6 Breastfeeding Myths

In the early weeks of my life, my mommy felt that I needed a little sometime extra, and she began to supplement my diet with a bit of formula. It wasn’t a choice she made on doctor’s orders, my mommy simply did what she felt I needed. A bit of formula made both of us feel much better and within a few weeks we were able to make the transition to breastmilk alone.

Formula solved the problems we were dealing with, but there are people who criticise us for using it. When speaking to these people, it has become apparent that the push for breastfeeding has caused misconceptions in some people’s minds. Today I want to address these myths and defend my mommy’s choice to supplement my diet.

Infant wearing a yellow outfit sitting unassisted

I ate formula and survived.

1. Babies are born knowing how to nurse.

Babies are born with the rooting reflex, not with the understanding of what nursing is or how it is done. The rooting reflex causes newborn babies to turn their heads towards their mothers and to make sucking motions with their mouth. As a result, they are usually able to figure out how to nurse. This learning process takes time and practice.

2. Breastfeeding is a beautiful moment between mother and child.

Breastfeeding can be wonderful, but it is also hard work and requires practice. The first few weeks are generally quite painful for most women as breastfed newborns need to eat almost constantly and it takes time for mother and baby to find their rhythm.

3. You can’t bond with your baby if you don’t breastfeed.

Your baby will love you no matter what. Love is not contingent on breastfeeding, or even feeding in general. If it was, you would be in love with your refrigerator.

4. Milk = Good, Formula = Bad

It is true that mother’s milk is the healthiest food for a baby, but formula isn’t poison and there are many instances where formula is beneficial. If an infant isn’t putting on weight quickly enough on breastmilk alone, adding some formula to their diet can help. For babies who are diagnosed with jaundice, feeding formula alongside milk can help clear it up faster. All the benefits of breastmilk are not erased by adding formula to a baby’s diet.

5. If you feed formula, your milk supply will diminish.

Milk production works on supply and demand. The more you remove, the more you will make. Feeding formula and allowing milk to be reabsorbed will ultimately decrease the supply. However, if you’re already not making enough milk, it is silly to allow your baby to starve while you stress about your supply. Feed your poor baby some formula and look into other ways of getting that milk out so that you can work on your supply.

6. If you don’t breastfeed, you don’t love your baby.

Breastfeeding is not proof of love. There are many reasons why a woman may not breastfeed and none of them make her any less of a mother. Breastfeeding is a personal matter and nobody has the right to pass judgment.

Dear Bear and Beany
October 20, 2016
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13 thoughts on “6 Breastfeeding Myths

  1. As a twin mom I just found breastfeeding too difficult, and my babies lost too much weight. We moved to exclusively formula feeding which I thought I was OK with until people asked me if I was breastfeeding. You find yourself frantically explaining why not… I shouldn’t have to justify my choices!! They’re nearly a year now so I’m over the judgements but it is difficult when they’re little! #SharingtheBlogLove

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    • I have found that being a mom (and probably being a dad too), it’s so easy to feel not good enough. Even though I try so hard to be the best mom I can , I’m always wondering if I’m doing enough for Peachy. It’s so easy to judge others but I wonder if people realize how quickly doubts and insecurities can creep in. We should really consider being more supportive and realize that nobody can do it all. We’re all doing the best we can for our little ones and contrary to what the little voices in our heads like to tell us, we are good enough. Thanks for reading.

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  2. very touching, my supply wasn’t great and I struggled with breastfeeding. I heard a lot these myth and unfortunately I also felt extremely judged for giving my baby formula. he survived and now is one years old. I feel like mothers should do what is best for them and their babies, there is so much pressure to breastfeed #sharingthebloglove

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    • There is a lot of pressure to breastfeed. It feels like they know breastfeeding is hard so they try to force women to do it by making them feel like total failures if the don’t. We only supplemented formula for a while and I still felt extremely judged and looked down upon. It got the the point where I was convinced that I missed some critical bonding opportunity, that my baby would never love me the same way, and that any issues we’ve had with breastfeeding since then are entirely due to my failure as a mother in those early days when I supplemented breastmilk with formula. All those people judging me have broken my brain!

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  3. The whole how you feed your baby debate drives me mad. Parents make their choices for themselves and their babies and everyone should respect that decision. There is no right or wrong. I breastfed both my girls exclusively for 8 weeks and then due to several different reasons, the babies weight, my supply I did dual feeding with both breast and formula. The alternative would have been dangerous for my girls. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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    • Our problems happened the other way around. For the first month or so, my milk wasn’t enough for Peachy. I don’t even think it was a supply issue but a composition problem. I know the milk takes a few days to come in and that in the early days it’s not very filling. In my case, the milk came in but the composition didn’t change fast enough. It had no fat in it and after few days of exclusive breastfeeding, Peachy was famished. That wasn’t helping clear up the jaundice and she was getting discouraged by the whole eating business since it never satisfied her. She started refusing to eat after just a few sucks. I began pumping and bottle feeding, which was easier for her and she would eat, but she would still cry all the time that she’s hungry. I started mixing half milk and half formula. That’s when the crying stopped and the jaundice cleared up. Eventually my milk changed and we were able to leave the formula behind. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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  4. I would also add that the pressure that we put on weight gain can put so much pressure on new mothers. I know that I felt this massively with my son, who was slow to put on weight, and dropped down the centiles from his birth weight. After about 5 months I started supplementing his feeds with formula, topping up by about 3oz every feed. Of course, he would regularly throw this back up, as he just couldn’t fit it in his stomach, but I persisted for a while as I was just so worried that he wasn’t putting on more weight. Even at 2.5 years old, he’s still a very small child for his age, but that’s just him. But I didn’t have the confidence in myself and my gut feelings to trust that we were doing ok. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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    • The problem is that our little ones can’t tell us if something is wrong. Slow weight gain doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, but it could be a sign of a serious issue and that’s why it needs to be looked at. In your case it may have been needless worrying, but for others it leads to life saving intervention. Thanks for dropping by.

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  5. Well said, peachy 🙂 but I started a support group to help mother’s that can’t, and not make it overwhelming 🙂 I donate milk to mothers in the group that don’t have a supply or can’t breastfeed because of work. I think nothing less of them 🙂 it’s a choice.

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