10 Most Common Breastfeeding Questions & Answers

10 Most Common Breastfeeding Questions & Answers

As a new mother, you must be having a lot of questions about breastfeeding. However, it is important to be informed about this very important process and give your baby the best start in life.

MFine expert has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked breastfeeding questions on Healofy, as well as some resources for more questions you might have.

Question - How do I know if my baby is getting enough breast milk?

**Doctor Says - ** Almost all mothers produce enough breast milk. Sometimes a baby does not get enough breast milk and is usually because he is not sucking enough or sucking effectively.Most important parameters to know if baby is getting enough breast milk or not-

  • Poor weight gain- less than 500-600gms per month or less than birth weight after 2 weeks of birth
  • Passing small amounts of concentrated urine- less than 6 times a day (yellow and strong smelling)
  • Your baby is having normal skin colour
  • Baby’s cheeks stay rounded and not hollow during sucking. You can hear and see your baby swallowing once baby is 5-6 days old
  • Your baby is calm and relaxed during feeds and is content after feeds
  • Baby comes off the breast on their own at the end of the feeds

Complete Breastfeeding Guide for New Mothers - Download Free Guide

Question - How often should I Breastfeed my newborn?

**Doctor Says - ** Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months. Breastfeeding is to be initiated in the first hour of birth. In the first few weeks of birth, babies feed 8-12 times a day or for every 2-3 hrs. Breastfeed as often as they want and as long as they want. When the baby releases one breast, offer the opposite breast. If baby is not interested, start nursing that side during the next feed. It is okay for babies to breastfeed for 10-15 min or for more than an hour as long as their weight gain and urine output is normal

Question - How long should I breastfeed my baby every session?

Doctor Says - Exclusive breastfeeding should be done for the first six months.

  • For the first few days - Your baby’s belly is tiny and may want to feed as often as 1-3 hrs. You should be able to hear baby sucking and swallowing while feeding
  • First few weeks to 6 months - As the baby grows, their bellies grow as well. Feeding sessions can happen 8-12 times in 24 hrs. Sometimes the baby might breastfeed for every 1 hr and sometimes for every 4-5 hrs, which depends on the time of the day.
  • After 6 months- Babies might be less interested in breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding on demand can be followed by following baby’s cues.

Babies at any time can feed for 5 min - 40 min during each feeding session.Some newborns may be sleepy and not interested in breastfeeding and in such cases, you need to wake your baby up by patting, stroking, undressing every 2-4 hrs to feed. Sometimes nursing periods can prolong beyond one hr which is normal. But if this is happening every time and continuing for days, a Lactation Specialist’s opinion is to be taken.

Question - How to increase breast milk supply?

Doctor Says - Most mothers think they do not have enough breast milk for their babies. As long as the baby is gaining at least 500 gms in a month and passing diluted urine more than 6 times a day, there is nothing to worry. But if either of these is not happening, consulting with a Lactation Specialist is advised.

Most common reasons for not having enough breast milk are -

  • Improper latching- The more the baby breastfeeds, the higher will be the supply. If baby is not latching on properly or not sucking properly, the simulation is not enough for breast milk production. You can take help of a Health professional to offer guidance and support to position and attach your baby to the breast.
  • Avoid giving pacifiers or bottles before establishing breastfeeding
  • Keep your baby as close as possible and hold them skin to skin
  • Massage the breasts and express feeds in between baby’s feeding sessions
  • Hydration and Proper diet rich in Protein is important
  • Include fenugreek seeds and Whole grains oats in your diet to increase milk production

Question - When can I stop Night time breast feeding?

Doctor Says - Breastfeeding on demand is usually followed to feed infants during the day. In the first few months, babies are woken up during the nights for feeding, But as the baby grows older, Breastfeeding sessions during the night become less frequent and the duration also reduces. Once a baby is 6 months old and weighing 6-7 kg, they can be nursed for twice or thrice during the nights. As a baby attains one year of age, the frequency can be brought down to once and after 1 year breastfeeding at night can be stopped. Feeding the baby before going to sleep and once the baby wakes up in the morning can be followed after 1 year of age.

Question - My 3 month old baby is thin, does it mean my breast milk supply is poor?

Doctor Says - Breast milk supply depends on many factors and most importantly, the needs of the child. Baby should gain at least 500gms per month or 125gms per week. If the baby is active and feeding well with Normal weight gain and urination frequency, it is not something to be worried about. Weight of the baby at any instance depends on many factors including genetics.

Question - What is the best position to breastfeed?

Doctor Says - Any position for breastfeeding should fulfil two criteria- Baby should latch on properly and mother should be comfortable while feeding. Best position is Reclining position which avoids discomfort for you and also latching is proper. Other better positions include Cradle hold and side lying position. Mother should avoid looking at the baby constantly to avoid neck pain and also taking a pillow support below the Nestling hand would help.

Complete Breastfeeding Guide for New Mothers - Download Free Guide

Question - Can I breastfeed my baby when I have fever and cold?

Doctor Says - Yes you can breastfeed the baby as long as you are able to. But there are some necessary precautions to be taken as the infection including Covid-19 can be transmitted by contact. Wearing a mask and sanitising hands before and after touching the baby, sneezing/coughing into a tissue and discarding it immediately are to be followed. Try to keep the baby at a distance of 6 ft whenever not breastfeeding. If you are too sick to breastfeed, you can opt for express feeding. Breastfeeding is to be continued as much as possible because apart from providing energy, breast milk also contains protective antibodies and immune cells which helps baby from contracting infections.

Question - My baby develops colic and indigestion after every feeding.

Doctor Says - Few exclusive Breastfed babies develop colic after feeding. Latching the baby properly can avoid Colic in babies. Burping after each feed is also important. Try to avoid feeding when the baby is crying due to colic. Make the baby sit upright or hold the baby up and gently pat on the baby or rock the baby. Do not give anything apart from breast feeds as other foods are not recommended in babies less than 6 months old. Gentle circular strokes around the abdomen can also help.

Complete Breastfeeding Guide for New Mothers - Download Free Guide

Dr Sreelekha Daruvuri, MBBS with 5+ yrs of experience working as Primary care Physician on Mfine. She initially worked with corporate hospitals and then as a resident in JIPMER for 2 years. She believes in a holistic approach to health care. She is also a public speaker, a blog writer and holds interest in spreading awareness on health through digital media.

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