BREASTFEEDING: Frequently Asked Questions
Put baby to breast as soon as possible after the birth. Get into a comfortable, relaxed position. Place baby’s head in crook of your elbow. Bring baby to your breast with the baby’s face and body turned toward you. Tickle middle of baby’s lower lip, wait for him/her to open WIDE. Pull baby closer. Make sure that a large amount of the areola is drawn in the baby’s mouth and that the nipple is centered in the baby’s mouth. Babies take time to learn how to suckle. Be patient and call for breastfeeding support if you need it.
Is my baby getting enough milk?
After your milk comes in (usually 2-3 days after the birth) if your baby has at least 6 wet diapers and 1-5 bowel movements per day your baby is getting enough milk. Breastfed babies need to nurse often (usually 8-18 times per 24 hours). The more often you nurse, the more milk you produce. Nurse each breast at least 10 minutes per feeding as higher calorie milk comes toward the end of breastfeeding. Ask your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant if you have questions.
Sore and cracked nipples
- Correct positioning (nipple centered and most of the areola in baby’s mouth) is the most
important way to prevent sore nipples.
- Try a variety of nursing positions.
- When done nursing, break suction by inserting a finger in the baby’s mouth before taking baby off the breast.
- Offer the baby the least sore breast first as babies nurse more vigorously when very hungry.
- Use only water (no soap) to wash nipples.
- Express a few drops of breast milk and let it dry on nipples after nursing. Expose nipples to sun (avoiding sunburn) and air as much as possible.
- Apply cool, wet black tea bags to nipples between feedings for 10 minutes three times per day.
- If nipples are cracked, apply lanolin cream to nipples after feedings (unless allergic to wool)
- Call your provider if you have questions.
Sore, engorged breasts
- Nurse baby often to relieve breast fullness.
- Apply warm, moist cloths on your breasts or take warm shower
- Gently massage the breast.
- Express some breast milk before you breastfeed if baby is having difficulty latching on due to breast fullness.
Painful lumps in breast, blocked ducts
- Apply heat to breast.
- Nurse frequently especially on affected breast.
- Check baby’s positioning.
- Gently massage breast from lump toward nipple.
- Drink at least 2 quarts of water per day. Take vitamin C and Echinacea to support immune system to avoid breast infection.
- Castor oil pack to breasts can be helpful: Apply castor oil to breast. Cover with plastic wrap.
Apply warm, wet heat for 15-20 minutes. WASH CASTOR OIL OFF WITH BAKING SODA SOLUTION (1 tablespoon baking soda per cup warm water) AFTER TREATMENT SO THAT BABY DOES NOT CONSUME IT.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Call your provider if develop a fever, redness of the breast, or have concerns.
Breast infection (Breast is red and sore. You may have chills, fever, and/or feel achy, etc.)
- CONTINUE NURSING.
- Nurse more frequently.
- The milk will not hurt your baby.
- Check baby’s positioning.
- Place warm, moist cloths on your breast.
- Rest in bed.
- Drink extra liquids.
- CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER.
“Breastfeeding”. La Leche League International.
“Breastfeeding Fact Sheet 5”. Seattle and King County Public Health Department.
“A Woman’s Guide to Breastfeeding”. American Academy of Pediatrics.