As an obstetric nurse, Mary Lou Mulholland sees a lot of new moms worried about breastfeeding.
“I’m not making enough milk, I’m going to starve my baby, and my anatomy isn’t right are common concerns,” says Mulholland, RNC-OB, C-EFM, CLC, a staff nurse and lactation counselor in the postpartum unit of Women and Children’s Health at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
In most cases, these women do breastfeed successfully, she says, after receiving support from the hospital’s nurses and lactation experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, including exclusively for the first six months after birth.
After all, breastfeeding is healthy for both baby and mother. For a child, it can lower the risk of asthma, obesity, diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. For the mother, it can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here, Mulholland debunks common myths about breastfeeding.