Your breastfeeding questions answered
Breastfeeding is a very natural way to feed your baby, but it’s not always easy. Catie Weien, RN, answered common questions many moms have about breastfeeding a newborn.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough breastmilk?
Keeping track of how often your baby eats and the amount of wet and dirty diapers will help you know if your baby is getting enough to eat while breastfeeding. Keeping a log for the first few weeks usually helps with tracking.
When should I introduce a bottle or pacifier when breastfeeding?
It is best to wait to introduce bottles and pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established. We recommend waiting until your baby is approximately one month old.
How often should I feed my baby when starting out breastfeeding?
We suggest that you breastfeed your baby as soon as possible after delivery and continue offering whenever your baby shows feedings cues. This is called on demand feeding. Typically, it is recommended that babies feed at least 8–12 times in 24 hours for the first few weeks. It’s an amazing thing that your body produces the amount of milk your infant needs – and that milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of your baby based on what they are telling your body they need through feedings. Your milk supply is based on supply and demand.
Will my breastmilk be enough to satisfy my baby?
In most circumstances, your baby will not need anything other than your breastmilk. However, in some cases it is medically necessary, and your pediatrician may recommend supplementing with donor breastmilk or a milk substitute. It is important to talk to your pediatrician and lactation consultant about your feeding strategy if this is recommended in order to protect your milk supply.
What if my baby wants to constantly breastfeed?
Early, frequent feeding helps your body establish your milk supply. Newborns may also cluster feed, which means they want to nurse frequently. This is expected until your milk supply is established to meet your baby’s needs.
How should I care for my breast while breastfeeding?
While nipple tenderness is normal, breastfeeding should be comfortable and not painful for you. Call a lactation consultant if pain is present. Some tips for caring for your breast include:
- Clean your breasts by letting water run over them in the shower. Do not use lotion on your breasts.
- Lanolin cream or coconut oil may be used on sore nipples. Hydrogel pads may also help nipples heal.
- Allow your breasts to be exposed to the air whenever possible.
- Use specially designed breast pads or a large handkerchief in your bra to prevent leakage through to your clothes.
What should I do if I experience engorgement?
Frequent feeding is the best way to avoid engorgement. An engorged breast will tighten the nipple, making it difficult for your baby to get enough of the nipple in the mouth. If the nipple is very tight, expressing milk by hand for a few minutes before breastfeeding will soften your nipple. Applying warm compresses to the breast before feeding will also soften the nipple. Cold packs after and in-between feedings may also be helpful for pain relief.
Remember, lactation consultants can help you through each step of your breastfeeding journey should you have questions, concerns or just need some additional help.
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