This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Decoding Ridiculous Breastfeeding Myths And Revealing Actual Facts

Breastfeeding is the nature’s way of providing milk to the newborn baby via her mother where the mother’s body produces food for her baby. Breastfeeding is recommended for at least the first few months’ of the baby’s life as the mother’s milk contains all the essential nutrients required by the newborn and the mother’s milk is also easily digestible for the infant.  Other than satiating the baby’s hunger, babies also want to be breastfed for closeness, comfort, teething pain and to drift off to sleep.

In this article, we will be busting some common myths regarding breastfeeding.

Myth: It Is the Mother’s Fault If She Is Not Able To Breastfeed

Fact: If breastfeeding doesn’t work out, it is not the mother’s fault. The new mother should be provided with all the support and information regarding breastfeeding from the start.  It is common to face challenges when breastfeeding and when this occurs, the parents tend to visit the pediatrician and this doctor is not the right person to guide the mother as they will not have the right training and will not observe how the mother breastfeeds nor ask the relevant questions. The postpartum visit to OB-GYN is often after six weeks by the time which, the challenges with breastfeeding will be either overcome or lost. But in all of this, it is never the mother’s fault, as she never got the right help and guidance with regards to lactation consulting.  When facing difficulties with breastfeeding, then it is better to reach out to lactation consultant who knows the all the challenges related to breastfeeding and will help and guide the new mother to successfully breastfeed.

Myth: Formula is not Healthy and Breast Milk Is a Cure-All

Fact: Without a doubt there are numerous benefits of breast milk, which consist of lesser respiratory illnesses (1), lesser ear infections (2), reduced bouts with diarrhea (3), and a lesser risk of medical issues like leukemia and diabetes (4).

Breast milk has long-term health advantages; however, it is only a part of a healthy lifestyle for your baby; and other factors, such as exercise, diet and genetics play a role in the baby’s health too.  Formula is not harmful and while it can never replace breast milk, it is the second best thing for your baby if the mother is ill and can’t feed her baby or is facing challenges with breastfeeding. Babies can easily not only thrive on formula, but are happy and healthy with drinking it.

Breast milk is something which cannot be replaced, as it is like a living substance and it adapts to meet the needs of the baby throughout the day. For example, in the evening time, the mother’s body will produce milk consisting more melatonin which helps with sleeping of the baby (5).  However, formula comes very close to breast milk and at the end of the day it is food for the baby.

Myth: Breastfeeding Is Painful

Fact: Pain is common to feel, but it is never normal when it comes to breastfeeding. In the initial week to two weeks, breastfeeding can be uncomfortable. However, if the mother is experiencing painful lactation, scratched nipples; bloody nipples, then they should be treated immediately and never be ignored. These painful problems can also be caused by tongue-tie or ankyloglossia in the baby. If you suspect that your baby is suffering from this problem, then visit a lactation consultant where they will assess the feeding function and accordingly refer to a specialist, such as pediatric dentist or ENT. They will diagnose and treat the tongue-tie in the baby that is causing problems with breastfeeding.

Other common causes of pain with breastfeeding are inverted nipples; poor or wrong position of the baby when feeding or vasospasm. For these problems, again reach out to your lactation consultant to assess the situation and they will help and guide you to make the experience of breastfeeding less painful.

Myth: The Success of Breastfeeding Depends On the Breast and Nipple Size

Fact: Nothing can be more farther from the truth.  As the body of a woman is different, so are the sizes and shapes of the breasts and nipples and they have nothing to do with problems with feeding. All kinds of sizes and shapes of nipples and breasts have the ability to be successful at breastfeeding (6). They do not affect the body’s ability to produce milk for the baby whatsoever (6).

Myth: All Mothers Will Get Lot of Milk If They Try Enough 

Fact: This kind of thinking creates a lot of pressure and shame in mothers who cannot produce sufficient milk for her baby. Sadly some healthcare providers also contribute to this notion and it is usually suggested if the mother is not able to produce sufficient milk for her baby, then it is better to stop trying completely. There are many factors that affect the milk production, such as retained placenta; loss of blood in mother during birth, polycystic ovarian syndrome; other hormonal imbalances etc. However, all these problems have solutions. The doctor can prescribe supplements and medications that will help in increasing the milk supply.  Also, in such cases, using donor milk or giving formula to the baby is not the end of the world. In fact, it can save your baby from ill health. Milk is milk and your baby needs food and at the end of the day, a well fed, happy, content baby is what matters.

Myth: The Amount You Pump Is the Amount of Milk You Are Making

Fact: The type of breast pump determines the amount of milk that is pumped and additionally the right fit of the pump parts as per the nipple of the mother also are important in the quantity of milk that the pump is able to extract.  Moreover, some mothers do not respond well to pumping and the baby is able to extract more milk by sucking, so that should also be considered before jumping to conclusions that the amount of milk that is pumped is the milk that the mother is able to produce.

Myth: Breastfeeding Should Be Avoided If the Mother Is Suffering From COVID-19

Fact: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization, mothers who are suffering from COVID-19 should breastfeed their babies (7, 8) and a study also shows that breast milk does not pass the COVID-19 virus to the baby (7, 8). In fact breastfeeding with COVID-19 is actually beneficial for the baby. Just like other illnesses, the body of the lactating mother when suffering from covid 19 starts producing antibodies to fight this disease and these antibodies can be passed via breast milk to the baby. It does not matter if the mother is sick or the baby is sick, breastfeeding keeps the baby safe and healthy. 

Myth: Babies Can Be Allergic To Breast Milk

Fact: It is not possible for a baby to be allergic to something which the nature has deemed as their food.  However, babies can be intolerable to something which the mother has consumed and it has been passed into breast milk (9). A few babies cannot tolerate the proteins in the diet of the mother like eggs, dairy or tree nuts and this can cause more of spit-up or an upset stomach. In rare cases, a baby can develop an allergy to something in the diet of the mother and it can lead to eczema. In such cases, the culprit food should be eliminated.

Myth: Alcohol and Medications Are Harmful When Breastfeeding

Fact: Many of the medications can be taken when breastfeeding. Common medications that are prescribed after the birth are: pain medications, antibiotics and anesthesia. Antibiotics can upset the baby’s stomach or temporarily change the stool of the baby; however, this is not harmful. Many of the pain medications are secreted in extremely small quantities which does not cause any problem at all. When it comes to anesthesia, it passes the system quickly as it is very fast acting; hence, not an issue when it comes to breastfeeding.

Alcohol is safe when taken in less quantity like one glass of wine per day. The safest way to consume alcohol while breastfeeding is to pump or feed before drinking it (10). Alcohol gets into the breast milk, however, it immediately gets back into the bloodstream of the mother and is metabolized, so it is not present in the breast milk for sufficient time to cause any harm.

A lactation consultant will guide you best if you are not sure about any medication or alcohol consumption when feeding.

Myth: The Thick Yellow Milk (Colostrum) Produced After Birth Is Bad For the Baby

Fact: Also referred to as the ‘first golden milk’ or “liquid gold,” Colostrum is beneficial for the baby (11, 12).  It provides the newborns with a boost of immunity and should absolutely be fed to the newborns immediately after birth without any hesitation whatsoever (11, 12). 

Myth: Milk Production Is Hereditary and If Your Mother Could Not Breastfeed, So Can’t You

Fact: Barring the fact if the mother has been though some serious illness, every woman can successfully breastfeed. Milk production is not hereditary and the more the mother feeds her baby, the more the milk is produced (13). 

Myth: If the Mother Was Unsuccessful With Breastfeeding for First Baby, Then the Same Will Happen With Her Subsequent Babies

Fact: This is absolutely untrue! With the right support and encouragement; a mother can successfully breastfeed her babies even if she was not able to do so in the past.

Myth: Breastfed Babies Are Clingy

Fact: Babies can be calm or they can be clingy or keep crying, all babies are different and it has nothing to do with breastfeeding. Breast milk is best for the baby, as it has the perfect amount of nutrients for the baby and is also beneficial in development of the baby’s brain.

Myth: Babies Who Are Breastfed Should Sleep Through the Night by 8 Weeks

Fact: There are some breastfed babies who can sleep for long period of time; however, many babies will not be able to. What happens is, “sleeping through the night” for a breastfed baby is sleeping for about 4 to 5 hours between feeds, which makes it seem they are sleeping for a longer time. In case the baby is frequently waking up, other than hunger, other reasons could be teething, going through a milestone or just wanting to be close to the parent.

There are more myths saying that lactating mothers should avoid citrus foods, spicy foods, cruciferous vegetables, chocolate etc. all of which are completely untrue!  A lactating mother should always take a balanced diet and rest well. A healthy diet and healthy mother makes a healthy and happy baby.


Breastfeeding has many myths floating around by the dozen and it is advised not to blindly believe them. Some of these myths on top of being false can be potentially harmful for the new mother and the baby. Breastfeeding is a journey which has its ups and downs and with time and the right help, the mother learns to navigate it and can overcome any bumps for smooth sailing. Family, friends and spouse should also be supportive and encourage and help the mother through this process.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 29, 2024

Recent Posts

Related Posts