Benefits of Breastfeeding: 17 Common Questions About Breastfeeding
September 13, 2018
Many new and expecting moms have a lot of questions about breastfeeding. We’ve compiled a list of some common questions that you may have if you’re preparing for your baby’s arrival.
Should I take a breastfeeding class?
Some women find it helpful to learn about breastfeeding before having their baby. Classes can help you become more comfortable with the process and meet other soon-to-be moms going through similar experiences.
Do I need to buy anything for breastfeeding?
You should plan ahead and purchase items you may need for breastfeeding, which can include a nursing pillow, nursing bra and covers. Women’s Care also offers breastfeeding supplies for purchase to all of our new moms. You can contact our lactation specialist for more information.
How should I hold my baby while breastfeeding?
There are a number of ways you can hold your baby while they nurse. Here are some of the common positions:
- Side-lying: while lying down, place your baby alongside you with them facing you.
- Football: tuck your baby under your arm with their head resting in your hand.
- Cross-cradle: hold your baby with the opposite arm of the breast you are using.
No matter what position you use, do not fall asleep while nursing, as this can be dangerous for your baby and increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
How do I know if my baby is latched on?
When your baby is “latched on” both lips should pout out and cover nearly all of your areola and their jaw should begin to move back and forth as they begin sucking. Your baby may also make low-pitched swallowing noises. If you feel pain while your baby is nursing, they may not be latched on the right way.
Can my baby breathe while breastfeeding?
Your baby should be able to breathe through their nose while nursing. It is common for a baby’s nose to touch the breast while nursing. If you are concerned that your baby can’t breathe easily, gently press down on your breast near your baby’s nose to give them room to breathe.
How often should I feed my baby?
You should feed your baby as often as they want to be fed. It’s important to learn how to tell when they’re hungry. Crying is a late feeding cue and babies who are crying or upset have a harder time latching on. Some common signs your baby is hungry include making sucking motions, they turn toward the breast if they are being held, they put their hands in their mouth or they become excited or alert.
By one to two months of age, your baby will probably nurse eight to 10 times a day. Before your milk supply is established, breastfeeding should be “on demand” (when your baby is hungry), which is generally every one and a half to three hours. As newborns get older, they’ll nurse less often, and may develop a more reliable schedule.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Your baby is most likely getting enough milk if they act satisfied after each feeding and gains weight consistently after the first three to seven days after birth. They should also have about six to eight wet diapers a day and about four to six stools larger than a quarter per day.
How can I increase my milk supply?
If you think your baby needs more milk, increase the number of feedings per day. Make sure you are getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet so your body can keep up with your baby’s appetite.
What should I do if my nipples get sore?
It’s easier to prevent sore nipples than it is to treat them. The main cause of sore nipples is when your baby doesn’t latch on properly. When this happens, it’s best to take them off your breast by releasing the suction by putting your finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth between the gums. You can then switch breasts and try to breastfeed again.
Does breastfeeding make my baby healthier?
Yes, breast milk contains antibodies that can help support your baby’s immune system. The bacteria shared between you and your baby also helps strengthen your baby’s immune system. Research also shows that breastfed babies have a lower risk for Asthma, Type 2 diabetes, obesity (during childhood) and Leukemia (during childhood).
Can breastfeeding lower the risk of SIDS?
Yes, studies have shown that breastfeeding your baby can reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by about half.
Can I have caffeine while pregnant?
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends no more than three cups of coffee, tea, caffeinated sodas, etc. a day. Caffeine is a stimulant and should be used in moderation when it comes to breastfeeding.
Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
It’s best not to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. The same amount of alcohol that makes it into your bloodstream makes it into your breast milk and can have negative effects on your baby’s development.
Can I take medicine while breastfeeding?
Generally, it’s safe to take over-the-counter medicines while you’re breastfeeding. There are very few drugs that shouldn’t be taken by a nursing mother, but if you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.
Don’t be afraid to ask
These questions and many others are common concerns new and soon-to-be moms have about making sure they are taking care of their baby. If you have a question, make sure to talk to your doctor so that you are informed and don’t have to worry.