Breastfeeding FAQs

It is important to keep in mind that this FAQ page presents some of the most common concerns about breastfeeding and thus basic answers have been provided in an effort to assist you with breastfeeding success. The information provided here should be considered educational material and should not be confused with professional medical advice. If you believe that the particulars of your situation require the expertise of a medical specialist, please seek that medical attention.

Common Concerns for the Breastfeeding Mother

What if I cannot produce enough milk?

Although this concern is extremely common, its validity is very rare. Over 98% of women can produce enough breastmilk to fully satisfy their baby. In fact, most women can exclusively breastfeed twins without supplementation. We have been led to believe that we are insufficient in our milk production because our society has turned to the routines and behaviors of formula fed babies and used them as the standard by which we gauge a baby's growth and contentment. Remember that breastfeeding is God's design, it is natural, and is therefore the standard that should be used.

Breastfed babies develop their own patterns of awake and sleep time and feeding sessions. Whereas some babies are content to nurse for 15 minutes then sleep for 2 to 3 hours before wanting to eat again, other babies want to nurse and suckle all day or evening, or for long periods of time. It may seem that mom never gets a break, but chances are good that this is just that baby's pattern of behavior and therefore it is right for him/her.

Also, some babies are easily contented during certain times of the day and want to cluster feed at others. Again, this is natural. If your baby is peeing and pooping regularly and is growing and gaining weight then he/she is probably getting everything needed right from your milk supply.

Remember that once you have given even one bottle of formula, juice or water, you have begun the weaning process. Your body will produce only what it is using through a supply and demand mechanism. When other food sources are introduced, the supply and demand system is interrupted.

Can you produce what your baby needs? Chances are you can! Feed your baby when he/she wants to eat, for as long as he/she wants and allow your baby to decide when to pull off the breast. If your baby is never satisfied, acting lethargic, seems week, or is not peeing and pooping regularly it may be an issue of latch. The most common breastfeeding issues can be corrected with proper latch and positioning.

What if my nipples are sore, cracked or bleeding or I have pain throughout the feeding?

Some breast infections can cause these symptoms and may require you to seek medical attention, but often times, sore, cracked and/or bleeding nipples are the result of a baby that is not latching properly. Your baby must take enough of the breast to place the nipple in the back part of the mouth and past the hard palate at the roof of his/her mouth. If the nipple is towards the front and presses against the hard palate, pain during the feed or sore and cracked nipples can result, making subsequent feeding increasingly painful.

Positioning of mother and baby as well as proper support play a significant role in ensuring a good and proper latch. Mastering these simple steps can provide you and your baby with many hours of breastfeeding enjoyment.

What if my breasts are engorged or causing pain?

Engorgement can happen for a number of reasons including skipping feedings, baby sleeping through the night, returning to work and not having the opportunity to pump often, or even having clogged milk ducts and milk backs up in the breasts. The most common reason for engorgement is when your milk first comes in. This usually occurs in the first few days after birth and it takes a while to regulate what your baby is consuming and what your body is producing.

Although this time period may be very uncomfortable, it should only last for a couple of days, just long enough for your body to slow up production and produce what is necessary according to how much your baby is eating. Once the supply and demand mechanism is fully established the discomfort caused by engorgement will go away and nursing will return to a comfortable time for both mom and baby.

Keep in mind that at periods of engorgement your baby may intake milk too quickly and seem to have a hard time swallowing fast enough to keep up with the flow of milk. Your baby may choke or cough making you feel bad. Don't worry, this, too, will regulate when your milk production does.

To relieve some of the pain of engorgement you can express milk from your breasts before each feed. This can be done by simply massaging your breasts by hand or using a good quality breast pump. Be careful to only express enough to feel some relief or to keep your baby from choking on the abundance of milk that would otherwise come. Why keep it to a minimum? Because the more you express, the longer it will take to regulate your supply. Be careful not to skip feedings throughout the day or night as this will only add to the engorgement problem.

What about breastfeeding in public?

It is perfectly legal to feed your baby in public. A newborn's stomach is very tiny and they may need to nurse several times while out with you for the day. It is your responsibility to nourish your baby when they need nourishment and thus when your baby is hungry or wants to nurse, you should feed them no matter where you are.

Mainly because our society has turned breasts into a sexual object and disregarded the purpose for which they are intended, many people frown upon the very idea of nursing in public. But the fact remains that you are perfectly within your rights to nurse your baby anywhere.

There are many ways to go about nursing discreetly in public if you wish. Although it is not at all necessary, placing a receiving blanket over your shoulder, placing your baby in a baby wrap to nurse or wearing shirts designed for nursing are options that may make you feel more comfortable when in a public setting. Many public places provide nursing rooms or will find you a comfortable chair in a quiet place if you request it. But keep in mind that if you have a desire to be in the center of the public arena and your baby needs to nurse, that is an option and you are well within your rights to remain where you are. Do not let someone shame you into going to a restroom or to your car in order to nurse. Let them know that you have every right to nurse and your baby has every right to eat right there.

As nursing mothers it should not be our desire to flaunt our decision to nurse in the face of others, but it should be our desire to educate those who do not understand the natural beauty of the breastfeeding relationship. If we can make our society see breastfeeding for what it is many mothers that had never considered it as an option may reevaluate their choices when the time comes.

I don't know many who breastfeed, how will I fit in with my friends?

Remember that the decision to breastfeed is about providing your baby with the very best nutrition possible, and establishing a relationship with your baby that lasts far beyond the breastfeeding years. Breastfeeding is not about fitting in with what others are doing. It's not about popularity.

Learn to develop confidence in your ability to breastfeed and seek to find others that also believe in the breastfeeding relationship. This does not mean that you have to get rid of your old friends and replace them with all new friends, but if you work to seek out other moms that share in your experiences you will find security in the decision that you have made to breastfeed. You will grow in your knowledge about breastfeeding and the nutrition that you are providing for your baby. You may even have a positive impact on other mothers that are curious to know more about breastfeeding but don't know where to look for guidance.

Trust in your ability to give the best to your baby and soon you will feel that you would not trade that relationship for anything in the world. The opinions and actions of those around you will not determine how you behave because you will know that you are giving the best of yourself to your baby and your baby is receiving every benefit of your choice.

It sounds so difficult and I don't think I have enough support to breastfeed.

It is very true that you may need support and encouragement from others to establish and maintain a successful breastfeeding relationship. Breastfeeding can bring many challenges. Having positive support and encouragement from those around you can make all the difference in the world. A partner that has studied and educated themselves right along with you will understand the importance of breastfeeding and can be an invaluable foundation for you. Parents, sisters, in-laws, or friends who have either experienced breastfeeding for themselves or at least understand how important it is to you can also provide the encouragement necessary for success.

Often times, new mothers feel that they have no one to support them. Know that there are many resources available to the mother that truly wants to make breastfeeding work. Professional Lactation Consultants and Certified Breastfeeding Counselors will come right to your home and assist in every way possible.

Organizations such as La Leche League International offer many opportunities for support and if you check in your local area you will likely find breastfeeding groups and other mother/baby groups that meet on a regular basis. The internet and Facebook also provide many opportunities to connect with other breastfeeding mothers looking for and giving support. So even if you do not have a breastfeeding support team comprised of current friends and family, there are resources available to you from around the globe and in your area.

As always, you may contact us to receive the support and encouragement that you need. It is our goal to serve you. Check out all the different links and information that we have on breastfeeding:

Breastfeeding Basics Breasetfeeding FAQ Breastfeeding Links