Whether this is your first or fifth baby, the idea of breastfeeding can seem daunting. With each baby, you may encounter new challenges or concerns that you haven't experienced before. To help you become better informed while nursing, here is a list of frequently asked questions.
How can I contact The Breastfeeding Center? +
Contact us at any time at 916-802-9647, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the cost of service? +
One way we believe we can help more women and keep the cost down is to have one home-like location that women can access whenever they need help.
Initial Visit: $85
Follow up Visits: $65
Should it hurt to breastfeed? +
No! Breastfeeding should never hurt. If you have pain, it is most likely a latch or position issue. You should wait until the baby’s mouth is open very wide, then bring the baby into you QUICKLY and very CLOSE. Then make sure the baby’s lips are flanged out while you both are tummy to tummy if using cradle hold. This should help with any pain you may be experiencing. If it does not, please call The Breastfeeding Center for further evaluation.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk? +
First, know that stools in breastfed babies are all “extra milk” that is not needed, but only once all the meconium has been passed. The best way to know if you baby is getting enough to eat is to count the number of poopy diapers in a 24-hour period. Your baby should have at least three to four stools per day after day one and six wet diapers per day by day four. Babies will be nursing a lot in the first three days of life to trigger milk to come in while still getting the fist valuable “milk” which is colostrum. As your breasts start to feel more full, your baby will start getting more volume of both breast milk and colostrum. When this happens (usually between day two to five), you should start to see more wet diapers, three to four poopy diapers, and stool changing color from dark green/black and sticky to lighter green/brown and less sticky, then finally to yellow/mustard color with little seedy looking parts. It will be VERY liquid in consistency.
I’m exclusively breastfeeding. How often do I need to feed my baby in 24 hours? +
You should expect to feed your baby at least eight times in 24 hours and that will continue until you start adding in solid foods around six months or later. At times, your baby will want to feed many more than eight times in a 24-hour period, especially during a growth spurt, but this is a good guide to begin with in feeding your baby.
How long should the baby nurse each time at breast? +
Most babies with a good latch can transfer colostrum and/or milk well in about 15-20 min. at the breast. If your baby seems to need to be at breast longer than this, you should pay attention to the number of wet and poopy diapers as described above. You may have a baby that likes to suck a lot and is therefore at your breast longer or more often. Other causes could be latch issues or “tongue tie,” both of which can create milk transfer issues. A tongue tie may or may not cause breast pain but will definitely cause a baby to take longer at the breast. Your baby may also be slower to gain or lose weight when there is a tongue tie.
What is a normal number of wet diapers and poopy diapers in 24 hours? +
Once milk has come in, you should see at least three to four or more stools per 24 hours that are yellow in color and very liquid in consistency. You should see six to eight wet diapers in 24 hours.
Should I stop nursing my older child to have enough for the new baby? +
No, you don’t have to stop nursing an older child. The great part about breasts is that the more they are stimulated, the more milk they can usually produce. So when you have an older child nursing, it just helps make more milk for the new baby right from the start.
Can I still nurse my toddler while I’m pregnant with another baby? +
Yes, you can, WITH the exception that if you have experienced pre-term labor before you will want to be cautious and discuss this with your healthcare provider.
Why does my baby want to eat more often at dinner time? +
Prolactin is the hormone that helps you make milk. It rises quickly in the first days following the birth of your baby. This hormone is what helps your milk to "come in." Prolactin levels have a typical 24-hour cycle. Prolactin peaks in the early morning hours around two to five a.m. The lowest Prolactin levels happen in the later afternoon to early evening about the time you are trying to get dinner going. Thus you have a hungry baby and less quality and quantity of milk in the early evening. It does require you to spend more time feeding at breast to help the baby get "full." Then during the night, your Prolactin levels come back up as does your quality and quantity of milk. Your baby usually can go slightly longer between feeds in the morning hours and then will begin to nurse more in the afternoon. This is a normal 24-hour cycle and repeats itself each and every day until you approach the six month mark when Prolactin levels are close to normal; however, you can continue to produce milk as long as your baby keeps coming to breast.
There are days that my breasts just don’t feel as full and my baby wants to eat all the time. Why? +
Your baby will have growth spurts. These happen frequently, but major ones happen about three weeks, six weeks, three months, and six months. After this, you usually start adding in solids to their diet so you may notice your baby eating more of those solids but may not be at breast any more often as they usually would in a growth spurt. But this is all very fluid as you start out offering solids. You may also notice that your baby will sleep for longer stretches just before they start to eat more/more often. This is because growth hormone is at its peak during the night. They sleep more when they grow and then suddenly wake up and realize they are really hungry. Thus, they spend more time at breast telling your body to make more milk. So, to get through this time more quickly, it helps if you just sit down and nurse, nurse and nurse. Once your breasts start to feel more full again (generally 24-48 hours), the frequency that your baby will need to be at breast will go back into a more normal pattern.
When should I start pumping in preparation for going back to work? +
If you have breastfed before, it is okay to start pumping one side while the baby nurses the other side after about two weeks. If you have not breastfed before, then it would be best to wait until your baby is about three weeks old, then start to pump in the morning on one breast while you feed your baby on the other side. This generally helps your let down to happen and gets more milk for you to store. Remember: you are always making more milk as long as you are emptying your breasts. So pumping the first one to two feeds in the a.m. will not take away from your baby, but only make enough for you to gradually build up your freezer stores of milk. There are some women that just make more milk. They can easily pump three to eight ounces at a time. Everyone is different and that is okay.
When should I start to introduce a bottle or another form of feeding so my baby will be willing to take breast milk from someone other than me? +
You would be safe to start having someone else offer a bottle after about three weeks. Your baby is very smart and won’t have "nipple confusion." They aren’t confused; they know how to eat. They come neurologically wired to eat with a reflex called "suck;" however, what they may have is a preference for what form delivers their milk. Most of the time, they like mom best, so don’t worry. If you have a baby that really only likes mom and will just cry and cry when offered a bottle, consider offering their first bottle around three weeks, and if that doesn’t seem to work well, then think outside the box – try a spoon, syringe, or sippy cup. Be patient and try not to worry!
Sometimes my breasts hurt or have a pins/needles feeling shortly after I start nursing. Why? +
If you are a first time breastfeeder and are experiencing pain and cracked or bleeding nipples, then seek help quickly. Don’t suffer alone and risk a possible mastitis; get help from a qualified lactation expert. If you have breastfed before and have pain with breastfeeding, it could be yeast on your nipples, a bacterial infection, or simply your “let down” happening. Some women don’t like the feeling and find it painful when the milk ejection reflex occurs during feeding. It will likely be less noticeable as you nurse over the course of time, so stick with it. You may have several “let downs” during a single feeding time.
Image:Van Do Photography