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Ages & Stages

Common Myths About Breastfeeding


You ca​n't get pregnant while breastfeeding.

While it's true that breastfeeding prevents ovulation in some women, it is not a reliable form of birth control. Talk to your doctor about an acceptable form of contraception. Avoid estrogen-containing birth control pills.

You need to toughen your nipples before your baby is born.

Your body naturally prepares for breastfeeding. Tactics to toughen them may actually interfere with normal lactation.

Small breasts don't produce as much milk as large ones.

Breast size has nothing to do with the amount of milk they produce.

Breastfeeding will ruin the shape of your breasts.

Most women find that their breasts go back to their pre-pregnancy size and shape after they stop nursing. Age, the effects of gravity and weight gain have more effect on breast size than nursing. Breasts will always change in consistency after pregnancy.

Sexual arousal while breastfeeding is abnormal.

Many women experience sexual arousal while nursing. Breast stimulation is an important aspect of sexual activity, so it stands to reason that nursing can also arouse sexual feelings. In addition, oxytocin—the hormone released during breastfeeding—is also released during orgasm, another reason why nursing can be sexually stimulating.

All babies should be weaned before their first birthday.

When to stop breastfeeding is a highly personal decision and varies considerably according to custom and individual preferences. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. The AAP supports We support continued breastfeeding after solid foods are introduced as long as you and your baby desire, for 2 years or beyond.

Last Updated
Adapted from Nutrition: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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