Top Breastfeeding FAQs: Answered
Does breastfeeding hurt?
While it can be uncomfortable at first (mainly due to sore nipples and engorgement in the early days), nursing should not be painful. If you have been breastfeeding for several weeks and are still experiencing pain, your little one is probably not latching on correctly (such as not taking in enough of the areola). A lactation consultant can help you make nursing stress- and pain-free.
When will my breast milk supply come in?
For most new moms, it shows up typically three to five days after giving birth. In the meantime, your body produces colostrum, which is thick, yellowish, and packed with carbohydrates, protein and antibodies perfect for your newborn baby’s first meals.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
If your breastfed baby seems satisfied after feedings, produces wet diapers (at least six per day once newbie is one week old), eats on a regular schedule, and shows appropriate weight gain, you can rest assured she is getting enough breast milk. If any of these are not occurring, speak with your pediatrician and consider seeking breastfeeding support.
How should I treat postpartum sore nipples?
First, try different breastfeeding positions that alleviate the pressure on the sore spot. Also rub a little breast milk on your nipples after each feeding—it actually helps heal them. You may also want to try a breastfeeding nipple cream.
Can I breastfeed twins?
Definitely. Although breastfeeding two babies is more challenging than one, and many moms of twins supplement with formula, it is possible to nurse twins—even at the same time, which is called tandem feeding. Your local La Leche League may have tandem-feeding support groups you can join. Additionally, there are FB groups for breastfeeding mothers of multiples.
How long do I need to breastfeed to get the benefits?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding for at least a year, but studies show the longer you nurse your baby, the better for baby’s and your health—whether that’s two months or two years.
Can I breastfeed after returning to work?
Of course! Invest in a quality double electric breast pump and follow the instructions for proper storage of breast milk. Try to express milk at the same time your baby eats when you are apart and enjoy nursing when you’re together. (Don’t forget to pack those nursing pads in your office bag while getting the hang of pumping. Leaks happen.)
Can I drink alcohol or coffee while breastfeeding?
Anything you consume is passed on to your baby, so both of these should be limited. It’s safest to stick to the decaf and mocktails you enjoyed while pregnant.
Is there anything else I need to avoid while breastfeeding, such as dental cleanings?
While you may be looking for an excuse to skip that visit to your dentist, breastfeeding isn’t it. In general, there isn’t any legal activity you need to avoid completely while breastfeeding, but you may want to limit gas-causing foods (such as pizza, cabbage, broccoli and beans) since they can make your baby fussy. If you’re unsure, speak to your healthcare provider, pediatrician or lactation consultant.
Can I get pregnant while breastfeeding?
Yes. Although nursing may delay the return of your cycle, it is possible for some new mommies to get pregnant while breastfeeding. So if you aren’t ready to add to your clan just yet, talk to your healthcare provider about birth control options.
Can I supplement with formula?
Yes. You need to find what works for you and your baby, and supplementing is necessary for some moms. But keep in mind that any formula your baby eats will decrease your milk supply, so it’s not always the best solution.
How do I increase milk production?
Nurse, nurse, nurse! The more your baby eats, the more milk you will produce. You can also pump in between or immediately after feeding your baby. Drinking plenty of water and consuming a healthy, balanced diet can help, as well.
How do I find a lactation consultant?
Most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff who will visit you shortly after you give birth. If one isn’t available, ask your healthcare provider or pediatrician to recommend one. You can also look online through La Leche League International as mentioned above, or the International Lactation Consultant Association for breastfeeding experts in your area.