The 9 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Breastfeeding
All parents, especially first-time parents, have a series of questions that come up regarding the birth of their baby. Many of these doubts have to do with lactation.
Lactation can be a difficult stage for many mothers – especially first-time mothers. Part of the problem is there are a lot of myths about breastfeeding.
While there is plenty of information available for mothers to investigate on their own, they still have many common doubts.
Most women are capable of breastfeeding their children. Cases in which mothers aren’t able to breastfeed are uncommon, and most can be resolved with the help of a specialist.
In fact, there are many centers and groups that exist to provide assistance to breastfeeding moms.
For mothers, many of the most common questions about breastfeeding have to do with whether or not they’ll produce enough milk.
New mothers also wonder if their milk will provide the nutrition their baby needs.
But the fact of the matter is, with practice, your technique and production will improve over time. The best thing you can do is relax.
The most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding
When is the right time to feed my newborn baby?
The answer is right away. The most natural thing to do is place your newborn baby at your breast as soon as you receive her so that she can start to suckle.
Though your milk will take some time – even days – to start flowing, your baby’s suction will help in the process.
Keep in mind that milk flow can take even longer to begin in cases of C-section.
How can I know if I’m producing enough milk for my baby?
Your baby will take on the responsibility of increasing your milk supply through his own suckling.
That’s why it’s important to allow you little one to breastfeed on demand during the first days of life.
You should also pay special attention to technique, making sure your baby is facing your breast. If your baby simply suckles on your nipple, help him open his mouth wider so that your entire aureole is covered.
Lastly, your baby’s lips should be turned outwards.
How much milk should my baby drink?
Allow your baby to drink until she’s satisfied. Ideally, your baby should empty one breast before moving on to the other.
The reasoning behind this is that the first milk that comes out –foremilk – is more watery and sugary. It provides much needed calories and keeps your baby hydrated.
Then comes your hindmilk, which is higher in fat and contributes to your little one’s weight gain. Both foremilk and hindmilk are important for your baby.
Mothers also often ask how long their babies should nurse at each feeding. During the first days of life, your little one should nurse on demand – meaning as often as he wants, for as long as he wants.
This will help stimulate your milk production. Over the next few months, your child will begin to nurse at more regular intervals.
Should I stop breastfeeding if my breasts hurt?
It’s normal for mothers to experience pain and chapping of the breasts at first. In rare cases, your nipples may bleed, but this isn’t harmful for your baby (though she may spit it back up).
If your nipples bleed, it’s time to correct your baby’s suckling technique – seek the assistance of a specialist if needed.
During the first few days of your little one’s life, when your milk flow begins, you may experience painful swelling of the breasts.
Your breasts may also feel very warm. This is normal, and can be relieved with a warm shower and massaging of the breasts.
However, if the swelling and pain persist, or reappear at a later time, then you should check with your doctor to rule out mastitis.
Can I pump my breast milk and give it to my baby in a bottle?
During your baby’s first days of life, you should try to stay away from bottles and pacifiers.
Your newborn is still learning to suckle, and these accessories can cause confusion because of their shape and texture.
If you feel like your breasts are too full, the best thing you can do is allow your baby to nurse. If that’s not possible, then you can pump the excess milk and freeze it for a later date.
This will come in handy if you’re planning to go back to work soon.
What about nipple shields?
In the past, it was common for mothers with inverted or flat nipples to use nipple shields. However, this condition doesn’t limit a woman’s ability to nurse her baby in any way at all.
While suckling, the baby will find the way to get the nourishment she needs.
Is it possible to nurse with breast implants?
This is another one of the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding.
Breast augmentation surgeries don’t affect the mammary glands, which are the glands responsible for producing breast milk.
Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that breast implants have any effect on milk or milk production.
What diet should a breastfeeding mother follow?
The golden rule is that whatever is hard for the mother to digest will also create problems for the baby.
Some foods can produce gas in babies and, as a result, cause babies to be colicky. Therefore, it’s best to reduce the consumption of dairy, grains and refined flours.
Besides breast milk, should my baby also drink water?
Babies that nurse on demand get all the hydration they need through their mother’s breast milk. As a general rule, babies shouldn’t drink water until after the age of 6 months.
After that point, your child’s pediatrician will indicate when it’s okay to introduce water and other foods.