FAQ

What are some good websites where I can find reliable information about breastfeeding?

-The CDC website, breastfeeding.com, womenshealth.gov, and of course, the official site for the Utah breastfeeding coalition.  All of these can give you very good information about anything that you want to know regarding breastfeeding, and also help you to connect with people and lactation consultants that can help to answer your questions if you would rather talk to somebody in person.

 

What is a lactation consultant?  What is it that they do?

-An International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding.  These people are recognized experts in the field of lactation and breastfeeding and can work at hospitals or other women’s clinics, as well as being self employed to offer their services.  It is usually pretty easy to get in contact with one in your area, and they can answer any questions and get you prepared for breastfeeding.  They can also help in the very first day of breastfeeding at the hospital to help make it easier and teach you how to do it.

 

How often should I breastfeed?

Your newborn should be nursing eight to 12 times per day for about the first month. If you feel like you’re feeding your little one more often than someone you know whose baby is formula fed, you may be.Why? Because breast milk digests easier than formula, which means it moves through your baby’s digestive system faster and, therefore, makes your baby hungry more often.  Frequent feedings also will help stimulate your milk production during the first few weeks. By 1 to 2 months of age, a breastfed baby will probably nurse seven to nine times a day.  Before your milk supply is established, breastfeeding should be “on demand” (when your baby is hungry), which is generally every 1½ to 3 hours. As newborns get older, they’ll need to nurse less frequently, and may develop a more reliable schedule. Some may feed every hour and a half, whereas others may go 2 or 3 hours between feedings. Newborns should not go more than about 4 hours without feeding, even overnight.

 

Are feeding intervals counted from the time my baby starts or stops nursing?

You count the length between feedings from the time when your baby begins to nurse — rather than when he or she ends — to when your little one starts nursing again. In other words, when your doctor asks how often your baby is feeding, you can say “about every 2 hours” if your first feeding started at 6 a.m. and the next feeding was at around 8 a.m., then 10 a.m., and so on.  This means that, especially at first, you may feel like you’re nursing around the clock, which is completely normal. Soon enough, you’ll both be on a more routine, predictable schedule.

 

How long does it take to nurse?

That depends on both you and your baby and many other factors, such as whether:

  • your milk supply has come in completely
  • your let-down (or milk ejection reflex) is immediate or takes a few minutes into the feeding to start
  • your milk flow is slow or fast
  • you’re positioning your baby correctly on your breast
  • your baby tends to get right down to business or dawdles a bit
  • your baby is sleepy or easily distracted (which can be the case in older babies, especially)

How long babies nurse also depends on their age. As babies get older, they become more efficient, so they may take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes on each side, as compared to when they were newborns and fed for up to 20 minutes on each side.

 

How can I tell if my baby is eating enough?

New mothers, especially breastfeeding moms, are often concerned that their infants may not be getting enough to eat. You can be assured that your baby is getting enough to eat if he or she:

  • seems satisfied and content after eating
  • produces about four to six wet diapers a day
  • has regular bowel movements
  • sleeps well
  • is alert when awake
  • is gaining weight

Your baby may not be getting enough to eat if he or she:

  • does not appear to be satisfied after feeding
  • seems hungry often
  • isn’t making several wet and stool diapers a day
  • is fussy or cries a lot
  • isn’t gaining weight

 

Are bottles or pacifiers okay?

If you’re committed to trying to exclusively breastfeed, you don’t want your baby to suck on a pacifier or a bottle. In the beginning, it’s important to allow your baby to practice breastfeeding without being confused by a bottle or a pacifier. Some experts feel that if you start giving bottles too early — before your baby is used to breastfeeding — your little one might have “nipple confusion” and may decide that the bottle is the quicker, better option than the breast. While some babies experience this confusion, others have no problem transitioning between a bottle and the breast.If a pacifier is occasionally needed in the nursery (such as during a circumcision, when baby boys are often given pacifiers with sugar water), it won’t disrupt your nursing. If the doctor tells you the baby needs a little supplementation with formula, it can be given with a bottle or through a nursing system in which the formula goes through a small tube that attaches to your nipple.

 

How can I tell if my baby is hungry?

Despite what some new moms might think, crying is a late sign of hunger. You should try to nurse before your baby is so hungry that he or she gets really upset and becomes difficult to calm down.

Signs that babies are hungry include:

  • moving their heads from side to side
  • opening their mouths
  • placing their hands and fists to their mouths
  • puckering their lips as if to suck
  • nuzzling again their mothers’ breasts
  • stretching
  • showing the rooting reflex (when a baby moves its mouth in the direction of something that’s stroking or touching its cheek)

 

How can I tell if my baby is latched on wrong?

If your baby tends to suck on the tip of your nipple, without getting much of your areola, he or she is latched on incorrectly. Babies who tend to latch on wrong will also frequently sleep at the breast and may not seem satisfied because they may not be getting enough. If either of these occurs, break the suction and reposition your baby onto your breast to include the nipple andareola.

Call your doctor or a lactation consultant if:

  • you’re unable to nurse your baby without pain (you may just need help getting your baby to latch on correctly, or it could be a sign of a breast infection)
  • your baby consistently sleeps at the breast
  • your baby is nursing but doesn’t seem satisfied when feedings are over

 

What can I do if I’m having a hard time breastfeeding?

This is completely normal. Whereas nursing may come easily for some women, it can take some adjustment and practice time for many others. Breastfeeding your baby may be one of the most challenging but rewarding things you’ll do as a mother.  While you’re in the hospital, don’t hesitate to use the expertise of the nursing staff and your OB-GYN. They can be very helpful in answering any questions you might have, as well as walking you through the dos and don’ts of breastfeeding. The nurses can even watch and coach you as you try to breastfeed your baby. The hospital also may have a lactation consultant on staff who may be able to offer some guidance and reassurance.  Doctors usually want to weigh infants and evaluate breastfeeding within 48 to 72 hours after a mother and newborn leave the hospital. But if you have any concerns or difficulties before then, make sure to talk to your doctor.

Whatever you do, try not to become too discouraged. With a little patience and some practice, it will likely become easier for both you and your baby in the coming weeks. Like the old saying goes, practice makes perfect!







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