Shari Criso is a woman that to many people, needs no formal introduction. She is a nationally recognized parenting educator, entrepreneur, and most importantly, loving wife & proud mother of two amazing breastfed daughters. Her credentials include: Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Midwife, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She knows her stuff! Read on to find out all that she has learned in her years as a breastfeeding educator and advocate as Shari busts the top myths about breastfeeding and shares her top tips on how to make breastfeeding work for you.
Shari Criso’s Top Breastfeeding Myths:
Myth #1: A large percentage of our population just can’t make enough milk to fully nourish their babies.
- Fact: Our bodies were made to breastfeed and our species has survived for hundreds of thousands of years this way. It is actually UNCOMMON for a mom to carry a pregnancy, deliver a baby, and then just not be able to feed it. It does not make sense. There are some moms who may have issues with milk supply, but most of the time it is due to inaccurate advice to supplement with formula because of a “perceived” low supply issue instead of a real supply issue.
Myth #2: That if your mom or sister couldn’t breastfeed, that you won’t be able to breastfeed as well.
- Fact: I don’t know what happened with a woman’s mom or sister, but I do know that their mother’s mother, and her mother before that, and so on…were able to breastfeed or they would not be here. We come from a line of women that were able to produce enough and feed their babies because that was the only way. Although the ability to breastfeed can have a genetic factor, this is usually not the case. Most of the time the reason that the mom or sister was not able to breastfeed is due to reasons that were not medical issues, but rather misinformation or assumptions about their bodies ability to make enough milk.
Myth #3: That you have to have the perfect diet and lifestyle to make good and enough milk.
- Fact: This is just untrue. If having the perfect diet, enough rest, not too much stress, etc. were major factors in your body’s ability to feed your baby then our species would have died off long ago. People throughout history have lived through some of the most difficult situations and still were able to feed. Although our own health does make breastfeeding easier, it is not critical in making enough or good “quality” milk. A good diet will keep you healthy, but regardless of what you are eating your milk is rarely effected except in the most extreme cases.
Myth #4: Breastfeeding will change the shape of your breasts.
- Fact: Breastfeeding itself is not the culprit. Other factors that can change your breast appearance more than breastfeeding includes BMI, age, history of smoking, large pre-pregnancy breast size and number of pregnancies.
Shari Criso’s Top 3 Breastfeeding Tips:
- Tip #1: Become as knowledgeable and educated as possible about breastfeeding BEFORE you have your baby. Trying to wing it after the baby comes or rely on the staff at the hospital to teach you could be a disaster and the reason why breastfeeding was not successful.
- Tip #2: Purchase what you will need to make breastfeeding more comfortable and easier especially in the first few weeks when you are first adjusting and it is usually the most difficult time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to accomplish this, but assume that you WILL be successful and get what you need. You may be able to get help with breastfeeding at no cost, since your health insurance plan must cover the cost of a breast pump – and may offer to cover either a rental or a new one for you to keep.
- Tip #3: Make sure you are surrounded with support. One of the biggest challenges and reasons for moms not having the success that they want with breastfeeding is not getting the support from the people around them. Get your partner on board with education and information. A supportive partner is one of the biggest reasons for breastfeeding success. Find friends and other breastfeeding moms who were successful to speak to and line up a lactation consultant before you deliver so you can reach out for help as soon as you need it.
If it seems to you like Shari’s myths and tips are just the tip of the iceberg into her wealth of knowledge, you would be right. After her first daughter was born, Shari had the realization that so much information about breastfeeding and birthing was missing. You can check out her learning center, The Birth Boutique, for more information and support for new parents through pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and parenting. She also has her own line of Nursing Loungewear (Nurturewear), and her signature class, “Simply Breastfeeding: The Criso Breastfeeding Method” is now available on DVD, in addition to her audio CD, “Breastpumps and Briefcases.” Be sure to check out her site for more helpful information and resources!
Looking for more helpful breastfeeding tips? Check out these Daily Mom articles on breastfeeding:
Photo credits: Shari Criso