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Exclusive Breastfeeding: Common Maternal Concerns

Exclusive Breastfeeding: Common Maternal Concerns

By Kayleen Lowe

Jan 27, 2015

Updated Nov 17, 2023

5 min read

Pregnant Couple

New mothers have many concerns once their babies are born.  Listed below are some of the key concerns, what to keep in mind, and what you can do to exclusively breastfeed.






My Baby doesn’t know how to breast feed or doesn’t want to breastfeed. (

Full-term, healthy babies are born with the natural instincts to breastfeed.  Plus, they are recovering from the birth process and adapting to their new environment.  It is not uncommon for them to be sleepy in the first 24 hours.


Skin to skin, watch for feeding cues and try to feed when you recognize them.   If needed, you may need to either do manual expression or pump to provide stimulation to the breast and to give these small amounts of colostrum to your baby via an alternative method.  Ask if a Lactation Consultant is on staff for assistance.

 I don’t have enough milk for my baby. (this is probably the biggest concern that most lactation consultants address)


For the first couple of days your baby’s stomach is very small, about the size of a shooter marble.  However, what is even more important to remember is that you have the perfect volume of milk for your baby each day.  Your milk volume normally increases in two to five days. 

Breastfeed on demand-at least 8-12 times in 24 hours.  Duration:  10-20 minutes is generally adequate.  Monitor wet diapers and messy diapers and get your baby’s weight checked by your baby’s doctor.  This will assure you that all is well. 


 I’m just too tired to breastfeed right now.


It is hard to get used to feeding a baby as often as he or she may need to eat, especially if you have been in labor for a long time.  But it will get easier. (2)


Limit visitors the first couple of days so that you can sleep when the baby sleeps.  Be sure to feed the baby first so that both of you can rest.    

Have grandma or daddy hold the baby while you take a nap if needed.

At home, let others help with household duties so you can work on breastfeeding and rest.   

“My baby is crying so he/she must be hungry”. (1)


Crying can mean so many things other than hunger.

Your baby may be telling you that

He is uncomfortable, He is in pain,

That all the noise in the room is over stimulating him, Or simply that he just wants you to pick him up and hold him. 

It can be frustrating trying to figure it all out but in a couple of weeks you will be able to read his cues and meet your baby’s needs.

I’ve got to go back to work in a couple of months so I want him to get used to taking a bottle now.   

Remember colostrum in the first few days/weeks is the only food your baby needs.  “Getting just this colostrum makes it easier for your baby to digest formula later on, if you need to use it”.(3) 

Feed on demand in the early days.  Wait to offer bottles or pacifiers for 4 weeks unless medically indicated. 


  1. Raylene Phillips, MD, IBCLC, FABM, FAAP, Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, taken from lecture titled:  “Supporting Exclusive Breastfeeding in the Early Postpartum Period”, at the Intermountain Healthcare Women and Childs Conference in September, 2014.
  2. Evergreen Perinatal Education:  “One-Liners” Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding.  Clinical Scripts.  
  3. Paula Meir Webinar: “What is the Evidence for the Joint Commission Core Perinatal Measure on Exclusive Breastfeeding During the Maternity Hospitalization?”