In modern times, breast milk is not the only way to feed a child, but the custom persists because of the many benefits it can offer to both baby and mother. However, there are many myths floating around about breastfeeding and breast milk, so it's best you know the facts before you decide whether or not breastfeeding is best for you and your family.

Myth: You’re a bad mother if you don’t breastfeed your child

Truth: Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone

The decision to breastfeed or not is each mother’s prerogative. Considering the wide array of completely nutritious formulas available for women who either can’t or don’t want to breastfeed, the choice to opt out in no way makes you a “bad mother.” Prejudice against women who do not breastfeed their babies is real, and author Hannah Rosin excellently highlights the issue in her essay, The Case Against Breast-Feeding.

A formula-fed child will not grow up to be a failure as an adult. Just ask the thousands of perfectly functioning adults who never touched a drop of breast milk in their lives. In America, most women who breastfed come from wealthy, educated backgrounds, which suggests there are various factors influencing a woman’s choice to breastfeed, so you should think before you judge.

Myth: If you want to drink alcohol, just throw out a serving of breast milk

Truth: Breastfeeding and alcohol really shouldn’t go together

OK, if I’ve heard this one, you probably have as well. It’s important to make it clear that drinking and breastfeeding really shouldn’t ever mix. According to Mayo Clinic, when you drink alcohol, it passes into your breast milk at a very similar rate that it does your bloodstream.

It’s been shown that breast-fed babies who are exposed to as little as one drink a day can have impaired motor development and upset sleep patterns. Even though throughout time women have been advised to drink alcohol to help with their milk production, Mayo Clinic explains this isn’t the case. Alcohol can not only decrease your milk production, but the presence of it in breast milk can turn off your baby from drinking it at all. Dumping breast milk does not help you get rid of alcohol in your system any faster. If you do choose to drink when breastfeeding, you need to wait until the alcohol has completely cleared from your body, which can take hours, no matter how much milk you produce.

Myth: Smokers shouldn’t breastfeed

Truth: Breast milk from a smoking mother is better than no breast milk at all

Smoking is bad and doctors would advise everyone, regardless of their parental status, to give up the habit. However, if a woman either chooses not to give up smoking or is having trouble with her abstinence, experts advise it's safe for her to continue breastfeeding. One study compared the breast milk of smokers to that of non-smokers and found nicotine did alter the taste of the breast milk, and babies of smokers spent “significantly less time sleeping during the hours immediately after their mothers smoked.” However, breast milk contains immunities that can help your baby counteract the effects of cigarette smoke, which has led experts to agree that it’s better to smoke and breastfeed than smoke and formula-feed.

Myth: Breastfeeding hurts

Truth: Breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, but if it causes pain, something may be wrong

Although breastfeeding may feel a bit strange and even uncomfortable at times, it is never meant to hurt. Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong, and when something as natural as breastfeeding causes noticeable pain, it’s important to speak with your doctor. Reasons for breastfeeding pain can range from fungal infections on the nipple, improper “latching” of the infant, or even a sign that you are pregnant once again. All of these conditions are easily amended (except for the pregnancy, but in that case, congratulations!) and shouldn’t interfere with a mother’s ability to feed and bond with her child.

Myth: My husband won’t view my breasts as sexy anymore if I use them to feed our child

Truth: According to Google, men are seriously interested in the lactating breast

Although every man’s preference is unique, it's highly unlikely that breastfeeding will turn a man off. In fact, Google shows us that it might actually do the exact opposite. According to Time, the Google search term for “my husband wants me to breastfeed him” is more popular than “my husband wants to separate” and “my husband wants a baby” combined.

“I think with a lot of men, there’s just a curiosity of what it tastes like, and what it would be like to nurse,” Wendy Haldeman, who co-founded the Pump Station, told Time. “Certainly men suck on nipples during sex, so they’re gonna get milk.” Dr. Wendy Walsh, a relationship expert and breastfeeding mother gave an interesting explanation of why men may be fascinated with lactating breasts, suggesting it may be due to a combination of curiosity and jealousy. “The breast used to be the man’s play-toy, and suddenly the baby is coming in and playing with daddy’s favorite play-toy,” Walsh told Time.