Top Breastfeeding Myths Debunked By Expert

World-renowned breastfeeding expert Doctor Jack Newman has debunked the top breastfeeding myths in a trending social media post.

The world-renowned expert on breastfeeding Jack Newman, who now works at the International Breastfeeding Centre based in Toronto, has shut down numerous breastfeeding myths in a post currently trending across social media. 

The popular Canadian paediatrician and breastfeeding specialist who founded his first hospital-based breastfeeding clinic in 1984 debunked various myths including alcohol and breastfeeding and sugar in breastmilk.

In a post on his Facebook page, Dr Jack Newman shut down what he believes "is an appalling attempt to frighten women out of breastfeeding and enjoying what they like to eat."

In the viral post by Newman, accompanied by a detailed image describing the many foods breastfeeding mothers should and shouldn't eat, he said: "The poster below is a perfect example of anti-breastfeeding 'information'. This notion that you can't eat certain foods when breastfeeding is not based on science."

The best selling author first looks at foods that are "okay" for breastfeeding mothers and said while there was nothing really wrong with what the image depicted, that you don't have to take in calcium to make milk with calcium. 

However, he explains the real problem is that the diet shown is for people who are relatively affluent. 

"Many mothers could not afford to eat such a diet and thus be frightened into formula feeding, which, I should emphasize is actually more expensive than the foods mentioned here," he said.

"This is a stratagem used by formula companies. A prime example a few years ago was a campaign by one formula company in Brazil, supported by the Brazilian pediatric society, saying that your breastfed baby eats what you eat. Posters were widely distributed showing a baby suckling at a breast that looks like a doughnut, or looks like a hamburger."

"These restrictions on what breastfeeding mothers can eat have been debunked decades ago. Let's encourage good nutrition for everyone, and let's stop haranguing breastfeeding mothers into stopping breastfeeding by worrying them about their diets," he continued.

Next, he moved onto the panels showing foods breastfeeding mothers should avoid by saying while we should always keep our sugar, salt and fat intake at a reasonable level, that to imply that if you eat a lot of sugar will increase your babies risk of obesity is absurd. 

Newman said: "Breastmilk, in fact, does not change much in response to what you eat. It changes from morning to evening, from day to day, from month 1 to month 6, and later, but not because of what you eat."

"But if you eat a lot of sugar, your milk will have the same amount of sugar as if you ate no sugar at all."

In regards to alcohol, the guru said almost no alcohol gets into the milk if you have been drinking, a myth he has discussed on various occasions. He said reasonable alcohol should not be discouraged. Newman strongly believes the notion of prohibiting alcohol is another way to make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers. 

The breastfeeding expert also mentions caffeine intake by saying a cup or two a day "will not bother the baby."

"Caffeine is given to premature babies as a treatment and nobody worries about how they might excrete caffeine," he wrote.

"It's not right to deprive breastfeeding mothers of drinking coffee and tea in reasonable amounts."

Newman signs off the post by saying these restrictions including the intake of garlic, processed food and citrus foods were debunked decades ago. 

"Let's encourage good nutrition for everyone, and let's stop haranguing breastfeeding mothers into stopping breastfeeding by worrying them about their diets," he concluded. 

Kellie Kearney

Kellie Kearney is a Dublin mammy of five kids aged newborn right up to nine. She loves coffee, cloth nappies, travel and sharing her every day true to life family moments on Instagram.

Read more by Kellie
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us