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 at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
In most cases, these new moms end up breastfeeding successfully after receiving support from the hospital’s nurses and lactation experts.
Adis Roman, a lactation consultant at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, also hears concerns from new moms.
“In the summer, I hear all the time, ‘It’s hot out. I’m worried my baby won’t get enough fluids. Shouldn’t I give her water?” says Roman, RN, IBCLC, CCE. “I assure them that all of the baby’s needs are satisfied through breastfeeding.” Roman notes that infants under 6 months old shouldn’t be given water, though moms should drink lots of water and offer their babies breastfeeding frequently on hot days.
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 and Roman debunk common myths about breastfeeding.