later when everybody is well slept and capable of having that difficult conversation where you unpack that feeling that happened.

But also men will check out. You know, so, oh, okay… this is your baby. I’ll catch the baby when he’s two. When he starts talking, he can be my buddy. Right. And, you know, I want to say that it’s not just a problem of only heterosexual relationships. You know, this is a problem for a lot of people, regardless of their personal identity, regardless of who their partner is and you know, what gender they are and what your relationship looks like, you know, and this isn’t just a problem in your classic, you know, abusive relationship. This is not just a problem in a relationship where your partner over sexualizes or objectifies your body. You know, this can be a problem for anybody.

The myth of it is that it has to be this way. Right. That it’s guaranteed to happen. Because I have, you know, personally been one of those lucky people who I had a very supportive partner. Breastfeeding did not change our romantic relationship in a negative way.

And I have worked with a lot of clients who have also had that experience and the commonality between all of that is the communication and education that is equally shared. And you know, your husband might’ve been educated, but mine wasn’t, but he did grow up around people that did breastfeed and he was breastfed. Not that he remembers it, but I mean, his mom has talked about it. And so when we got pregnant, he said, you’re going to breastfeed, right?

And I kind of looked at him and I said, well, I don’t know if I want to, I will. You know, cause that’s just the kind of person I am where I like to start shit sometimes. And he said, well, isn’t it the best for the baby? And I said, well, actually it is. But you know, it’s still going to be my choice. And he’s like, Oh, well, you know, what can I do? And that just obviously made me love him so much more compared to my first experience. And because he stuck with me through those long breastfeeding sessions and all the little tiny things that he did for me, built a foundation that created such a stronger relationship for us. I will never leave that person who was there for me when I’m sitting there with his brand new postpartum body, a brand new person to take care of, and I really had a little touch of postpartum anxiety. Not nearly as bad as some people, but I remember him just sticking it out, and asking me what I need in the non-annoying way. And so we’re going to go through a list of things that you can tell your partner to do or educate your partner, that these are options for them to help you be successful in breastfeeding, in whatever way that means to you. Yeah. And, I really like when we frame the conversation prenatally about the fourth trimester. And we really dig into that a little bit. And, kind of what that means for the family dynamic and how that separation of, you know, the baby and the birthing parent. Isn’t just *bam* baby’s born, and they’re two separate people.

You know, that’s a really slow process for some people, where the baby’s not technically attached to you anymore, but may as well be. Right, right. And for you as well, you know, as much as the baby needs you… there’s a lot going on with your hormones and with your body adjusting. It’s like your body pulls a hormonal e-brake and has to move from pregnancy to milk making postpartum mode. And those are different hormones.

It is a different recipe. And you’ve got like four days. Yeah, wham. And then people are crying and your partner’s looking at you, like I really should have read the books.

You know, Okay, this is a little corny, but it’s something my partner and I did it prenatally is that we read books out loud to each other. So that, I know it’s really cute, but that was like a way that we could read the same book and not be like, have you read chapter four yet? Cause I want to talk about that. And, and especially we would read, maybe not just informational books or the whole book, but I’d be like, hey, I started this chapter in this breastfeeding book and I really like it so can we start from the beginning together? And that was super nice. Yeah. And that’s something that happens with your first child and not so much your second or third. Yeah. Yeah. I acknowledge that I only have one child. Realistically speaking by child number two, you’re just like holding hands as you pass out into a coma and waking up like it’s Groundhog day, but in the best way, but yeah, the cute little kids wake you up at the ass crack of Dawn. An you get to do it all over again, and it’s amazing. Yeah. But the things that I told my husband who’s slightly ADD and probably a little bit less willing to, not less willing, but less capable of… reading out loud, a book to each other, he would be like, absolutely not. And he would just fall asleep. Yes. He falls asleep like a vampire every night. He just like pulls the covers up to his chin laying on his back and he’s like, alright, goodnight. And it’s over. Like, he’s already asleep. It’s amazing. But I told him, Hey bro, real quick list of things you can do to help me. And he was like, I’m all ears. So here’s what I told him. Number one, when I sit down to breastfeed, please automatically bring me a glass of water. Because when your baby is crying and hungry, it made me stressed out that the baby was hungry and then I would hurry up to feed the baby and sit down, finally, get settled, get a good latch and realize I didn’t have any of the shit I needed. And I was super thirsty and I was going to be there for an unknown amount of time.

Definitely getting a glass of water is huge. And you would be surprised at how often that happens. And then also, if you’re using any breastfeeding accoutrement, like a nipple shield or something, having your partner bring that to you, automatically, is great because otherwise the little clear nipple shields you’re like shaking the blankets out, hoping that it pops out and hits you in the face. Whoever made those clear. Is a jokester because, you know, can we really not make them hot pink so we can see them? The baby doesn’t care. But anyways, what would you say is on your list? I think actually an interesting one to talk about is, you know, I had a really hard time at night when I would be up all night and my partner would literally snore through the whole thing and that made me feel frustrated and resentful, you know? So I think having that conversation, especially if you have a partner who sleeps really deeply, which a lot of us do, you know, and the solution might not always be, you have to wake up with me every time, but it might be, Hey, if you’re going to sleep all night, you need to be the one who is perky in the morning. You wake up, you get things done and you let me sleep and you take the baby. Or, Hey, can you wake up with me once at night and watch a TV show with me and tell me I’m doing a good job? Especially, in the beginning and, and that can change and morph. It doesn’t have to be this hard and fast role. I mean, it’s a fluid relationship and no pun intended. Yeah. And, and you know what a part of this myth too.

There’s a, there’s a big circulating myth that breastfeeding will ruin the sexual part of your relationship. And again, that’s something that does not have to be true, but does sometimes happen. If we don’t have this open communication, And, you know, we’re not clear about boundaries and comfort levels, and you know, also like what postpartum is really like, because the reality is it’s not breastfeeding that ruins a sexual relationship. It’s the fact that postpartum is rough, and hormones are hard. Yeah. And that situation makes it really difficult for somebody who’s just had a baby to ever want to have sex again. Sometimes. Right. No, absolutely. But the more little things that your partner can do to support you, the more likely you are going to be able to transition or more like marry, the sexual part of yourself with the new parent part of yourself. Yeah, because it kind of feels like those two are separate islands and like you can only visit sex island every Friday when you can get a babysitter. I mean, but sometimes. But the, I think the thing is too, the thing that I’m going to say to really bust this myth… is that it is not breastfeeding that can ruin your relationship… it is having needs that are going unmet. And the reality is that your needs change when you have a baby. And your needs change when you breastfeed that baby. And in a relationship when we have these unmet needs; then we treat each other differently. We don’t meet our partner’s needs, and it cascades into this situation of us treating each other poorly. And it’s heightened by exhaustion. Yeah, for sure. Like multiply everything by 10. So this is why prenatally, it’s great to have this conversation because when it happens, you’ve already run that scenario through your head and it’s less of a surprise. And the other thing I would put on the list for ways your partner can help you is washing your pumping equipment if you’re pumping. Oh, yeah. Isn’t that just like the most annoying part of pumping, one of the most annoying parts of pumping is washing all of that stinking equipment. And just watching your husband wash that will turn you on. I know. If there’s anything that’s going to turn you on postpartum it’s watching your husband take a nice spongy brush that’s soapy to your flanges.  (Laughing) Maybe that’s just me.

You know what though? It’s really true. And again, it comes back to needs, right? Like, you know, if all you have time to do is feed your baby, wash your pump parts and change your baby’s diaper… all of your other needs are going unmet. And so anything your partner can do to first of all, give you time to care for yourself and then supplementary to meet needs for you. You know, to help you meet those needs. That is sexy that makes your partner feel… that makes them look incredible in your eyes. Right, and it also proves that they are capable of change. Yeah. And when you have a new baby, it becomes very obvious that your life from this point on is going to be changed. They’re not little adults that are like, well, here I am, and this is the way I’m going to be. It’s like, well, here’s a little blob of a human and over time I’m going to keep changing. And as soon as you get good at it, I’m going to change and then you’re going to have to figure that out again. So it’s nice to know, in the beginning that you have a partner that’s willing to change with you. Yeah. And for any partners that are listening, which please I hope you are, or that you do. You know, something that is really small and easy to do, but that’s going to help you maintain a positive relationship throughout the postpartum and breastfeeding experience is to really be vocal with your partner about, you know, one, the positive things, say things like it’s so incredible that you can feed our baby. You are doing such a good job. Or, you know, being vocal about appearances too… if you find that postpartum body sexy, say that, please. Please say that.

And then if you’re having negative thoughts and negative feelings, making sure that you do talk about those too and you don’t let those build up into something that’s going to explode and cause a real argument or a real fight. Yeah. Don’t be afraid to tell her when her milk is sexy. Yeah. You know, like, and if you find that odd as a woman, I would evaluate that, you know? Why do you find that odd? And that’s okay to have that conversation. You can be like, wow, I wasn’t expecting you to say that. And I feel weird about it, but I don’t know why. So let’s figure that out. Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. I mean, I remember breastfeeding my daughter laying down on the bed and my husband came in and he looked at us and I could tell, he took just like the mental snapshot that he’ll have for the rest of his life. And he said, look at how beautiful you two are.

You know, and it had nothing to do with breastfeeding. It was just that he was enjoying watching us enjoy breastfeeding and it wasn’t enjoyable the whole time. But those little moments that you have, like those small wins don’t ever be afraid to celebrate the little victories. Yeah, absolutely. Another thing that partners can do is be the burper, the designated burper. Oh yeah. Because I mean, breastfeeding can get messy. I mean, some babies are just sloppy eaters. For sure. Yeah. And as soon as you’re done feeding, you’re going to want to take a minute and wipe yourself off, and it’s nice to be able to hand the baby to your partner. Because also the baby can smell the milk on you, and then it’s just going to make them want to snuggle and lick and, you know, eat more, even if they’re, you know, just comfort nursing, which is fine. But if your partner holds them, they’re like, okay – end of feeding, and now we’re burping. I can relax. And now I’m in this new phase and babies are so primal… they actually need those hard stops sometimes to know what’s going on. So the burping is great. Yeah. And honestly, like, I really always found those moments, incredibly endearing and sexy, just to think… to see my partner with this tiny human that we created together. And to really think about that and admire that. Yeah. And, you know, we did this enough times that my baby would only burp for my husband. You know, it was ridiculous. And he took pride in that and was able to be a part of it. And the baby would be crying and he’d be like, she just needs to burp. Just hand her to me. And sure enough, he’d  grab her, he’d burp her and the look of pride on that man’s face… Like that’s how I was able to include him in the team. Like I needed him, and don’t be afraid to need your partner. And if you are the partner, don’t be afraid to be needed. You’re not going to fail.

Oh, wait… You will fail. Over and over again. Right. But your babies are forgiving and they love you so much just unconditionally. And you’ll fix it. You know, there’s very few things that are permanent screw ups. So when you fail, just recover, pick yourself back up and realize. Parenting.

Yep. Okay. So our next breastfeeding myth is that maternal stress causes a low milk supply. Should we be more clear about the stress that we’re talking about? Sure. Emotional stress. Yeah. You know, the one that I’ve heard is that, Oh, you should really relax a little bit or you’re not going to make enough milk. Right. We’re talking about emotional stress, mostly.

Right. And it’s also the equivalent of somebody screaming at you. Relax, relax. You’re like, Ugh. Right. It’s not gonna help anything, certainly. And it’s not going to suddenly make your milk hose turn on when you take a deep breath. Although I do recommend taking some deep breaths for yourself while nursing. Yeah. And I think the key to busting this myth is understanding a little bit about the mechanism of making milk and ejecting milk.

Right? You know. Let’s be clear. Our, our milk is, our bodies make milk because our babies demand it. And we work on this demand and supply system where we have nipple stimulation, breast simulation, suction at the breast and hormones that respond to that. Right. And so we’ve got two big players for breastfeeding. There is prolactin. And that is the big hitter, the big milk hormone, right. Pro-lactin like, for milk. It’s very simple. And that one is really the big one that tells your body to create that milk. And then the second one is oxytocin and oxytocin is involved mostly in your body’s milk ejection. And so that hormone helps your milk ducts, relax and open up and then allows your body to eject the milk. Right. And that’s what we call let down. And it squeezes the muscles to eject the milk. So that’s what you’re let down is. And some women will feel this happen and some women will not. And either way is fine. So if you feel it, it might feel like tingling in your nipples, it might feel almost like pins and needles. For some people it’s almost a little painful. It’s a weird feeling. Yeah, mine was painful. It felt definitely like my nipples went to sleep for a minute and then milk started squirting out… which was satisfying, you know, it feels good when your milk, when your breasts are really full and then you start letting down, it’s like, Oh, thank God. But yeah. I don’t think I ever felt it, to be honest. Yeah. I also wasn’t one of those people who had a really strong ejection reflex, which also doesn’t mean you can’t breastfeed. Let me just throw that out there. Yeah. You don’t have to spray like garden hose to be successful. So anyway, we have prolactin, we have oxytocin, we have this milk ejection, and then we also have, you know, babies simply sucking the milk out, right? You don’t just inject milk the entire time. And that’s physical. Our clinical evidence shows us that emotional stress can interfere with that oxytocin release, right? Because oxytocin is our like happy, lovey chemical. The only impact that that has on our lactation is that it kind of slows that ejection reflex flex temporarily.

Yeah. And honestly, not to be crass, but the best analogy for this is when you are getting oral sex, and you cannot have an orgasm because you were thinking about your grocery list, you’re thinking about where you need to be going tomorrow, all the things that need to be cleaned. You’re still getting pleasure. It’s still good, but you just haven’t quite hit that peak, right? You just can’t get there because oxytocin is the same hormone for an orgasm as it is for a milk ejection reflex. Right. But stress has no impact on your actual supply.

The way that this could quite possibly ever impact your milk supply. Is if you are so chronically stressed that you are not ejecting any milk ever. And then you’re also not, your baby’s also not sucking out enough milk that you’re not getting that demand from baby to tell your body to create the supply. Yeah. If baby’s not able to remove the milk, your body’s not going to replace that milk and it’s going to get the consistent message that we don’t need to make milk anymore. Right. But honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of that happening. I think that the most common version of that would be women that are exclusively pumping and they don’t have that stimulation from baby’s mouth on their nipples. And they’re usually doing this for a stressful reason. Some women do choose to do it, which is fine, but I would also say that the majority of the time it’s because your baby’s in the NICU or you have a very high stress, high demand job, and you are chronically stressed at baseline and yeah. So all those things combined together that will lead to decreased supply, but it’s not stress by itself. Right. And, you know, for those folks who do pump a lot, and aren’t getting a great output… it is actually recommended to try relaxation techniques, breathing techniques, visualizations for that simple reason of increasing your oxytocin level and having an increased milk ejection reflex from your body.

Yeah. And even like broader scope, just being a happier human, you know, being able to sleep a little bit better because you’re less stressed and get your blood moving and start to feel like a human again in your postpartum period where you really took a vacation, like a little hiatus from being thyself. Right.

You know, but you know what don’t ever let anybody tell you, you can’t breastfeed because you’re too stressed out. Or that the hormones in your body from that stress are going to be damaging to your baby, because if there has ever been a parent that doesn’t experience stress. I don’t know. That’s just not, that’s not a real thing. If the stress hormone truly damaged babies, all of us would be damaged because parenting is stressful, being alive is stressful. And there has been some research on how that affects mammals, right, and primates and it’s not conclusive yet, you know, there’ve been some studies that maybe show that the hormones from stress passed down from the maternal body might aid in creating memories for those infants. And if you think about, I don’t know, maybe you guys don’t geek out about this, like I do, but your stress hormones can help create memories to remember bad events, right. Our bodies never want to forget bad things cause they put us in danger. So there’s a little bit of research supporting that. There’s some research saying that maybe it causes babies not to sleep as well. You know, it’s all up in the air. There’s nothing conclusive on that. And frankly, I don’t know if there’s ever going to be, because who’s going to make money on that, so how many more studies are they really going to do? And who can afford to pay for the risk of a study like that? Right.

It’s all done in other mammals, not humans. Right. We are not like any other animals. I think the studies I read were rats and nonhuman primates. I wonder what a rat memories like. I wonder how you test a rat’s memory is really my question. That’s the best cheese I ever had. Oh, gosh, I don’t know. It must be easy to do cause they do a lot of memory studies with rodents. Oh, we’ll get them on the podcast. I will cite that.

Our conclusion of that is, it would be great for you personally, if you can lower your stress level. But it’s not going to stop you from breastfeeding. It’s not going to hurt your baby. But it might highlight some areas that you can work on just as a person, because this is separating you as a mother, just you as a person, like I remember pumping and my milk would not let down. I pumped for like 20 minutes and I was like, I’m not getting anything. And I hear this now from clients, I’m pumping and I’m not getting anything yesterday I was getting four ounces per a pumping session, and now I’m getting nothing. And it’s because my milk, I was so stressed that my milk wouldn’t let down. And then I was stressed that my milk wasn’t coming out. So then it was just compounding, compounding, and it highlighted for me like, okay, why are you stressed? Like this right here? Just trying to remove this milk should not be that stressful. This isn’t the problem. The problem is such and such and such like work or the fact that, you know, the family is crazy or, you know, we’re about to leave for a big trip or I’m in grad school or whatever it is.

But it’s really going to highlight those other areas of your life and help be kind of like a barometer for, am I healthy as a person right now? Am I healthy enough to make milk and eject it? Because honestly, if you’re not able to eject that milk, that’s also not that normal. Like we need to figure out why that’s happening and get to the root of that cause.

So, Heather…

Are we going to talk about pumping in another episode? Yeah. Oh, gosh. Yes. Probably a hundred episodes. Everybody wants to know about pumping. Yeah, nobody wants to pump, but everyone wants to know about pumping.

And are we going to troubleshoot supply problems? We are absolutely going to troubleshoot supply problems.

And you know what, we’re really excited to do it. And also we’re going to hopefully let you be that person that listens to the podcast about supply issues and be like, actually, I don’t have a supply issue. Wouldn’t that just be best case scenario? Can you tell us listeners if that happens? If you listen and you’re like, wow, I thought I had a supply issue and this podcast made me realize I don’t. Yeah, that would pretty much be the icing on top of our Chardonnay. That would be our peak. I mean, what do we do after that? I don’t know. Drop the mic and walk away, go breastfeed somebody. Anyone. Yeah, to be clear, neither of us are currently breastfeeding. Right, but we both are currently drinking rosé.

And we have breastfed in the past. Yes. And we will talk about alcohol consumption and really it’s no holds barred around here. All the things. And if you have a topic, if you have something you want to know about, and you’re like embarrassed to ask a person, you know in real life about, we are your people.

Yeah. Please send us an anonymous email. Send us an email and we can not use your name. And don’t give us very specific information about yourself either… like your social security number. We don’t need that. We don’t need that for breastfeeding.

Hey, Maureen. Yeah, Heather. Do you want to talk to us from your herbalist standpoint about using supplements, like supplements in capsules? Which are called galactigogs by the way, which means boosting milk supply to make your milk? Boy, do I ever, Heather. Please enlighten me. How many tea bags do I need of mother’s milk per day to make a hundred ounces of milk? Oh, the answer to that would be zero.

What? Yeah. And do you also want to know how many bottles of body armor you need to drink to feed your baby? 50 a week? Yeah, the answer to that is also zero. Well, then why in tarnation did I buy stock in both of those companies the minute I got pregnant? Well, that would be because myths are pervasive.

Okay. But, but really guys. There is a big breastfeeding myth that you have to help your body make milk with herbs, with supplements, with medication in some instances with oatmeal, with drinks, I mean, the list goes on and on and on. And the reality is, most people who have breasts can make milk. Full stop. And they can make enough milk for their babies if they’re given the opportunity to feed in a physiologically normal way. And if they have a birth that doesn’t interfere with that process. However, we do have a lot of people who have trouble with that because of their experience during birth. Or their postpartum experience. Or they’re set up at home with how often they feed baby or their baby’s mouth anatomy. I mean, the list of that’s really common and most of the time, it’s not the failing of your body that it’s not making milk, but it’s something else, environmental that’s going on. It’s your situation. Because, like we said before, it’s that demand and supply. And if that’s interrupted, somehow your body knows that and it’s thinking, wow, I guess we don’t need that much milk. I don’t know? Right. And you know, as much as you, aren’t making more milk by taking supplements. The companies that are using fear-mongering on scared moms or parents that feel like they’re not enough. They’re making money, hand over fist. Yeah. And that pisses me off. I really do not like it when companies, prey on people that are worried and it drives me crazy because if you really look closely at the marketing, the underlying tone of all that marketing is you aren’t enough to feed your baby. And this is the lactation supplement that you need to have a successful breastfeeding journey. So people that are pregnant will ask me what I recommend that they have on hand for when their baby is born. And I’m like, that is the herbs should be treated like medicine. Yup, absolutely. And you do not just take herbs, prophylactically.

Before you even have a problem, you’re just over complicating your life. Right. And, you know, I’m not saying that some of these things don’t work. I think some of them can work for certain people. And that’s great if they need it. And I think there’s also some wisdom in preparing your body, and setting it up to do its best job, giving yourself the best shot that you’ve got to succeed in pregnancy and with lactation by adequately getting the right nutrition. But the reality is that those things are not necessary either to make enough milk… but your body’s going to suffer for it if you don’t take care of it. So having good nutrition, drinking enough water, even, you know, adding in herbal teas that are going to really add to that nutrition that are full of health. Right? Those are helpful things that you can add. Those are great. And I’m so supportive of that self care, but I just really want to nip that negative thought in the bud that you’re not enough because you are. You 1000% are enough to feed your baby. And let me just say, you don’t need to feed all the babies in the neighborhood. You only need to feed your baby.

Oh, yeah. So if you were making just enough milk, guess what? Just enough is enough. Yup. I am adjust enougher apparently. Yeah. I’m pretty close to adjust enough for, for sure. Yeah. I mean, I would feed my baby and sometimes try to pump after and get a drop, a single one. And that made me feel bad for so long. I thought, gosh, what is wrong with me? Shouldn’t I be able to pump in between feedings and build up a stash in case I need it? I don’t know when I thought I needed this, Heather, like when would I need this? Who knows? Because I, I was a stay at home parent. So when did I need that stash? So, imagine how other people feel that actually have to go to like, wear a three-piece suit and go to work.


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You know, Absolutely. And, and it really just, the only way that I got through that was reassurance from my partner. And reassurance from my baby’s pediatrician that he was okay. And thank God that I had a good pediatrician because that could have gone the other way really, really easily. And that’s a whole other episode where we’re going to talk about pediatricians and breastfeeding and all of that. Yeah. And we’re going to try to do it, and it really tactful way where we pick zero bones with anybody.

That’s going to be tough. We’re going to have to write a script for that. That’s a fine line, fine line, my friends. Okay, so myth number four is that breastfeeding gives you saggy boobs.

Let’s talk about saggy boobs. So the research shows actually that the breast changes in pregnancy and the hormonal changes in pregnancy are actually what creates a more loose ligament. And the ligament that holds your breast to the chest wall is called the Cooper’s ligament. And I always will remember that because someone told me it was “Cooper’s droopers.” 

Yeah. And so, you know, not that that’s helping this myth right now. That helps me because I forget that when all the time. Thank you, Heather. You’re welcome. Yeah, Cooper’s droopers. The Cooper’s ligament is what holds your breast to the chest wall. And when you are pregnant, you are filled with this hormone called relaxin that relaxes everything. All your joints, all your ligaments, all your everything, just so your pelvis can accommodate a head to come out of it. That’s a lot of work guys, pat yourself on  the back if you’ve ever done that. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, so that breast changes being that your breasts usually get bigger and pregnancy your, milk making ducts get bigger, your milk making tissue expands and they get heavy. And the relaxin plus the heavy breast tissue is what creates a little bit more of a laxity in that ligament. But when your breasts are full of milk, you don’t really notice as much because the skin is filled out. And then after you stopped breastfeeding and the whole circle has been completed and the milk is no longer in your breast so all that’s left is skin and the tissue that’s left in there that’s no longer full of milk and an extended Cooper’s ligament. Yeah. And that’s from the whole shebang. Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, if we lined up a hundred women that were 40 years old and we told them to take off their shirts and we separated them by breastfeeding and formula feeding. I bet they would pretty much look the same.

Cause they’d all be saggy. I mean, that’s okay. This is where we’re going. I really wonder where, you know, where did the cultural expectation that our nipples need to point to the ceiling come from? Because mine have never done that. I’d rather they not be looking at me now. You know, and the reality is that breast shape and nipple shape is extremely variable. Oh, yeah. Breasts can be saggy from the beginning and that is not a bad thing. And all kinds of breasts and nipples can breastfeed. I argue that it’s easier to breastfeed with a saggier breast. Because, it’s more mobile. You can maneuver it in many different ways. And I can only say this because my first baby, I was like a AA cup that went to a D cup when my milk came in and my Cooper’s ligaments were so tight that there was nothing I could do to maneuver that engorged AA to a D breast and try to get, it was like trying to latch a baby onto a knee cap. Like there was just no mobility. And I would have begged to have the saggy or more mobile, softer tissue to work with.

Yeah. Anything to feed your baby at that point in time. Someone I know who has grown children now shared a hilarious story with me about this. With her first child, she breastfed him a long time and she says she was really thankful for her floppy breasts because she would just lay on her back and kind of throw a one boob over to the side and he latched on and she’d just go right back to sleep.

That’s awesome. And you know, what, if you don’t like it, you can fix it later, but for breastfeeding purposes, go for it. Yeah. You know, just be, you have your moment, your saggy boob moment where it’s personal. Who cares? Let me fly. Right. And you know, the reality is… say you’re seeking a partner and you’re worried about how those breasts look, if that person’s going to reject you because they don’t like your breast shape, you do not need to be with them anyway.

Fact. You know, the only person who has to be happy with your boobs is you. Preach, Maureen. Bring us home with myth number five! All right. The last one we are going to talk about today is the myth that supplementing with formula is going to destroy your breastfeeding journey.

Oh, dear. So. Oh, gosh. This is something Heather and I talk with clients about all the time. Because, let me tell you what… supplementing with formula for a short amount of time or for the whole duration of breastfeeding your baby is really common. More common than exclusively breastfeeding.

And also, is that something to be ashamed of? No, no, never. Been there, did it… not shameful. Is it something you should be embarrassed about? Absolutely not. But, there is definitely a way to do it that is breastfeeding friendly. Absolutely. I think this is where people get jacked up with their breastfeeding journey is they have a 15 minute consultation with their pediatrician, discover that they need “to supplement” for an undisclosed amount of time, because nobody ever seems to bother to tell you how long this needs to happen. They don’t give you a reevaluation point. And then people end up doing the same intervention for six months. And they’re like, when can I stop this? And it’s like, Holy shit, you’re still doing that? Like there’s no follow up there. So, you know, I always tell people to make sure that you ask, if someone tells you to supplement, ask how long you need to be doing this and what things you need to be looking out for that say that you don’t need to be doing it anymore.

Or if you’re doing it because you want to, like, you literally just want to, for whatever reason, you can do that, but there’s a way to do it in a breastfeeding friendly way, which we’ll talk about in an entire podcast, because you could literally talk about that for hours on hours. But really, we just wanted to express that… gosh, I’m good with these puns today… I wanted to express that, yes, you can supplement in a way that is breastfeeding friendly, and just because you give them one bottle in the hospital after delivery doesn’t mean it’s over. How many calls have you received from people that are crying? Like, I had to do it. I gave a bottle and now it’s over and I failed and he doesn’t want me anymore. Yeah. And, you know, that’s like, that’s a failing of our healthcare providers and our culture. And, and just all of it, man. That, that really stinks. So we want, we just want to reassure you, there’s a way to do that, which we’ll talk about. Yeah. And you should keep listening to hear it.

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