Top breastfeeding FAQs: Answered

Answers to some of the most common breastfeeding questions.

Does breastfeeding hurt?
While it can be uncomfortable at first (mainly due to sore nipples and engorgement), nursing should not be painful. If you have been breastfeeding for several weeks and are still experiencing pain, your baby is probably not latching on correctly. A lactation consultant can help you make nursing stress- and pain-free.

When will my milk come in?
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 baby’s first meals.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough to eat? 
If your baby seems satisfied after feedings, eats on a regular schedule, and is gaining an appropriate amount of weight, you can rest assured she is getting enough. If any of these are not occurring, speak with your pediatrician.

How should I treat sore nipples?
First, try different feeding 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. (Angelina Jolie did it!)

How long do I need to breastfeed to get the benefits?
The AAP recommends breastfeeding for at least a year, but studies show the longer you nurse your baby, the better—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.

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 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 or the International Lactation Consultant Association for breastfeeding experts in your area.

By Emily Lovely

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