Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a compilation of questions that are frequently asked here in the Breastaurant. We hope you'll find the information provided helpful.
Q I have a breastfeeding problem. Where can I find help?
International Lactation Consultant Association(to find an IBCLC near you) http://gotwww.net/ilca/
La Leche League www.lalecheleague.org/leaderinfo.html
or call 1-800-LALECHE
For online chats: www.lalecheleague.org/chat/chat.html
Other Groups that provide support:
Q I have small breasts. Will I be able to make enough milk?
Size is simply not an indicator of how much milk a mother will make. Mothers with cup size AA to E are able to completely nourish their babies.
Q I'm nursing. Is it okay for me to have an alcoholic drink?
An occasional drink has not been found to be harmful to the baby. As with most things, moderation is key.
Q Does my baby need glucose water or formula supplements while I wait for my milk to come in?
No. Though the quantities are small(think teaspoon vs ounces), colostrum is high in nutrition and antibodies. Your colostrum is exactly what your baby needs in the first days of life. Unneccessary formula or glucose water supplements could hamper your newborn's delicate appetite which could cause him to nurse less often. This could delay your supply coming in, and if baby is fed the supplement with a bottle, it could possibly cause nipple confusion. It is best to avoid supplementation unless medically neccessary. The best way to make sure your baby is getting enough colostrum is to nurse early and often making sure baby is latched on well.
Q Does my baby need vitamin supplements?
In most cases, no. Your milk is a "complete" food. Even if your diet is less than ideal, your milk is very nutritious and the vitamins and minerals contained in your milk are readily absorbed in baby's system. Vitamins are not necessary unless your baby is shown to have a deficiency. Below are links that contain information on vitamins, flouride supplements and the vitamin D debate.
Q I'm sick. Should I continue breastfeeding?
In most cases, yes. Chances are your baby has already been exposed by the time you begin to feel ill. During any "ordinary" illness, you should continue nursing. Your baby will derive comfort from the closeness to you, as well as obtain antibodies(via your breastmilk) that will prevent/lessen the illness that baby has been exposed to.
Q Is it okay to give my baby a pacifier?
Maybe. There are potential problems that any breastfeeding mother should be aware of. For example, studies have shown pacifier use can lead to early weaning, they can teach baby incorrect sucking(which can lead to sore nipples), and regular use can contribute to lowered supply, slow weight gain and early return of menses. If you choose to use a pacifier be aware of the potential problems they can cause and use it sparingly, especially in the early weeks when nursing often is so important.
Q I had breast reduction surgery. Is it still possible to breastfeed?
Absolutely! Get in touch with an IBCLC and/or LLL Leader ASAP. They will support you and help you prepare for any challenges you might face. See the breastfeeding after reduction and breast surgery information below.
QI'm worried about nursing in public. Do you have any suggestions?
Try nursing in front of a mirror. You'll find that there really isn't much to be seen when you nurse. Your shirt and your baby will cover you! Have trusted friend or family member watch you nurse and give suggestions. Some mothers find clothing made for breastfeeding with special openings makes discreet nursing easier, others prefer to wear a shirt that is a size or so too big so there is extra fabric to cover any areas that could become exposed. While other mothers turn any shirt into a "nursing shirt" by wearing a camisole or t-shirt in which nursing slits have been cut into under their regular shirt. Other options are to nurse while baby is in a sling or cover your shoulder with a blanket.
QIs there any benefit to breastfeeding past the age of one?
Yes! The benefits of breastfeeding don't stop once your baby hits a certain age. They continue until the child weans. In fact, as a toddler nurses less, the antibodies in breastmilk are more concentrated. And the emotional/developmental benefits are just as important to toddlers as they are to infants.
QI want to cosleep,but I'm worried about safety. Do you have any information on this?
Yes! Below are some informative links. Cosleeping is a great way to bond with your baby, and it certainly makes nighttime nursing easier! Following some general guidelines and using common sense will help assure that your baby is safe in your bed with you or in his own co-sleeping environment (such as a co-sleeper or side car).
Q I have large breasts. Can you give me some tips for making nursing easier?
Sure! One thing you can do is support your breast using your hand and/or a rolled up towel or cloth diaper underneath your breast. Try to get your baby to take as much of the areola into his mouth as possible. And vary your nursing positions. For more suggestions, see the links below. If you're large-breasted and having trouble nursing, contact an IBCLC or your local LLL Leader.
Q How can I tell if my baby is getting enough milk?
This is the number one question breastfeeding mothers ask! Once your milk is in, your baby should have 5-6 really wet disposable diapers per day and at least two dirty diapers. You should hear swallowing as your baby nurses. Your baby should be growing in length and head circumference. Your baby should gain weight. And he should seem content and meet his milestones. Below are some links with more detailed information.
Q I've heard that nipple shields are bad for numerous reasons and just shouldn't be used, then I've heard they can help in certain situations. What is the truth? And what do I need to know to find out if a nipple shield would be helpful in my situation?
Nipple shields are neither good nor bad. They can help in certain circumstances such as when baby will not or cannot otherwise latch on to the breast or baby is premature. Be aware that they are not a quick fix and should not be used as the first line of defense. Because of the potential problems using a nipple shield could cause, other interventions should be tried first. Also, because of the potential risks of using a shield(such as poor milk transfer), one should only be used under the supervision of a lactation professional. So, in short nipple shields can
be helpful in certain situations, but should be used with caution and under the guidance of a professional. Below, you will find more detailed information.
Q My breast is sore and I feel a lump. Could this be a plugged duct? What can I do?
Sounds like a plugged duct, for sure. Make sure you're draining the breast frequently(nursing is the best way to accomplish this). REST and drink plenty of fluids. Massage the area. Apply moist heat, massage the breast while in a warm shower, or lean over a basin of warm water with your breasts hanging down. If the plug isn't moving, try nursing from above your baby with your breasts hanging freely from your ribcage. If the above doesn't help or you're starting to feel ill, call your IBCLC and/or LLL Leader right away. Below you'll find some more detailed suggestions.
Q I had a plugged duct and now I feel like I have the flu. Could this be mastitis?
It sure could. Mastitis usually comes with a fever of 101.3 or greater, fatigue, chills, flu-like aching and pains, and malaise. Many mothers describe it as feeling like you've been hit by a mac truck. If you think you have mastitis, go immediately to bed. Rest. Drink plenty of fluids. And do absolutely nothing but take care of you and nurse your baby. Continue comfort measures as you would for plugged duct. If you feel VERY ill, contact your doctor right away. If you feel mildly ill, you could continue the comfort measures and if you're not improving in 12-24 hrs contact your doctor. If you're prescribed antibiotics, take the full course. Don't stop even if you begin to feel better. For more info, read the links below.
Q My nipples hurt. I think I have thrush. What now?
If you have nipple pain that doesn't decrease with a change in latch or positioning, pain that comes on suddenly after a period of pain-free breastfeeding, your nipples are cracked, you have shooting pains in the nipple/breast, you have a vaginal yeast infection, and/or your nipples are itchy/burning and appear red, shiny, or flaky, you may have thrush.
You can begin treatment and call your doctor/IBCLC/midwife for assistance, especially if the thrush is severe or is not improving. Always treat both your baby and yourself even if one of you isn't showing symptoms. The best things you can do are: follow a treatment plan, use VERY good hygiene to avoid re-infection or spreading the yeast, use preventatives(such as acidophilus), and use comfort measures to help decrease the pain until you heal. Below you find a link that contains links to many valuable resources, as well as the suggestions of Sybermoms who have been through this.