Healthy Living

Women Share Breastfeeding Tips That Often Don't Work

mother breastfeeding
Image REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

A new study survey has found that many U.S. women share folk breastfeeding tips even though there isn't substantial proof of these remedies working.

The survey included 124 lactation consultants in 29 states, all of which were affiliated with medical centers. Researchers found that 69 percent of the consultants said that they had heard about these remedies and about 65 percent had recommended at least one of the folk methods.

"Despite the frequency with which such advice is given, there is little empirical evidence to support the use of most the remedies listed. But I'm all for anything that helps and is safe for the baby," said Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, an obstetrician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and lead author of the study.

Most consultants reported to pass on folk remedies that help with either milk production or ease pain associated with breastfeeding.

Some folk remedies can be dangerous like one breast feeding tip that says drinking beer can help promote milk production, a tradition that began in the 1800s. But, there is no evidence that these remedies work and may even put the child's health in danger. Dr. Schaffir said that alcohol can, in fact, decrease milk production.

Some other cultures encourage mothers to eat a diet that has oatmeal in it. However, there is no evidence that eating oatmeal helps with breastfeeding. Another tip that is often given but rarely works is the use of tea-bags to ease nipple pain.

"With the attention given to these remedies, this survey may spur future research to objectively measure whether such recommendations are actually safe and effective, rather than relying solely on anecdotal evidence," said Schaffir.

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