Breastfeeding FAQs

Q.  When will my milk come in?

A.  During the first few days after the birth of your baby, your body produces colostrum which has may protective properties not found in formula.  After about 3-4 days of nursing, your breasts will feel less soft and more firm as the colostrum changes to milk that looks like skim milk.  the more you breastfeed, the more milk your body will make.

Q.  How often should I breastfeed?

A.  8 to 12 times per day for about the first month.  Breastmilk digests easier than formula so baby is hungry more often than formula fed babies.  At 1-2 months of age, you should nurse 7-9 times per day.  Before milk supply is established, breastfeeding should be in “demand” which is about every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  As baby gets older, they nurse less often and my go 2 to 3 hours between feedings.  Newborns should not go longer than 4 hours between feedings, even overnight.

Q.  Does breastfeeding hurt?

A.   If your baby is latched onto the breast properly, breastfeeding should not hurt.  There can be a brief time of discomfort, about 30-60 seconds when the infant is pulling the nipple and aerola into his mouth.  This is temporary.  If there is prolonged discomfort it may be from improper latching.  Babies and moms need to learn to breastfeed. It becomes easier the more times you breastfeed.  There are many things moms can do to prevent nipple soreness.  The breastfeeding experience is different for each mom and baby.  The life long benefits are invaluable.

Q.  Does my breast size determine how much milk I can make?

A.  No.  Breast size has no bearing on volume of milk production.  The size of the breast is largely a matter of how much fatty tissue there is.  A large breasted mom can have a low milk supply and a small breasted mom can have a high milk supply.  It is all about supply and demand from the baby.  If the infant is actively sucking it stimulates your body to make milk.

Q.  Can I breastfeed and give formula? “Do Both”

A.  Yes, you can, however, it is most important to establish your milk supply in the first month.  Avoiding formula or pacifiers these first few weeks will help your milk supply be at its greatest amount before introducing bottles of formula.  The baby has a natural desire to suckle frequently which stimulates milk production.  Support from your doctor or WIC staff in the early weeks may help you.

Q.  Can I pump and put milk in a bottle?

A.  Yes, you can.   However, few women wish to pump their breasts every 2-3 hours around the clock to establish a good milk supply when babies are first born.  It is so much easier to let your baby nurse from the breast on demand.  In the instances that mom is separated from her newborn, it is okay to pump and put the milk in a bottle for her baby.

Q.  My baby’s weight dropped after birth and my doctor said I could supplement with formula.  

A.  It is not uncommon for babies to drop a few ounces after birth.  Have a conversation with your doctor about stepping up the breastfeeding (frequency) and coming back for a weight check before you choose to give formula to your baby after feedings.  You can do this!!  Most doctors will want you to do this.

Q.  Will breastfeeding cause my breast to sag?

A.  Time, pregnancy, and gravity are most likely to affect the appearance of the breast.  Use some of the money you save by breastfeeding to buy a good support bra.

Q.  Who do I call for breastfeeding help?

A.  You may call the certified lactation consultants at the VCHD WIC office at 217-431-2662 ext. 228.  We can help WIC clients during our regular working hours.

Carle has a 24 hour help line at 217-326-2360.  Leave a message and a lactation consultant will call you back.

Click HERE for more information on Breastfeeding and how WIC can help you.

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