1. Does breastfeeding hurt?
Some soreness is normal as your breasts and nipples become accustomed to breastfeeding, but once you and your baby get used to breastfeeding, you’ll probably be able to sleep through it. If you have lasting pain, redness, and/or bleeding nipples it’s not normal and you should talk to your doctor.
2. How do I know if my baby is latched on correctly?
You and the baby should be belly to belly, and it’s important to make sure the baby’s mouth is wide open. Their nose and mouth should be touching your breast with the baby in a “sniffing position.”
Make sure the baby isn’t making an audible clicking noise with their mouth, as this means they aren’t properly latched. If you hear this, take the baby off and try again. Remember to support the baby’s back and neck while they are feeding.
3. How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Your body usually produces what your baby needs, but not always. If you are concerned that your baby isn’t getting enough to eat, watch how many times you change their diaper. A healthy baby will have between 6-8 wet diapers, and 3-4 bowel movements in a 24-hour period.
4. If I have small breasts, can I produce enough milk?
Breast size has nothing to do with milk production. Changes in the breast tissue allow the breasts to produce milk. However, breast implants or reduction surgery may cause issues.
5. Why don’t I have any milk after my baby is born?
You DO! The breast milk produced right after your baby is born is called colostrum, sometimes referred to as “liquid gold.” It is thick, yellowish, and sticky, and is extremely valuable to your newborn thanks to its concentrated nutrients.
A baby’s first meals are low in fat, and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to help keep them healthy. The colostrum is easily digestible and has a laxative effect on the baby. It also coats the baby’s stomach, helping to “seal” the permeable surfaces.
Your regular milk supply comes in 3-4 days postpartum and is more opaque, whiter, and thinner than the milk you produce in the first few days. Breast milk varies in amount and consistency according to your baby’s needs.
6. What warning signs should I watch for while breastfeeding?
Many new moms have concerns about breastfeeding in the beginning. You should check with your provider if you experience any of the following:
- Severe pain, fever, redness, or bleeding nipples
- Baby is not having sufficient wet diapers or soiled diapers
Also make sure to check with your provider about any medications you take while breastfeeding to make sure it’s safe for your baby. Remember, whatever you eat or drink is transferred to your baby through breast milk.
7. Breastfeeding in Public
Some legislative groups around the country have passed laws prohibiting mothers from breastfeeding in public. Your OBGYN may know the specifics of these laws in your area, but it’s always a good idea to check in with your local representative to see what’s on the books.
In the workplace, new moms are often allowed to use a private office or break room to pump or breast feed, and the law requires reasonable breaks.
8. Where do I go for help?
Breastfeeding can present a number of different challenges and questions. Here are a few additional resources that may help:
- Talk to your midwife or a certified lactation educator
- Ask for help in the hospital after your baby is born. Nurses or lactation specialists will be able to help you with your questions
- Contact your local La Leche League