Breastfeeding can be a hard, isolating, and emotional journey, which is why it's so important to have a community of supporters. Romper has launched a new Facebook breastfeeding community, Breastfeeding TBH, in an effort to help make feeding another human being with your own body a little easier. Every day, readers ask questions because, let's face it, breastfeeding is complicated. Each week, Romper will be speaking with a lactation consultant to answer as many of these questions as possible.
I don't remember having a lot of new questions as a mom — I knew babies weren't known for sleeping all night and I knew that I was going to skip a shower some (OK, most) days. I felt like I kind of had the basics down and I loved my kid so much, it all just felt like a really awesome adventure. But breastfeeding? I definitely had some questions about that. Like, how much milk should I be pumping? Do I even have to pump? Why do my breasts feel like boulders in the morning when my baby sleeps more than two hours? What am I supposed to do about these cracked and bleeding nipples?
If I could give every new mom something, it would be a swaddle that doesn't require knowing origami, a gift card to her favorite restaurant, a Netflix membership, and a lactation consultant to follow her around and answer all her questions. Because no matter how great your baby latches or how much milk you have, you're still going to need some answers. Instead of hiring a lactation consultant to follow you around, I decided to ask a few of them your questions on nipple piercings, your baby using your nipple as a pacifier, and what to do if you pump too much milk. Consider this your consultation with a lactation consultant, but you don't even have to turn off Netflix.
Breast Milk Seems Watery
I breastfeed and pump for my 7 month old, and for the past two to three days I've noticed my milk appears more thin and watery than usual. No big changes in my diet — the only change was that I went too long the other day between feeding and pumping due to work. Any ideas why this could be happening?
"The fat content of breast milk is constantly changing, and generally has nothing to do with what you’ve eaten," O'Brien says. "If you’re concerned, you can massage and shake your breasts before you pump to knock some of the fat globules off your milk ducts and into the milk."
Building A Freezer Stash, But Trying To Avoid Oversupply
I exclusively breastfeed and pump for my 6 week old, and I have been freezing as much as I can in preparation for my return to work. My dilemma is that while I have never produced this much milk, I'm starting to worry that I'm building this freezer stash for no reason. While my baby wakes usually twice a night, what will I need all this frozen milk for when he stops waking at night? I don't know how to balance what he needs without having such an oversupply. How do I back off a little as to not have my entire freezer running over and still keep my baby happy?
"If you’re not willing to drop a pump session, I suggest looking into a milk bank near you," O'Brien says. "You can always cut your pump sessions a bit shorter, even by just five minutes. Over time, leaving that extra milk in your breasts will tell your body not to make quite so much milk."
Relactating For Baby
I was advised by our doctor to start bottle feeding our son due to him not gaining weight as quickly as they would like. I have been a wreck since we started formula feeding and want to start breastfeeding again. It’s only been three weeks. Is it possible to relactate?
Absolutely. "Start by reintroducing demand," O'Brien says. "Use a high quality electric pump or a hospital-grade pump and do a pump session at least eight times per day, spaced evenly throughout the day."
Blood In Stool In Baby's Poops
I am exclusively breastfeeding, and tonight I noticed some blood in my baby’s poop. It was like mucus and had bright red streaks. The ER doctor said she has a milk allergy and the blood streaks are very common. I was told to stop all dairy for two weeks. Does this allergy carry on to when they start eating solids?
Not necessarily. O'Brien says this can vary from baby to baby. "Some babies grow out of cow’s milk protein intolerance or allergy, and for other children, it persists even into adulthood," she says. "I highly suggest seeing a breastfeeding-friendly pediatric gastroenterologist to diagnose a true allergy or intolerance."
Leaky Breasts After Weaning
I stopped breastfeeding my daughter nearly four months ago and my right breast recently started leaking milk. Is that normal?
"This can be normal, but in some cases it's cause for concern," O'Brien says. "Please call your OB-GYN for peace of mind."
Baby Refusing To Nurse
I wasn’t really into breastfeeding my son until I was so engorged that I tried it. He had a great latch, but stopped wanting to breastfeed at 2 months old. I’ve tried having him latch since then (he’s 6 months old), but he won’t. He’s eating solids two times a day, but my supply is still fine. Any advice on getting him to nurse again?
O'Brien says that it’s hard to give advice on this without knowing the reason he stopped nursing, but there is something you can try. "Some people find that putting a solid food baby enjoys, like mashed bananas, on the nipple will trick a baby into latching again."
Is Mastitis Gone?
How do I know when mastitis is clearing up? I don’t have a fever or body ache anymore.
"Your fever will clear up, and any redness, swelling, or streaking will go away," O'Brien says. "Always continue to use the entire course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor for any infection."
Helping Failure To Thrive
My 9 month old is now considered failure to thrive. She was gaining weight until she was 6 months old and now she’s flat lined. What do I do?
O'Brien recommends seeing an IBCLC who has experience with older babies. "There are many reasons that a baby can stop gaining weight, but if it is true Failure to Thrive, immediate action is needed," she says.
Helping Milk Come In Faster
I just had my baby and I’m breastfeeding, but I want to know what I can do to get my milk to come in faster. How long does it take for my milk to come in?
"Milk usually comes in around three days after delivery, though parents who had a C-section may find that milk takes longer to come in," O'Brien says. "The more your baby nurses or you pump after delivery, the faster your milk will come in."
Soreness In Armpit
I am breastfeeding my 3 week old, and I woke up this morning with a soreness by my armpit. It is sore to the touch, but once he feeds on it, the soreness stops and comes back later. What is this and how do I fix it? I do not have a lump.
"Many nursing parents have mammary tissue that extends up into their armpit — it’s called the tail of spence," O'Brien says. "You can get plugged ducts, engorgement, or any other normal breastfeeding symptom in your armpit." She recommends using warmth on the area to soothe the pain.
Pumping For 4-Day-Old Baby
My baby lost a bit of weight from birth. So instead of formula, I’m pumping after letting him breastfeed as long as he wants on the breast and if he wants it, I give him the pumped milk. About how many ounces should a 4-day-old take per feed? When will my real milk come in? I’m pumping an ounce of colostrum after every feed.
One ounce per feeding is typical for a 4 day old, according to O'Brien. "All babies, even formula babies, lose weight after birth — a loss of up to seven percent is normal (and some hospitals and birthing centers consider a loss of up to ten percent to be normal)," she says. "If you are pumping an ounce after feeding, that’s likely mature milk and not colostrum."
Baby Waking At Night To Eat
My son is 7 months old and is exclusively breastfed. For the last two months now, he has been sleeping horrible at night. He wakes up every hour or two and wants to nurse. I've tried co-sleeping to allow me to get some sleep while my husband works the third shift. Bt when he gets home I put the baby in his crib so that we both can rest. Is my milk enough or is he still hungry? I've been debating about giving him a bottle of formula before bed.
IBCLC Kristin Gourley of Lactation Link says this is more common than you think. "For most babies at this age, the frequent night waking is not about hunger, but about comfort," she says. "While many babies do legitimately need to nurse for nutrition at night for a year or longer, waking every hour or two is likely because he wants to be close to you. I would worry less about your milk supply, and more about comforting babe." Gourley notes that bringing baby safely into your bed is a great option for many families.
How Much Does A 1-Month-Old Eat?
My 1-month-old eats 3 to 4-ounces every two to three hours. Is this a normal amount for breastfed babies?
"Yes, that sounds within the realm of normal for sure," Gourley says. "Most babies will keep pretty constant with that amount due to milk changing to meet baby’s needs until around 6 months, when things change because of introducing solids."
Milk Production Drops When Baby Is Sick
My 4 month old was sick two weeks ago with RSV and my milk production is pretty much nothing now. I'm not producing enough to get him through the day. I've been drinking water, pumping and nursing, tried essential oils and just started fenugreek. He eats 5 ounces when we use a bottle and I'm only able to pump about 3 ounces total. Any help?
According to Gourley, most breastfed babies need about 25 to 30 ounces per day, so if that is coming in a 5-ounce bottle, then is he taking only five to six bottles for a whole 24 hour period? If he's drinking more than that, Gourley notes that he may being eating a little more than he actually needs which is why you're having difficult keeping up. "The best way to increase milk supply, especially after a period of less demand due to illness, is to express more milk more often," she says. "Try power pumping, pumping for about 10 minutes every hour for part of the day. While you may not see much milk coming out at first, it’s sending a powerful message to your body that it needs to make more milk."
This may be a long shot, but is there a way to start producing milk again?
"Yes, relactation is possible for many moms," Gourley says. "Sometimes things like supplements are helpful, so see an IBCLC to create a personalized plan." She notes that depending on how far postpartum you are, simply demanding more milk through pumping or nursing can be enough for you to start producing some milk again.
Baby Overeats After Using Mom's Breast As Pacifier
I have a 2 month old who likes to use me as a pacifier to fall asleep, and it’s to the point that she throws up from overeating and I get cracked nipples. Any tips on how to get her to take a pacifier?
Some babies are very picky and just will not take that pacifier, according to Gourley. "If she won’t, you could try another way to soothe her, like babywearing," she says. "When you know she is full and she’s fussing to nurse to go to sleep, you could try wearing her to sleep instead or you could try other things like bouncing on a ball." Gourley notes that it’s not a problem for baby to comfort nurse to sleep, but if you are getting cracked nipples you may want to have your latch evaluated by an IBCLC.
Choosing A Breast Pump
I need a breast pump. Any ideas on the best one?
"There are so many different ones available now," Gourley says. "Some top brands are Medela, Spectra, Hygeia, and Ameda. Sometimes different pumps work best for different moms, but in general it’s the type of pump you want to focus on." Gourley notes that there are a few things to consider when choosing a pump, like are you going back to work or do you want the ease of a double electric pump? Do you just want to express a little bit occasionally if you’re overly full and want a single hand pump? She also suggests contacting your insurance company to see if they cover the type or brand of pump you want.
Baby Going For Surgery & Can't Breastfeed At Night
My son is going for minor surgery, but he breastsleeps. What can I do to make it through the night without allowing him to eat?
It may be a long night, so be prepared. Gourley says comfort measures will be key. "Even if he is upset, he will still know that you are comforting him by holding him, rocking him, allowing him to suck on a pacifier, etc," she says. "The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine says that breast milk can be given up to 4 hours prior to anesthesia, so you can probably allow him to nurse often for part of the night."
Thrush While Pregnant
Has anyone else ever had a thrush infection in the milk duct before? I've never experienced this before. I'm also 20 weeks pregnant and weary about taking anything like antibiotics. Can it be solved it permanently with large doses of probiotics?
Gourley says this isn't very common, so how do you know you have yeast in your milk ducts? Are you nursing as well as pregnant? She notes that ntibiotics will not kill yeast and may make it worse — antifungals are usually used to treat thrush. "Some women find probiotics can treat and even prevent future thrush, but you may want to see an IBCLC to make sure that all gets taken care of so you can be ready to breastfeed your new baby without any issues," Gourley says.
I've been breastfeeding my 9 month old since birth and have had minor thrush once before, as well as a clogged duct that led to mastitis. I woke up this morning and my entire lower breast is extremely painful, as well as my nipple. There is no red spot like with mastitis and my entire breast feels hot. Breastfeeding on that one breast is so painful suddenly that I can barely stand it.
"Sounds like you have a plugged duct and perhaps mastitis," Gourley says. "Do you feel sick otherwise, like chills or a fever? If breastfeeding is too painful, you can try gently hand expressing but you’ll want to remove milk to prevent it from getting worse." If it doesn’t get better soon, Gourley recommends seeing your doctor for treatment and an IBCLC to help you prevent it from happening again.
Baby Refuses Bottle
My 5-month-old son will not take a bottle. I've tried breast milk, formula, sitting, standing, several types of bottles — nothing is working. It's been two weeks of trying to get him to take it and he refuses.
"Have you had someone other than you give the bottle? Some babies know that mom has the milk straight from the tap and won’t take a bottle from her," Gourley says. "You may even have to completely leave the house." She suggests that running the bottle nipple under warm water to warm and soften it can help because it makes it feel more like skin for your baby. If baby still won't take it, Gourley recommends trying a sippy cup, straw cup, or even carefully with an open cup.
Light Period Or Pregnancy?
I'm a first time mom and have been breastfeeding for 10 weeks now. I thought my period was coming back, but only spotted twice in one day and a few days later, my supply dropped for two days then was back to normal. My question is, could this have been my first period and it was just very very light or could I be pregnant again?
"If you are breastfeeding exclusively, including at night, it’s unlikely to be your period (or pregnancy — but take a test to be sure)," Gourley says. "That said, any vaginal bleeding after eight weeks postpartum can mean your fertility is trying to return. If you’d like to avoid pregnancy, make sure you use protection during sex. Most women have a delayed return to fertility while breastfeeding, but not everyone."
Increasing Milk Supply With Hypothyroidism
I have been breastfeeding for five and a half months and found out I have hypothyroidism. It’s affecting my milk supply — I try to pump enough to give my son a bottle and I barely get 3 ounces total. Are there any suggestions to increase my supply?
Are you being treated for your hypothyroidism? Gourley notes that many moms find that bringing their thyroid hormone levels back into balance alone will bring their supply back to normal. "It can take time to get thyroid levels normal again, but be patient because it make a big difference," she says. "3 ounces total from both breasts can be normal for a pump session, too. Many babies only take around 3 ounces per session."
Baby Not Pooping
My son will be 4 months old next week. He is exclusively on breast milk, both from breast and bottle. Is it normal for him not to poop everyday? How often should he be pooping? He doesn't seem cranky or straining, but he does fart frequently and they smell horrible.
"This can be common for babies over 4 to 6 weeks old," Gourley says. "As long as he continues to grow normally, you don’t need to worry very much. Some mamas find that giving baby probiotics can help if you’d like him to poop more often."
Baby Refusing Bottle After Taking It For Weeks
My baby is almost 13 weeks old and is exclusively breastfed. During her first four weeks, she would take a bottle from my husband from time to time, but for the last nine weeks, she completely refuses the bottle. We've tried different bottles, different nipples, all different times of day, different positions, and different people offering the bottle — both when I'm home and more often, not home. Any advice on what else I can try to get her to drink from a bottle when I can't be home in time for a feeding?
"Some babies know what they like, and they like mom," Gourley says. "If baby is adamant about not taking the bottle, did you know that you can give a baby that age milk in a straw cup or sippy cup or even carefully with an open cup? It may not be ideal to your caregiver, but if it’s not that often, it can help hold baby over until you get home."
Breastfeeding & Silent Reflux
My daughter is almost 6 months old and breastfeeding has been going great. About two months ago, she started experiencing these "episodes" that appear seizure-like. We've had a hospital stay and several doctors/neurologist appointments and still no real answers, but we think it is related to silent reflux. Has anyone else experienced this? What options are there for relieving reflux for infants while breastfeeding? My husband is suggesting that I put her on formula, but I feel like it may open a new can of worms.
You're right — Gourley notes that formula probably won’t change any reflux issues and could potentially make them worse. "Usually reflux issues start happening when baby is very young, but it sounds like your baby didn’t experience these episodes until she was 4 months old.," she says. "I don’t think reflux generally manifests as seizure-like symptoms, but it sounds like you could benefit from a second opinion, further testing, and a consult with an IBCLC to rule out any issues if it is indeed related to reflux or a feeding issue." Gourley notes that some general ways to improve reflux include keeping baby more upright, especially after feeds, and offering smaller, more frequent feedings.
Breastfeeding With Nipple Piercings
I'm due at the end of May and plan on breastfeeding. I have my nipples pierced and by May, the piercings will be 20 months old. Has anyone breastfed after having their nipples pierced? Were there any struggles or accommodations to make to be successful? I'm absolutely willing to lose the piercings if it means successful breastfeeding.
"Many moms with nipple piercings have breastfed," Gourley says. "You will, of course, have to remove any jewelry before baby latches on. You may experience leaking from the piercing holes but otherwise, your experience is likely to be pretty normal."
One Breast Producing More Milk Than The Other
With my first child I didn't produce very much milk from my right breast and it eventually dried up because he wouldn't latch on to it. Now I'm pregnant with my second and notice that my right breast has a ton of veins and my left has only a few. I'm wondering if I will have the same issue with my second and only be able to produce from one breast or will this time around be completely different?
According to Gourley, it's really hard to say until your baby arrives. "It’s not uncommon to have more milk on one side — most moms aren’t completely symmetrical," seh says. "Veining on breasts during pregnancy generally means that the breasts are getting ready to lactate so it could mean that your right breast will surprise you this time." If you notice a low supply on one side, Gourely recommends that you seek out an IBCLC as sometimes that can be improved.
Breast Bleeding After Baby Bites
My little one has only little tooth on the the bottom and he took a huge bite out of my boob; it was so painful. I just tried to pump and there was blood everywhere and the pain was unreal. I need to release the pressure, but what do I do?
"Have you tried hand expression? That can remove milk without stretching or further injuring your nipple," Gourley says. "There are lots of great videos online, or you can have an IBCLC show you hands-on how to best remove milk with your hands. The injury should heal so you can back to normal soon, but in the meantime, it’s great that you are prepared to remove milk to keep production up."
Baby Teething At 3 Months Old & Refusing To Nurse
My baby is 3 months old and hardcore teething — I mean, he's got four to six teeth coming in, drooling like crazy, and chewing on everything but my nipples. He's refusing to nurse properly. He'll latch on for a few minutes then unlatch and start crying. I've had a low supply from the beginning, so I've been supplementing occasionally with a bottle, but now it seems like he's weaning himself from the breast like my daughter did when she was 9 months old. Does anybody else have experience with this, because I really don't want him to wean so early?
IBCLC and Registered Nurse Tera Hamann recommends seeing an IBCLC if you haven't yet. "It sounds like there are latching issues that could also contribute to a low supply," Hamann says. "3 months is a bit early for teething and I'd suspect there may be other issues." She notes that WIC offices, your pediatrician, and La Leche League International should have resources to help. According to Hamann, 8 to 12 months is a common age to go through a nursing aversion, too. "They are learning and growing at such a rapid rate that they are too distracted to nurse," she says. "If you continue to offer the breast frequently and pump to protect your supply, you can get past it to meet your goals."
Breastfeeding While Pregnant
I know it's very common for pregnant mothers to continue to breastfeed their other children and I just found out I am pregnant. I’m about six weeks along and I am still breastfeeding my 15 month --old. I was wondering if my boobs should still get big and sore or if they won't because they are in use. Also, could this breastfeeding cause cramping?
"Size and tenderness are typically rated to hormones so already nursing wouldn't change normal pregnancy hormones," Hamann says. "Size may not change as noticeably as the first time, but tender nipples are still common. It's also very normal for your supply to dry up then return later in pregnancy." She notes that many babies will continue to nurse and then you can tandem nurse if you want. "Just watch weight gain and wet/dirty diapers to make sure your nursing baby is getting the calories & nutrients that they need," Hamann says. "Nursing can cause cramping, but it's not considered a risk in a normal, healthy pregnancy. If you have any risk factors, especially preterm delivery, then talk to your care provider about the risks."
My 3-month-old daughter is cluster feeding. I have read that sometimes it can be several hours a day and is a phase right before a growth spurt, but this seems a little excessive. We will start at 6:00 to 7:00 a.m. and it seems like it doesn't end until 11:00 p.m. It makes it really hard to take care of my older son who is in school. How can I handle this while taking care of my other child? I feel confined to my bed. It's so bad I don't want to leave my house because she is so fussy in public and putting her in a car seat is a no go at the moment.
Growth spurts can be difficult to handle, especially since you get so little sleep anyway. Hamann recommends calling in your resources. "Get family or friends to help so the older child doesn't feel left out and make sure you are taking care of yourself as well," she says. "At this stage, it's normal for babies to prefer to live within their comfort zone, attached to you. Taking care of yourself and utilizing resources will help you get through this phase."
Options For Pumping At Work
I have a 4-month-old and I pump at work. I made it clear when I came back from my maternity leave that I would have to have three 25 to 30 minute sessions (two breaks and one lunch) and they agreed. I've been written up twice now because I'm going over my allotted time for breaks (30 minutes for entire day). I'm not sure what else to do. I've told them they can make the extra time unpaid, but I cannot decrease my session times. I struggle with low supply. What options do I have?
Good news. According to Hamann, you are protected by the law. "You are correct that they don't have to pay you, but they are legally obligated to provide you adequate breaks," she says. "If you haven't already, go talk to Human Resources and read up on the federal law."
Drinking & Breastfeeding
I’m turning 21 next week and plan to have a few drinks. I have a supply of pumped milk for my 2-month-old daughter. How do I know it is safe to breastfeed again? She’s also 14 pounds, so I’m not sure how much milk to leave her?
There's a lot of different information about nursing and drinking, but Hamann says the general rule is that a drink an hour is safe. "If you feel like you are safe to drive, it is safe to nurse," she says. "Alcohol also leaves breast milk just as it does blood. That means if you feel safe and comfortable feeding baby, you can. But if you feel intoxicated, you can pump and dump to protect your supply." Hamann notes that babies average 1 to 1.5 ounces of milk per hour, which typically means 2 to 4-ounce bottles every two to three hours.
Baby Won't Wake To Eat
My daughter is 8 days old and she was born three weeks early. I'm exclusively breastfeeding, but she never wants to wake up to eat. I have to make her mad by laying her down and let her cry for a few minutes to get her up enough to eat. She falls asleep while nursing, too, and is really hard to keep awake. Is this normal?
"This is very common behavior for an early baby," Hamann says. "Their little bodies are still developing and that takes a lot of energy. I would talk to an IBCLC or your pediatrician to create a feeding plan that fits for you and baby." She notes that it's common to have issues with weight gain, need formula to supplement, then struggle further with supply. "Babies often don't have the energy or ability to transfer milk well," Hamann says. "A feeding plan would take into consideration her needs versus what you can provide. It's a great way to feel better about how things are going while meeting your breastfeeding goals."
Keeping Milk Supply Up While Working Out
Any advice for keeping your nursing supply up while working out? I added exercise back into my routine and I've noticed a drop. I'm eating 2,000+ calories in a day and all I have done is add exercise and cut the junk out of my diet. I'm drinking tons of water, too.
"While it's important to stay well hydrated, excess water will not build up your supply," Hamann says. "Your body also needs carbs to make milk. It's advised to start slowly and work your way up to a more vigorous workout routine." She notes that if you changed your diet and exercise routine at the same time, it was probably too much at once. "It's recommended to go slow and steady with weight loss" Hamann says. Try adding in more healthy carbs and cut back your exercise routine if necessary."
Baby Uses Nipples As Pacifier
I have been breastfeeding my 15 month old and I have been dream nursing since day one. With a 4 year old, I can't sleep when the baby sleeps. Lately my baby has slowed nursing at night, but continues to just be attached. If I take the boob away, he might sleep for an hour before he wakes up to reattach. I do not have a problem with him nursing at night, I just have a problem with being a pacifier all night long. I've tried a couple different pacifiers and he doesn't like them. And my nipples are starting to get sore from him being on them all night. What do I do?
"Have you considered his own sleeping space? Hopefully he's got a healthy eating routine with solids and it's less of a nutritional issue," Hamann says. "When he smells and senses you, he thinks that he needs to be attached — it's more about security. I'm actually going through the same thing with my 13 month old. His crib is next to my bed and we start the night with him there. He will start to wake or reposition, then go back to sleep. When he wakes next to me — he doesn't settle until he's latched again."
Determining Food Allergies
My newborn had a double ear infection and a few days before, he'd started getting gas. The doctor gave us amoxicillin and gas drops for him, but within a week he was screaming in pain, his stomach would rumble, he'd pass gas and poop at the same time. As soon as he would start eating, he'd scream. Almost a week later, he still screams, but not as much (it's still bad). The doctor said it could be silent reflux and prescribed medicine for it, but it could also be a food sensitivity. How would I go about finding out? What foods could it be? I'm a Type 1 diabetic and don't have a lot of variation in what I eat.
This isn't an easy question to answer. Hamann recommends making an appointment with an IBCLC so you can get some hands-on-help as a bad latch or ties can cause these issues. She also notes that food intolerances are very uncommon and concerning ones would likely have more symptoms.
Finding A Nursing Bra That Fits
Where and how do you get measured for a correct fitting, comfortable, supportive nursing bra? I bought a nursing bra (cheap) because I wasn't sure if nursing would work for me, but it doesn't fit right, I'm falling out all over the place.
"I would go get fitted at a store that sells nursing bras," Hamann says. "As with any bras, it's best to be measured and try on before buying."
Birth Control While Breastfeeding
I’m due in two weeks and my plans are to exclusively breastfeed. What birth control won’t affect my milk supply?
According to Hamann, non-hormonal birth controls are your best options, like condoms, a diaphragm, or a copper IUD. "The Mirena IUD and mini-pill are commonly well tolerated, but anything with hormones runs the risk and responses are very individual," she says. "Lots of skin to skin and nursing on demand in the first couple weeks will help to establish a good supply and help prevent problems."
Nursing Through A Stomach Bug
My oldest came down with the stomach virus and I also have a 3-month-old that is exclusively breastfed. If I happen to get the bug, too, is it OK to keep nursing?
"It's encouraged to keep nursing," Hamann says. "Our body will make antibodies against that illness. By nursing, you will pass on those antibodies so if baby does get the virus, it should be milder and shorter."
Baby Gagging On Bottle
I go back to work next week and my little one is almost 3 months old. I have been exclusively breastfeeding since birth. We gave him a bottle around 6 weeks and he did great and took it just fine. But I have been trying to give him a bottle this week and he is gagging and spitting it out. I have tried different positions, I have tried having my husband do it (because I know he will want to nurse from me), and I have been trying at different times throughout the day. Nothing is working. He just cries, gags himself, and spits it out, even though I know he is hungry.
You might need to try paced bottle feeding. "It's a way of slowing down the pace so baby can tolerate it better," Hamann says. "It's not uncommon to have these problems and then transition to daycare without any problems."
Nursing Bra For Smaller Breasts
Any advice on where to purchase a nursing bra for small breasts? They are all either non-supportive and my size or what I want and not my size. So frustrating. Finding a not-full figured nursing bra is impossible.
IBCLC and Registered Nurse Deborah Dominici of Babies' Breast Friend says she loves the Bravado Silk support bra as well as bras from Decent Exposures. "Bravado has the feel of a sports bra without the uniboob appearance, and Decent Exposures comes in any size you could possibly want."
Altering Diet For Reflux
My baby is 3 months old, breastfed, and has acid reflux. We have tried several medications and are on the third. I have already eliminated dairy and beef, now taking out nuts, but is there something else I should take out of my diet?
Has your baby actually been diagnosed with reflux? Dominici recommends seeing an IBCLC as they are skilled in assessing for tongue and lip ties. "It is actually quite common for babies with tongue and lip ties to be diagnosed with reflux, but with release of frenulum, symptoms disappear," she says.
Losing Supply If Baby Sleeps Through The Night
Will I lose my supply if my baby starts sleeping through the night?
"Your supply will regulate to what baby needs," Dominici says. "Each time baby nurses, he tells your body to make more. Typically, the more stimulation the breasts get at night, the better your supply is during the day. If pumping is a problem for you and you are working and trying to meet baby's needs, pumping during the night can give you more stimulation and help with meeting the demand."
Baby Prefers Bottle To Breast
My son is 1 month old and did OK with going from the bottle to the breast until the other day. Now he just wants the bottle; he will pacify on the breast, but he won't actually eat. Is there anyway to get him eating of the breast again?
"Stop giving the bottle and when you do you need to only give it to him in a slow paced manner," Dominici says. "Don't give in, be patient, and remember it's not nipple confusion, it's preference — they figure out what's easier and decide not to do the work."
Breastfed & Supplement Baby Has Runny Poop
My son is 10 weeks old ,and I'm breastfeeding and supplementing with formula. He would poop mushy and seedy before, but lately his poop has been seedy and runny. It looks like diarrhea, but he's not showing any dehydration symptoms and he just had his 2 month check up. I read online it's normal to be runny when breastfeeding. I haven't changed anything for myself or switched formula. Is this really normal?
"Baby's stools can vary based on babies' diet," Dominici says. "Since your baby is breast and formula fed, we don't expect stools to look the same. The stool will change based on the amount of breast milk and formula in diet and when solids are added after 6 months, stools will change again." Dominici notes that if your baby isn't in distress and stools are soft with no blood visible, then there is nothing to worry about.
Is Pumping Necessary?
I am a stay at home mom to my 7-week-old son. He is exclusively breastfed. I do not pump at all for him; he just eats off the breast. Will this affect my milk supply? Should I be pumping to make sure they are emptying completely? If I need to pump, do I pump before he eats or after?
"Your breasts will make exactly what your baby needs as long as you feed when baby is hungry and follow his lead," Dominici says. "If you would like to pump for an occasional night out, pump for a few minutes after feedings or during a long sleep stretch, and date the pumped milk."
Healing Sore, Cracked Nipples
I need to know what is best for sore nipples. I'm due in June with my second child and plan to breastfeed again and I can remember having sore, cracked, and almost bleeding nipples. I know a good latch can prevent that mostly and I also know that the soreness is expected in the beginning, but I just want to be prepared.
"The best investment you should make right now is finding an excellent IBCLC to help you with your latch," Dominici says. "No nipple cream will work if you have a bad latch and actually, the best cream is your own breast milk — apply that after each feeding." She suggests asking for help while you are in the hospital because while initial discomfort is real, it should never cause your nipples to crack and bleed.
Pain When Baby Latches
My daughter is 3.5 weeks old and we are still working on the whole breastfeeding thing. I've been to a lactation consultant and she agrees that we have a proper latch. However, every time my baby goes to latch, I'm in extreme pain — like breathing through the pain, crying, and tensing up. Once she latches, the pain is pretty much gone. However my nipples hurt on and off throughout the day — throbbing, stinging, burning pain and they are extremely sensitive to the slightest touch as well as the cold (or even lukewarm temperatures). I've been treated for a yeast infection, but they are suggesting a possible Reynaud’s diagnosis. Are there any other tips or suggestions to try to help the pain?
Dominici says a warm compress after feeding can help with discomfort, but it would be helpful to find an IBCLC who is very familiar with assessing for tongue tie and lip tie. "Many times the Reynaud's-like symptoms are caused by nipple compression from a clenching tongue tied baby," she says. "There is also a medication called Nifedipine that can help with symptoms if it's truly Reynaud's."
Pumping After Surgery
I’m exclusively breastfeeding my 5-month-old son. I've never pumped, so he only eats from breast. I'm scheduled to have my gallbladder removed in two weeks and my regular doctor told me I have to pump a few times after surgery before I could feed my child again. When I asked the surgeon about it, he was like a deer in headlights. He finally said I should pump and dump for 24 to 48 hours after. I've done a little research online and am reading that I should be able to breastfeed my son as soon as I wake up. What is the safest thing to do for my son?
"You do not have to pump and dump at all after surgery," Dominici says. "As soon as you are awake and alert enough to feed the baby, you can nurse. If you need to be in overnight, make sure you request a pump so you can maintain supply while separated, but you do not need to dump milk. The pain medication they give after is safe as long as you take only as directed."
How Period Affects Breast Milk
I'm 7 months postpartum, and pretty sure I'm getting my first actual period. Will this affect my milk supply or the taste of my milk?
It's normal to experience a small drop in supply during menstruation, according to Dominici. "Some mothers take a magnesium supplement during cycle to help with that drop, but it's more likely her waking is a growth spurt and probably not related to your supply," she says. "Babies are also very distracted nursers at this age and baby's behavior is very normal. Getting excited over the bottle is because it requires no work to get fed. Be sure bottle is given slowly in a paced manner so baby does not guzzle it down."
Breastfeeding While Sick
If I’m sick and breastfeeding, will my son get sick through my breast milk?
"No, your baby will not get sick through your breast milk," Dominici says. "Actually by nursing, you are providing antibodies against the illness you have. Your baby may still get sick because he was exposed to you while you were sick, but generally the symptoms for baby will be much less because your body gives baby what he needs to fight the infection."
Cramping While Nursing
Is it normal to experience cramps while breastfeeding? Sometimes when my daughter is latched and eating, I start having cramps.
Yep, this is pretty normal. "Most moms notice these cramps in the early weeks more, but you can feel cramping anytime you are nursing," Dominici says. "The hormone oxytocin is responsible for the cramping. It's the same hormone that causes contractions during labor and milk ejection reflex. You may also experience the cramping and a milk ejection reflex when you have an orgasm as well."
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