breastfeeding questions and answers

100+ Common Breastfeeding Questions And Answers For Every New Mom

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Got breastfeeding questions? As a mom of two children (breastfed for over a year each) and certified breastfeeding counselor, I’ve got answers!

In this ultimate list of over 100 common breastfeeding questions and answers, you’ll find knowledge to empower your own journey plus support connecting for more. From production and pumping to health impacts, lifestyle factors and so much more, consider this your go-to guide. 

Whatever curiosity, concern, or celebration comes up along the winding road of feeding your baby, let this resource assure you – you’ve so got this!

Questions about breast milk production and quality

1. Is it okay if I only see a little colostrum at first?

It’s normal to only produce small amounts of colostrum (about a tablespoonful) in the first few days after birth. Colostrum is nutrient-dense and comes in tiny doses to match your newborn’s tiny tummy. Within 3-5 days, mature milk will start flowing abundantly. As long as your baby is nursing actively and often, your body knows exactly how much colostrum to make. No need to worry unless your baby seems excessively sleepy, fussy, or is not peeing much.

2. How can I tell if my breast is empty?

After a feeding, your breast should feel softer, lighter, and emptier overall. It may still feel lumpy in places if some milk remains, but major fullness and hardness will subside when emptied. Watch baby’s sucking patterns too – longer draws with swallowing mean there is milk flowing. Quick tiny fluttery sucks without swallows usually signal the end.

3. How can I make my breast milk richer?

No need to – your body perfectly calibrates the nutrients in your milk to your baby’s age and needs. As long as you have a balanced varied diet, vitamins/minerals like protein, fat, carbs, vitamins A, B, C, D etc are blended beautifully in your milk from day 1. Drink to thirst and focus on nourishment for you rather than changing your milk. You can take steps to make your breast milk fattier though with dietary tweaks and lifestyle enhancements.

4. How can I increase milk supply?

You can boost your milk supply by nursing actively and often – this signals your body to produce more ounces. Stay hydrated with water/herbal teas, and eat nourishing foods like oats, leafy greens, eggs, and berries. Get rest, relaxation, and skin-to-skin time. Limit caffeine, restrictive diets, and stress. If needed beyond that, lactation supplements (like Liquid Gold by Legendairy Milk) can provide an extra boost. Some moms find using a breast pump beneficial.

5. How long can I keep pumped milk in the fridge or freezer?

In the refrigerator: 3-5 days is optimal, no more than 8. Smaller quantities like a bottle-full can last this long. Larger volumes like from pumping may spoil faster.  In the freezer: 6 months in the back of freezer, 3-6 in fridge’s freezer box. Store 2-4 oz portions in milk storage bags.

6. What’s the best way to store breast milk?

The best containers for storing breast milk are BPA-free plastic bottles or bags designed specially for pumping and freezing. Make sure to label containers with the date expressed and quantity before refrigerating or freezing. Leave an inch of empty space in bottles/bags for milk to expand as it freezes without rupturing the bag or popping off lids. 

7. How much milk can one breast hold?

Each breast can hold an average of 4-6 oz when full. However breast storage capacity varies widely – some produce smaller volumes of 2-3 oz per breast, while others can hold 8 oz or more at a time. Don’t worry about measuring exact amounts – nurse on cue and let your body make what your baby needs. 

8. Can I turn breast milk into powder at home?

Yes! But it will take a bit of prep work to turn expressed breast milk into powdered form at home, and it can be challenging to keep everything sterilized. You will need a dehydrator, grinder, and storage containers. Freeze the milk, dehydrate it, then grind it. You may prefer the easier option of freezing breast milk in liquid form for storage instead. Or choose a professional company like It’s My Leche to take care of all the fiddly stuff for you!

9. Is it normal for my breast milk to change colors?

Yes! The cream color of breast milk can vary from bluish-white to golden yellow. Occasionally it may appear reddish or brownish. As long as there is no foul smell, the color variation is very normal and nothing to worry about. It has to do with your diet, metabolism, stage of lactation, and ratio of milk components.

10. Why shouldn’t I shake breast milk? 

Vigorous shaking causes the components in breast milk to unlink from their natural emulsion state. This can degrade some immunological properties. Gently swirl or swish stored milk instead, to redistribute any separated cream before feeding without damaging protective qualities. 

11. How should I organize my frozen breast milk?  

Date and label every sample of expressed milk before freezing. Use the oldest samples first when feeding to avoid waste. I suggest organizing with the newest milk in the back, and oldest milk up front. You can stack milk bags flat like file folders in a stand-up freezer organizer. Have a system to use up one full month’s stash before dipping into the next oldest batch.

Questions about breastfeeding techniques and challenges

1. Is it normal for breastfeeding to hurt a bit?

It’s very common to have some mild discomfort at the beginning while you and your baby are learning. However, intense or lingering breast/nipple pain beyond the first week is often a red flag for positioning issues or poor latch. Small tweaks to hold or angle can make a big difference in comfort. Don’t hesitate to ask your care provider for an assessment if you find breastfeeding painful

2. What should I do if breastfeeding makes my nipples sore?

First rule out latch problems. Then begin each feeding with softened nipples, either expressing some milk or running warm water over them to prevent friction. Keep nipples air-dried or soothed with healing creams between feeds. Use ultra-thin nursing pads inside nursing bras, to minimize rubbing. If it persists beyond 2 weeks or you see cracking/bleeding, seek help from a lactation consultant.

3. What are some comfortable breastfeeding positions? 

breastfeeding positions
Breastfeeding Positions

The laid-back or biological nurturing position lets mom recline back at an incline while your baby “hangs out” chest-to-chest. The cradle hold across the torso is also cozy and secure. Experiment to find which holds keep the most weight and pressure off sensitive areas. Don’t hesitate to use lots of pillows propping your elbow/back for extra comfort!

4. How can I make sure my baby latches on right?

The deep latch we aim for starts with a big, wide open mouth over the areola. Tip baby’s head gently back bringing their tongue and chin to breast first, then pull in close tummy to tummy once latched for maximum nipple and milk intake. Listen for steady rhythmic audible swallowing, watch the jaw movement, and make sure more areola is visible above rather than the nipple being tugged on.

5. What’s a good amount of time for each breastfeeding session?  

Newborns often nurse slowly and languidly for long stretches, occasionally pausing but staying latched for an hour at a time! As your baby gets more efficient at removing milk, 10-30 minutes per breast is typical. Follow their lead – let them stay comfortably sucking or unlatch when done rather than timing rigidly. 

6. What if my baby likes one breast more than the other?

It’s common for babies to seemingly prefer one side, especially in the early weeks as they get acquainted with latching and feeding. Try to start all feedings on the less-favored side to ensure it gets adequate stimulation and drainage. Switch sides a few times each session too. If you notice supply dipping unevenly over time, pump extra on the slacking side. But some asymmetry is normal.

7. What’s the deal with cluster feeding?

Cluster feeding is when a baby wants to nurse intensely for prolonged periods, sometimes hourly or nearly nonstop for many hours at a time. It signals growth spurts and increases your supply. The frequent powerful suction ramps production up for the coming demand. While utterly exhausting for mom, remember it’s temporary and means your body is responding exactly as nature intended!

8. Is it ever too late to start breastfeeding?

It’s truly never too late to begin giving your baby breastmilk, especially in the early months. Relactation is restarting milk production after it has fully ceased. While restarting the supply gets harder after more weeks pass, even introducing partial nursing/pumping after months can provide antibodies, skin contact, and feed bonding. Talk to an IBCLC about inducing lactation if desired.

9. Can I breastfeed if I have flat or inverted nipples?

Yes, with some patience and technique adjustments! Using your fingers, draw nipples outward to evert them just as your baby latches so they grab enough breast tissue. Pumping briefly before nursing sessions can also help elongate flat/inverted nipples enough for proper feeding. Seek help from lactation pros to troubleshoot any pain or poor transfers.

10. How do I massage out breast lumps?

Apply gentle but firm pressure in a circular outward motion from the clogged area in the breast towards the nipple. Use this massage while nursing or pumping to help loosen thickened milk deposits obstructing a duct so they can drain more easily. A warm compress beforehand softens the area further. Repeat every 2-3 hours if the lumpiness persists until it clears.

11. What are ‘elastic nipples’ in breastfeeding?

An elastic or stretchy nipple elongates while your baby sucks then springs back when released. This makes it harder for your baby to keep latched causing shallow painful feeds and possible damage. Use hand expression or a pump briefly first to draw nipples out. Holding breast tissue tightly inward toward the chest wall during feeds can also improve your baby’s grip.

12. Can I breastfeed if my baby has laryngomalacia?

Laryngomalacia diagram showing the vocal folds. Image credit: Cleveland Clinic.

Yes! Babies with laryngomalacia have a soft floppy larynx causing noisy breathing. Since they are still able to feed and swallow this condition alone does not impede breastfeeding. But the increased work required by the baby and probable spillage of milk may mean you feed more frequently. Focus on ensuring a broad latch, comfortable hold accommodating any oxygen tubing, and pacing feeds if gagging due to reflux comes into play.

13. Can I breastfeed if my baby has a tongue-tie?

Yes, tongue-tie does not prevent breastfeeding, but it can contribute to painful shallow latch and difficulty transferring milk efficiently. Signs to watch for include nipple damage, poor weight gain, excessive fussiness, or short feeds. If severing the restrictive tissue via frenotomy procedure, your baby may immediately latch deeper. In other cases building patience with proper positioning/latch is key while skills develop.

14. What’s the difference between being engorged and having mastitis?

Breast engorgement refers to milk backing up causing temporary swelling, hardness, and discomfort. It may last 12-48 hours until milk ejects fully. Mastitis is inflammation of breast tissue plus infection, causing redness, heat, and flu-like systemic illness along with breast tenderness. It requires urgent medical treatment, typically antibiotics.

15. Can I breastfeed twins or triplets?

Yes! Mothers can fully nourish two or even three babies at once with the incredible capacity of the lactating breast. Early skin-to-skin and allowing babies unlimited access to feed on cue signals high production levels to meet the demand. Be sure to line up support systems, optimize pumping routines if supplementing, and nourish yourself extra well.

16. What is the ‘3-Month Breastfeeding Crisis’?

Often right around 12 weeks, babies pass through a major developmental leap in needs and ability. Feeding frequency seems to plummet while distractibility and impatience nursing skyrockets. Rest assured this spurt will self-resolve and your mature supply is robust enough to withstand temporary dips. Ride out this storm by staying anchored to responsive feeding cues.

17. Can I breastfeed after having a C-section?

Absolutely! Recovery positioning may be trickier but skin-to-skin in the first 24 hours OR if possible, then early nursing initiation helps wiring for successful exclusive feeding. Rooming-in eases round-the-clock access. Avoid tucking blankets between the incision site and your baby. Focus on lots of rest, postpartum pain management, and lining up help at home.

18. What can I do with extra breast milk?

Fortunately, several options exist for making use of your liquid gold! Local milk banks often accept donations after screening for babies in need. Many moms do direct peer-to-peer milk-sharing as well. You can try using excess milk for alternative purposes like smoothies, soap-making, jewelry, etc. But first focus on meeting your own baby’s needs now and storing future supply.

19. Why is responding to my baby’s hunger cues important?

Tuning in to early signals for readiness to feed rather than strict schedules prevents escalation to frantic crying. This helps your baby stay regulated and responsive, enhances milk production rhythms, and even establishes trust. Watch for stirring, hand-mouth gestures, lip-smacking, and murmurs right as they transition lightly between sleep cycles announcing the time to nurse.

20. How can I prepare for breastfeeding while pregnant?

Read up on positioning basics and normal newborn behavior before birth. Connect with breastfeeding role models, mentors, or support groups ahead of time. Make sure to tour hospital/birth facilities and discuss your wishes to breastfeed immediately after delivery. Voice any preferences around birth interventions that could impact early nursing. Then focus on nourishing yourself well during pregnancy as your breasts start making colostrum!

21. Should I wake my sleeping baby to breastfeed? How do I keep them awake during the feed?

enhancing baby development stimulation

It’s generally recommended to allow a sleeping newborn to continue resting instead of waking them deliberately. However, you can try gently rousing them when they show early subtle hunger cues like stirring, mouth movements, cooing, etc. This prevents escalation to frantic crying which derails feeding.

As for keeping them awake and actively nursing once latched:

  • Tickle feet/hands

  • Keep the environment bright/lively

  • Change diapers mid-feed

  • Gently stroke cheek

  • Switch nursing position

  • Lightly massage and compress the breast to keep milk flowing strong

  • Burp frequently if tending to fall asleep after let-down

The key is not allowing them to pacify nibble, but stimulating them to keep sucking strongly and rhythmically. Persist with these tricks for at least 10-15 mins per breast before ending feed. But ultimately your baby sets the pace – let them determine when satisfied. Just help guide them there without dozing through the entire session!

22. Why is lactation support valuable?

Especially for first-time moms, having access to skilled lactation consultants, community resources like La Leche League, and training programs builds confidence in mastering techniques when challenges inevitably arise. Most infants struggle at first with issues like improper latch causing painful feeding. But personalized guidance tweaking positioning gets everyone thriving on that liquid gold in no time!

Questions about breastfeeding and health

1. Are there times when I shouldn’t breastfeed?

There are very few situations where continued breastfeeding is contraindicated, including harmful illegal drug use, or medications like chemotherapy agents incompatible with lactation. Untreated active tuberculosis may warrant temporary separation as well. Talk to your provider about any concerns, as most maternal illnesses are compatible with continued nursing.

2. What should I do with my milk if I get sick?

If you have a typical cold, flu, or virus, keep breastfeeding as usual – your antibodies actually fight infection in real time! More serious illnesses may warrant temporarily pumping and discarding milk to avoid exposing your baby – speak to your doctor. Store your milk while ill rather than donating it. With some medication, such as antiretroviral medications, breastfeeding may be contra-indicated.

3. Are there times when breastfeeding might not be the best choice?

If breastfeeding is causing severe distress mentally or emotionally, it may be worth weighing risks vs benefits with your provider. Unresolved pain or physical complications interfering with nurturing bonding may also tip the scales toward stopping. In extremely rare situations like breast cancer requiring urgent treatment incompatible with lactation, weaning is advised.

4. What skincare products are no-nos while breastfeeding?

Avoid skin creams with retinol/Retin-A, salicylic/beta hydroxy acids, tea tree/eucalyptus oils, and chemical sunscreen actives near the breast/chest area. These can transfer into milk. Opt for gentle plant oils instead. Nipple butters containing lanolin or soothing aloe vera are breastfeeding-safe and healing. Check EWG Skin Deep ratings for product ingredients whenever possible while nursing.

5. Are protein shakes okay while breastfeeding?

Yes, protein powders and supplements designed to be used while breastfeeding are fine within reason and can help you meet increased calorie needs. Whey and plant proteins like pea, rice, and hemp are all compatible with breastfeeding. Limit to one shake per day, and be sure to get plenty of whole foods first. Watch baby for potential sensitivity to proteins passing through milk.

6. Is it normal to have some spotting while breastfeeding?

Light spotting or rust-colored streaks can happen as estrogen levels shift postpartum. Harmless vascularization connecting breast tissue to the uterus clears leftover blood. But if bright red bleeding, fever, severe pain, or clots appear, call your provider regarding potential infection risk.

7. What are natural ways to balance my hormones while breastfeeding?

Prioritize sleep as much as possible, even napping when your baby sleeps. Stay hydrated, eat regularly, and take postnatal vitamins with selenium and magnesium. Exercise helps normalize serotonin, endorphins, and cortisol but don’t overdo high-intensity workouts. Enjoy skin-to-skin snuggles with your baby. Consider gentle herbal support like maca, vitex/chasteberry, or red raspberry leaf.

8. How much water should I drink when breastfeeding?

Aim for at least 80-100 ounces of total fluid daily, including water, milk, herbal tea etc. If your urine color trends darker, bump up hydration – well-diluted pale urine means you have enough liquids. Have a water bottle nearby whenever breastfeeding or pumping to sip frequently. Choose electrolyte drinks or coconut water if dealing with dehydration sickness. Use our free water intake calculator for breastfeeding moms here.

9. How many lactation cookies can I have each day?

I suggest limiting yourself to 1-2 lactation cookies per day. While oats, brewer’s yeast, flaxseed etc can support milk production, they still contribute extra calories and carbs. Have a cookie shortly after breastfeeding to stabilize blood sugar rather than compulsively over-snacking. Focus first on a balanced nourishing diet and adequate hydration for making milk.

10. Are there dietary restrictions while breastfeeding?

Fortunately, no foods are universally forbidden while breastfeeding! Spicy dishes, dairy, cruciferous veggies, and other gas-producing foods can cause fussiness in some babies though. Be observant of your baby’s reactions after trying foods like onion, broccoli, cabbage, beans, etc. But overall focus on avoiding rigid restrictions and enjoying diverse nourishing foods.

11. How long should prenatal vitamins be taken while breastfeeding?

Staying on your prenatal multivitamin throughout lactation ensures you get enough key nutrients like vitamin D, B12, iron, zinc, and folate for both milk production and combating postpartum depletion. Most providers now recommend continuing prenatal supplements with extra calcium/magnesium for the duration of exclusive breastfeeding, which can last 1 year+!

12. What if I’m too sleep deprived to keep up my milk supply?

Try these tips before continuing breastfeeding becomes overly draining:

  • Ask your partner to handle diapering/burping so you can rest
  • Line up postpartum doulas to hold your baby skin-to-skin for a few hours of respite,
  • Use a hospital-grade pump to build a freezer stash allowing longer sleep blocks
  • Lean on family to bring nourishing meals/hydration while you recharge.

If needed long-term, pace supplementing formula while evaluating medications or therapy addressing fatigue for your well-being too. Gently rub warmth into engorged breasts if going longer between feedings to prevent mastitis. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask for help – it takes a village!

13. Can I drink alcohol and breastfeed?

Moderate alcohol consumption with proper timing is generally considered acceptable while breastfeeding. It’s recommended to wait at least 2 hours after a single alcoholic drink before breastfeeding to minimize alcohol exposure to the infant. However, excessive alcohol consumption should be avoided, as it can have negative effects on the baby.

Questions about breastfeeding and lifestyle

1. How does breastfeeding fit into a sustainable lifestyle?

Breastfeeding is the ultimate eco-friendly parenting choice, with zero waste compared to formula production/disposal! Furthermore, studies show nursing makes moms more attuned to environmental conservation for their babies’ futures. Using reusable breast pads, milk storage bags, and bottle-feeding family members with your liquid gold takes sustainability full circle!

2. How often should I be breastfeeding my newborn?

Babies eat very frequently, at least 8-12 times every 24 hours including nighttime feedings! This helps establish your supply while their tiny tummies demand frequent refills. Allow your baby unlimited access to feed on demand whenever they show cues like rooting, mouthing, sucking fingers etc rather than watching the clock between feeds.

3. When’s the best time to start breastfeeding after my baby is born?

Person Holding Babys Feet

Ideally, nursing should start immediately after birth during the first blissful hour ‘golden hour‘ of skin-to-skin contact! This early breastfeeding initiation, while your hormones are surging, lays crucial groundwork for future milk production and breastfeeding success. Baby’s inborn reflexes are also strongest right after birth, so their instinct to latch and suck will be profound.

4. When do most moms stop breastfeeding?

According to recent surveys, most moms now breastfeed for 6-12 months at a minimum, and 1 in 4 breastfeed for 12 months or longer! However, there is no right or wrong timeframe to support breastfeeding – whether you nurse for 2 months or 2 years, any amount of breastmilk is valuable. Many moms stop breastfeeding when they start to introduce complementary foods around 6 months of age. Follow your mutual comfort and needs nursing through infancy or beyond.

5. Can I get pregnant while breastfeeding?

Yes, it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding exclusively. Exclusively nursing delays rather than prevents ovulation, so cycles can return at variable times even without visible periods. Use backup protection if spacing pregnancies until your baby is over 6 months old and solids are well established. Be aware egg release precedes any visible fertility signs!

6. Why am I so hungry when breastfeeding?

Making 30+ ounces of milk daily requires nearly 500 extra calories above normal intake! So feeling ravenous is very common in the early months after birth. Listen to your body’s signals and enjoy nutritious snacks/meals whenever hungry rather than fighting it. Hydration is also key – drink to thirst as making milk draws heavily from fluids too.

7. How does breastfeeding make me so tired?

The metabolic process of lactation is very taxing, nearly equivalent to marathon-level exertion! So feeling drained much of the time even as a leisurely “couch potato” is expected. Making milk burns lots of calories which in turn demands you refuel often. Do your best to nap when possible and streamline obligations/chores. Pass off baby when you hit “empty” so you can recharge. The intensity eases around 3-4 months.

8. Is it ok to breastfeed my husband or partner?

Also known as erotic lactation, some individuals and couples may choose to engage in adult breastfeeding for reasons such as curiosity, bonding, or perceived health benefits. The decision to engage in adult breastfeeding is a personal choice and should be approached with careful consideration and mutual consent. So yes, it’s ok to breastfeed your partner as long as you are both consenting adults!

Questions about pumping

1. Any advice on using a breast pump?

Learn about Pumping 101 here and follow these tips:

  • Invest in a high-quality double electric pump designed for your needs – hospital-grade rentals for establishing supply, compact mobiles for on-go-pumping later.

  • Ensure correctly sized flanges.

  • Relax with a massage.

  • Prep milk ducts with a warm shower or hot pack first.

  • Display photos of your baby during pumping sessions.

  • Consider hands-free options after the first month allowing you to multitask.

  • Go slowly, gently building pump “letdown”.

2. How often should I pump?

If exclusively pumping, aim to pump every 2-3 hours, at least 8 times in 24 hours including a night session. This mimics a baby’s natural feeding schedule to signal sufficient production. If trying to build a freezer stash while breastfeeding your baby directly, 3-4 sessions in 24 hours around breastfeeding are usually enough.

3. When should I start pumping?

You can start pumping any time but may want to wait until breastfeeding is established, around 3-6 weeks. Early pumping before supply regulates risks of oversupply or preferring the pump. There’s no hurry for a stash – concentrate on feeding your baby directly from the breast whenever possible in the early months.

4. How do I use a hospital-grade breast pump?

Check flange sizes are correct for your nipple size to prevent damage and maximize flow. The standard is 25mm, larger available. Double-check all parts are placed correctly into the pump kit. Fan settings adjust speed and strength – start low/expression phase then increase to high/letdown phase when milk starts spraying. Use massage and compression techniques on the breast to enhance flow and drainage while pumping.

5. What is power pumping?

Power pumping aims to rapidly boost supply signaling a hungry baby. It involves pumping intensely for short spurts – typically pumping for 10-15 minutes, resting 10, then repeating 2 more rounds. Do this mimicking cluster feeding times, generally morning, midday, and late evening for 1-3 days consecutively.

6. How do I clean pump parts?

After every pumping session, rinse pieces that contact with milk with cool water to remove residual milk. Then wash with hot soapy water and rinse several times. Allow to fully air dry on a clean towel rather than reassembling wet. Sterilize daily either by steam, boiling, or dishwasher. Replace membranes every 1-3 months per most pump guidelines. And the breast pump fridge hack on Tik Tok (just putting parts in the fridge after use with no washing)? It’s a big no no! Clean them properly to avoid contamination.

7. How do I increase pumping output?

Ensure you have the correctly sized flanges first, then try supporting hand expression during pumping to release more milk ducts. Use breast massage and relaxation techniques before and during sessions to enhance letdown and flow. Power pump occasionally to signal increased demand. Stay hydrated and well-fed, and get plenty of skin-to-skin time with your baby. Manage stress levels for happy hormones!

8. Which is better: Elvie or Willow breast pumps?

The Elvie Wearable Breast Pump

Both Elvie and Willow are discreet, hands-free portable breast pumps allowing mobility while pumping. Willow may have a slight edge for comfort and customizability. Elvie offers the benefit of an accompanying app with pumping metrics and tips. Compare output and ease of use trying each option to decide your best personalized pick based on lifestyle needs.

Questions about breastfeeding and baby’s development

1. How do I know if my breastfed baby is growing well?

Track weight consistently via pediatrician check-ups at least monthly for the first 6 months. Babies gain weight an average of 1-1.5 pounds per month and cross growth curve percentiles at a steady upward incline while gaining weight. Also, note adequate daily output of wet/soiled diapers – typically 6+ pees/day and several poopy diapers after mature milk comes in.

2. What’s a healthy breastfeeding pattern?

For optimal production and baby weight gain, the gold standard rhythm is nursing 8-12+ times every 24 hours. This includes feeding frequently throughout the daytime and at least once overnight. Duration per session averages 10-40 minutes feeding on one side, and switching sides next feed. Allowing your baby truly unlimited time breastfeeding on demand protects your milk supply. You can also use the WHO growth charts recommended for infants.

3. How can I spot if my baby is hungry?

Early hunger cues to respond to immediately include stirring during light sleep, bringing hands to mouth, lip-smacking, cooing/sighing, or turning instinctively toward your scent. Waiting for escalated cues like crying ramps up their frustration making getting latched and settled more work. Act preventatively as soon as they show subtle readiness signs.

4. Will my baby need to be fed at night for a long time?

Frequent overnight feeds are developmentally normal for healthy infants and biologically aligned with human lactation patterns for perhaps 6-12 months. However, every baby adapts to their own timeline, with the gradual capability to sleep longer. Offering dream feeds helps fortify their reserves. Support safe co-sleeping options for the easiest night access as long as needed.

5. How do growth spurts change breastfeeding?

During week 2, weeks 6-8 then months 3, 6, and 9, your baby undergoes major neural wiring and physical development. Nursing frequency, intensity, and duration often greatly increase temporarily signaling the body to produce more milk – this is often called cluster feeding. Supply perfectly meets demand and breastfeeding decreases again after a few days of cluster feeding during the growth spurt. Expect extra wakings overnight too until the leap levels off!

6. Are breastfed babies more clingy to their moms?

In the early months, frequent nursing provides lots of oxytocin and skin-to-skin contact – this lays bonding groundwork for secure attachment. But breastmilk itself does not make babies clingier inherently. As cognitive skills advance they gain increasing capability for independence balanced by returning for regular connection. Support them in navigating new explorations while staying anchored to you!

7. Will I spoil my baby by breastfeeding a lot?

Absolutely not! Creating positive feeding associations prevents future battles. On-cue comforting feeds establish trust, not bad habits. Building this foundation set in infancy leads to confident self-regulation later. The more your baby feels their needs are consistently met with food and affection, the more willingness emerges naturally over time to wait out discomforts.

8. How does breastfeeding impact a baby’s immune system?

Beyond vital nutrition, your milk delivers millions of live protective cells, antibodies, and prebiotics custom-designed to prime your baby’s developing immunity both actively and passively. Studies show breastfed infants have lower rates of infection, allergy, and chronic disease for lasting effects throughout life. Talk about liquid gold!

9. How can I tell if my baby’s getting enough breast milk?

You can be sure your baby is getting enough milk by counting those delightfully sopping wet diapers and dirty diapers – 6+ heavy voids daily after the 4th day signals hydration in a healthy nursling! Cloth diapers should require doubling up to contain the flood too. Also, aim to meet or exceed birth weight again by 2 weeks old. You’ll hear steady gulping during feeds as milk efficiently transfers and your baby gains well.

10. What are the benefits for me and my baby from breastfeeding?

For baby: nutrition, hormones, antibodies to fight illness like ear infections, allergy/obesity protection, boosted brain development. There is also evidence that breastfeeding can help to decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood leukemia. For mom: rapid healing/uterine shrinkage post-birth, dropped pregnancy weight, natural child spacing through delayed ovulation, reduced risks of postpartum depression, possible reduced risk of ovarian cancer, bonding neurohormones like oxytocin! Plus it’s free, green, and convenient for travel.

11. Should I keep breastfeeding after my baby is a year old?

The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses breastfeeding for at least 12 full months and then continuing as long as mutually desired by both mother and baby. Nursing beyond the first birthday (or even two!) offers continued immunity boosts during cold/flu season and through emerging new teeth. Weaning is a gradual natural process following the child’s timeline rather than an abrupt endpoint. There can be joy in nursing through toddlerhood and the flexibility to meet both your needs. Stay tuned into your own body, mindset, and lifestyle factors too when determining optimal duration.

12. How to stop breastfeeding at night for a 2-year-old?

Moving from breast to bottle can be a tricky transition for little ones. The key is taking it slow and steady. Start by offering more snuggles, stories, or water when they wake up rather than the breast. Slowly stretch the time between feeds, maybe even limiting nursing to just before bedtime. Establishing a consistent, peaceful bedtime routine signals to their body it’s time to sleep. Be patient with them and yourself during this process. Moving from breast to bottle is a big change, but with time and love, they will adapt. Stay consistent and both you and your toddler will be resting more easily!

Questions about breastfeeding in public and legal rights

1. How can I comfortably nurse in public?

Find a seat apart from crowds, wear accessible layers and use a lightweight scarf or shawl for extra coverage. Have bottle backup to offer if needed so you don’t feel trapped mid-feed. Exhale tension, making baby your focus while tuning out observers. Seeing other mom’s nurse empowers you further! Better yet – host nurse-ins protesting baseless shaming. You have the absolute right to feed your child anywhere.

2. How do I find a doctor who supports breastfeeding?

Interview pediatricians about lactation counsel training, their own feeding recommendations, and willingness to make referrals for professional support if trouble arises. Seek out practices officially designated by the WHO/UNICEF as Baby Friendly facilities for commitment to normalizing nursing. A compassionate provider who celebrates your goals makes all the difference!

3. Can I breastfeed while wearing my baby?

Absolutely! Babywearing in a sling or carrier maintains close contact that feels innately familiar and soothing after their months nestled inside while allowing you hands-free mobility. Discreet nursing covers easily double as carrier canopies for extra privacy. For bigger babies, practice lifting and latching in a mirror first while supporting their weight across your torso in wraps/carriers.

4. What rights do I have as a breastfeeding mom?

Legally you are protected under federal and state laws ensuring rights to nurse anywhere, anytime – public or private spaces and work sites included. Technically venues discouraging public nursing are violating these statutes. Breastmilk is not subject to lewd exposure laws. If hassled, report instances through advocacy groups like Le Leche League International while refusing to leave or cover up unless voluntarily your choice!

5. How can I keep breastfeeding after going back to work or school?

  • Know your legal rights to sufficient break time and private space to pump breastmilk at work, free from retaliation

  • Prepare freezer stash ahead to leave bottles with caregivers

  • Ask about the ability to have your baby visit the workplace for nursing breaks

  • See if the schedule can be shifted for part-time or flex options in those first months

  • Consider using a supplemental nursing system allowing a babysitter/carer to offer your milk while you’re away

  • Practice pacing bottle feeds while directly nursing far more often to maintain supply

  • Set phone alarms for pumping sessions every 2-3 hours

  • Look into portable pumps, pumping bras, and insulated cooler bags to make expressing on the go easier!

Questions about breastfeeding equipment and supplies

1. When should I start using a bottle?

Ideally, breastfeeding mothers should delay bottles until breastfeeding is well established, around 3-6 weeks old. This allows your milk supply to regulate and for your baby to master latch techniques preventing “nipple confusion“. If supplementing before then due to weight checks becomes necessary, try cup feeding, syringe feeding, lactation aid supplemented, or spoon first.

2. How do I travel with breast milk by car?

Seal freshly pumped milk into labeled storage bags, then place inside zip top cooler bag with several ice packs chilling 50+ degrees Fahrenheit for the trip duration. Use a Styrofoam cooler if longer than 4 hours of transport. Take a small separate soft-sided bottle cooler inside your passenger area to safely access milk as needed without contamination from repeated opening.

3. What’s the best way to pack breast milk for a day out?

Stash milk intended for feeding during your trip in an insulated bottle bag with an ice pack chilling for outings under 4 hours. Carry more pre-chilled bottles than you estimate baby drinking as a cushion allowing used bottles to immediately return to the cooler minimizing bacterial growth between uses. Bring bottled water to aid temperature control too.

4. How many bottles do I need in the first three months if I’m breastfeeding?

If exclusively breastfeeding with direct nursing as the primary source, you likely only need 3-6 bottles on hand. This allows 1-2 extras for leftovers, allies to help with occasional feeding once pumping begins, and gradual practice with combination feeding. You can always purchase more later – don’t over-invest upfront!

5. Is it safe to buy breast milk online?

No, the FDA strongly advises against obtaining breast milk directly from individuals or internet sites. There are too many health and safety risks without screening and pasteurization. Milk bank donations from rigorously vetted donors are the only medically sanctioned source for milk sharing outside of friends/family. Otherwise, focus your efforts first on supplying your own baby.

6. How long does breast milk last in a cooler?

Insulated cooler bags with ice packs can safely chill freshly pumped breast milk for up to 24 hours keeping the temperature at 39°F or below. Limit cooler opening/closing to quickly retrieve bottles needed then immediately replace them. Discard any milk that reaches room temperature higher than that timeline even if ice remains visible as bacterial accumulation quietly increases and is invisible to the eye after that window.

7. What type of nursing bra should I buy?

Look for soft, seamless bras without underwire made specifically for breastfeeding to maximize comfort. They have flaps that easily unclip or slide aside for baby access without removing the whole bra. Prioritize fit so you don’t restrict milk supply. Replace worn-out bras affecting latch as needed to support your breasts’ incredible mother’s milk production abilities! Want to know what size nursing bra to get? Click here for a free interactive quiz!

Questions about breastfeeding and emotional well-being

1. Should I feel guilty about giving up breastfeeding?

Not at all! And please, don’t ever call it ‘giving up’ – this is such a negative way of describing the incredibly hard decision to end your breastfeeding journey. Every mother’s journey is unique and filled with complex factors. Reaching the choice to wean, even when earlier than envisioned, deserves compassion, not guilt. Remind yourself that any breastmilk fed to your baby has lasting health benefits. Shift focus to self-care and bonding through the transition – your wellness and relationship are most vital.

2. Why should I continue breastfeeding?

As the AAP recommends, nursing through the first year or longer nurtures nutrition and immunity greatly. Breastmilk perfectly changes composition to support development week by week. The fading opportunity for this physiologic norm and special closeness can inspire you to persist through challenges that arise at milestone ages. There is no right or wrong – simply bonuses to the baby, mother, and their connection by sustaining the breastfeeding relationship.

3. Are there benefits to breastfeeding longer than a year?

Yes! Human milk continues to provide live immune factors, enzymes, and lipids protective against infection, inflammation, and allergy risks. Pelvic floor/uterine recovery, soothing skin contact, reliable comfort, confident self-regulation skills, and more continue developing after your baby’s first birthday and through toddlerhood with the biological norm of extended breastfeeding.

4. How can I tell if my baby is getting enough emotional nourishment from breastfeeding?

Signs of sufficient bonding include sustained eye contact, baby eagerly seeking skin-to-skin when fussy, mouthing or fingering at your breast when upset, calm and regulated after most feeds, often falling asleep contently latched-on, giggles/chatters/coos looking to you for familiar affectionate interaction frequently. Breast milk contains hormones such as prolactin, which can help induce sleep in breastfeeding babies, contributing to their overall sleep quality too.

5. What are the common emotional challenges of breastfeeding?

Pressure striving for perfection, struggling with comparisons, lacking confidence navigating bumps, feeling touched-out by round-the-clock physical demands of the newborn phase, grieving journey diverging from expectations either ending earlier or extended longer than envisioned, lacking support system empathy…all ride undercurrent challenging to overall wellness.

6. How does breastfeeding affect mother-baby bonding?

Skin-to-skin nursing floods mom and baby’s brains with oxytocin, dopamine, and cortisol-lowering hormones that reinforce attachment on a neural level. The innate familiar comfort fuels trust. This early positive association forms foundations for secure lifelong bonds that transfer confidence in coping with future transitions together.

7. Can breastfeeding help with postpartum depression?

Potentially yes! Alongside other treatments, the oxytocin release and protective effects on mom’s sleep, thyroid function, and more may explain why studies have shown that women breastfeeding for 4 months postpartum reduces the risk of PPD. Talk therapy and nutrient support work hand-in-hand for complementary healing. When depression persists negatively impacting feeding despite interventions, weighing weaning options deserves care team discussions.

8. Are there emotional benefits to breastfeeding for the mother?

Yes! Many nursing mothers will report a euphoric love hormone “high” during breastfeeding and the innate oxytocin surge reduces stress hormone levels helping overcome baby blues. The capability to comfort and nourish your baby with your own body builds confidence and self-worth for many. Adding prolactin’s calming nature helps stabilize mood further when nursing frequently.

9. How do you handle criticism or lack of breastfeeding support?

Seek out communities that normalize nursing beyond just the initial phase – local La Leche League chapters, milk-sharing groups, attachment-centered pediatricians, etc. Limit time with those perpetuating shame and misinformation. Kindly educate when able but don’t feel pressured to defend your choices. Center confidence in your relationship with your baby – their needs/cues/growth gaining the most weight steering decisions in your journey.

10. Why does my baby touch my face when breastfeeding?

Stroking, patting and gentle pinches bring reciprocal nurturance and sensory exploration for babies after all those months of snuggled skin-to-skin in the womb! Making contact with your nose, lips, and cheeks comforts your baby as they take over learning coordination. This helps them orient to you and the world around them. Respond with smiles, loving eye contact, and your gentle cradling touch.

11. Why does breastfeeding make me so tired?

Plentiful milk production expends huge metabolic energy, nearly equivalent to marathon training! Frequent feeding/pumping sessions further demand calorie intake for making 30+ ounces daily. Nighttime oxytocin makes moms sleepy. Postnatal depletion of nutrient stores also plays a role. So despite minimal activity, extreme fatigue is normal with round-the-clock lactation. Rest, hydrate, and streamline as much as you can!

12. How long do most moms breastfeed?

According to recent surveys, while over 80% start breastfeeding, most U.S. moms nurse for around 6 months at a minimum, and approximately 1 out of 4 continue for 12 months or longer. The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. However, there is no singular right or wrong timeframe. Whether you nurse for a few weeks, a few months, or a few years – your journey is personally filling your baby’s critical nutrition needs.

Miscellaneous questions about breastfeeding

1. Can breastfeeding help decrease pain during vaccinations?

Yes, offering your baby the breast during and after vaccinations may help soothe discomfort. Skin-to-skin contact releases natural pain-relieving endorphins and the sweet milk provides distraction and comfort. Breastfeeding helps baby regulate their systems, prevents lingering rises in stress hormones, and aids healthy vaccine immune response.

2. Does breastfeeding affect how vaccines work?

Not negatively at least! Components in breast milk support healthy immune system development, which allows vaccines to generate sufficient protective antibody reactions. Some analysis even suggests certain vaccine efficacy and duration of protection may increase in exclusively breastfed infants. Continue nursing as normal before and after inoculations.

3. Is breastfeeding in swimming pools safe?

Take precautions if nursing in water. Ensure you wait at least 1 hour after eating before swimming to avoid cramps. Be very attentive to your baby’s head staying above water when latched and positioned in the pool. Rinse skin thoroughly after feeding or pumping session before the next swim to prevent infection from entering milk ducts from germy water.

4. Are there environmental benefits to breastfeeding?

Absolutely! Human milk production has zero carbon footprint compared to formula requiring extensive transport of ingredients, intensive factory procedures, and waste byproducts. Furthermore, nursing supports mom’s ecological awareness of keeping toxins clear for pure baby nourishment. Breastfeeding walks the sustainability talk!

5. Why do baby’s faces turn red when they are breastfeeding?

Babies’ faces may turn red while breastfeeding due to various factors. This can include:

  • Natural responses like blood sugar spikes or the warmth from close contact.
  • Dietary issues such as intolerances or allergies, particularly to cow’s milk protein, can also be a cause.
  • Skin conditions like milk rash, eczema, heat rash, or dry skin are potential reasons.
  • Physical changes like enlarging blood vessels and teething might contribute too.

If symptoms like difficulty breathing, high fever, or rash occur, it’s important to seek medical attention.

6. What are some myths about breastfeeding that need debunking?

Need more information? Seeking more breastfeeding questions and answers?

As we wrap up this extensive list of breastfeeding questions and answers, I hope you feel empowered by knowledge and reassured that support exists to navigate any challenges that may arise in your own journey. Whether you are a new mom just starting to nurse, or a veteran looking to sustain your feeding relationship long-term, there are so many resources and communities to learn from. You’ve got this!

For even more breastfeeding tips and encouragement, head over to From Bump to Bubble. You’ll find judgment-free wisdom reflecting the messy beauty of parenthood. And if there’s a specific question you still need answered or simply want to share your own hard-earned insight, please reach out! Every lesson passed on inspires another parent to believe in their capability to give their baby the best start, straight from the heart.

Want to share your story? We’re seeking real-life parenting stories from real life people! Whether you’ve faced challenges or cherished joys as a healthcare professional or a parent, we want your unique perspective!

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