As time goes on, I’ll definitely work on updating this section. For now, these are the most frequently asked questions or discussed topics about lactation related things.
How do I know if the baby is getting enough?
This is the NUMBER ONE QUESTION in the hospital. One of the best ways to tell if your baby is receiving an adequate amount of breastmilk is based on your baby’s diaper counts. So ask yourself, “is my baby peeing and pooping the recommended amount?” If you answer “yes” to that question, then your baby is doing well and so are you. If your answer is no, there are other factors related to mom, baby, or both to evaluate.
I think this article from La Leche League does a good job discussing this topic.
How long should I breastfeed?
The answer to this question is totally and completely up to you! I personally never recommend any specific time frame due to the differences in each individual’s life. I will say that the World Health Organization recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Then introducing solids with continued breastfeeding for 2 years or longer.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding. Then introducing solids with continued breastfeeding for 1 year or longer.
Factors such as maternity/paternity leave, familial obligations/demands, and lack of support can come into play when determining your breastfeeding journey. No matter what you decide, set short term and long term goals and be proud of your journey regardless.
Should breastfeeding hurt?
Yes and no. You might feel moments of tenderness, soreness, and slight awkwardness. Those feelings are very common, especially when breastfeeding for the first time. Should you feel toe-curling pain that you are unable to talk through? NO! If you’re feeling severe pain, accompanied with cracked and bleeding nipples, then reaching out to a local IBCLC for additional assistance.
What foods should I avoid?
Don’t avoid any foods unless you can make a correlation to a negative reaction with your baby. Basically, eat like you were before pregnancy and only avoid foods if you have to! Yes, even dairy and the “gassy” foods. Try them first. Every feeding experience is different- what didn’t work for others might work perfectly for you.
Resources for breastfeeding and nutrition:
– The Best (and Worst) Foods for Breastfeeding
Can I attempt a “diet” and breastfeed?
This would be something to discuss with your OB and/or a Registered Dietician. I will say that while you’re breastfeeding, you will need to increase your calories. Your body will be using a lot of energy to make milk. Therefore, you will be burning a lot of calories.
Resources for breastfeeding and dieting:
– Kelly Mom: Can I diet while breastfeeding?
Can I drink alcohol and breastfeeding?
Yes! Obviously you shouldn’t get wasted and attempt to breastfeed but you can still have a glass of wine or two. I’m attaching a great, thorough resource that has a lot of information regarding this topic. The main takeaways are: pumping and dumping is dated advice and your sobriety levels affect feedings more than anything. We’ve learned that pumping and dumping does not make the alcohol leave your system any faster! A common saying is “if you’re sober enough to drive, you’re sober enough to breastfeed”.
Resources for breastfeeding and drinking alcohol:
– Kelly Mom: Breastfeeding and alcohol
When should I start pumping?
This is a very common question that several mothers ask me almost immediately after the baby is born. Here’s the thing, this answer is going to be different for everyone. This post discusses pumping after delivery and when you’d need to do it in the immediate postpartum period. Dependent on when you’re going back to work (or not) will also determine when you should start pumping. I hate to not give an answer to this question but I will say a lot of factors are dependent on when you should start pumping. You can email me for a cup of coffee and a few questions and we can figure out what works best for you!