From needing to know which feeding positions are good to understanding what ‘responsive feeding’ is, breastfeeding is one of the topics that new mums have a large number of questions about.
In this article we take a look at 10 popular questions that Breastfeeding helplines get asked by both new mums and mums-to-be.
How will I know when my milk comes in?
Straight after giving birth you will produce colostrum – the creamy first-milk that contains essential antibodies that your baby needs. Around three or four days later you will start to produce proper breast milk, which makes your breasts feel hard, hot and they will often enlarge considerably.
How often does my baby need to breastfeed?
This can vary from baby to baby (and even if you’ve had a child before it could be different this time around). As a general rule of thumb, your baby should feed at least eight times in a 24 hour period.
How long should each breastfeed last?
The length of time your baby will feed for can vary. Sometimes they will want to feed for what seems like days, whereas other times a short ‘snack’ will suffice. Once you feel the baby has emptied from one breast then offer the other.
Why are night breastfeeds important?
While feeding at night when you’re exhausted and just want to sleep can feel like torture, they are really important for your baby. This is mainly due to it being the time when your milk producing hormone – prolactin – is produced at higher levels.
Why is ‘responsive feeding’ important?
Responsive feeding, which is also known as ‘baby-led’, is key because it allows your baby to get the feeding they need, when they need it, rather than you trying to force them to feed. As a result they are usually more content, plus it helps to stimulate your milk production.
Can I breastfeed after a caesarean?
Mums who give birth by caesarean section can definitely breastfeed their babies – it might mean that you need to find a position that’s more comfortable. It’s worth asking your midwife if you can have skin-on-skin contact as soon as possible when you’re in the recovery room.
How long should I breastfeed for?
The World Health Organisation recommends that you feed your baby with breastmilk until your child is around two years old. Any benefits your baby receives – such as fewer allergies – will continue for as long as you breastfeed.
Can I still breastfeed with more than one baby?
Yes you can! All babies are different and twin or triplets are no different. Some mums managed to juggle a baby on each breast, whereas others find that feeding one baby at a time works best.
Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Any alcohol you drink while breastfeeding will be passed onto your baby. It can have an effect, such as making your baby drowsy or have indigestion problems, depending on how much you have to drink. If in doubt then don’t drink any alcohol at all, but if you want to then limit yourself to one or two units per week.
How do I move from breastfeeding to bottle?
As the saying goes “breast is best”, however sometimes there are practical reasons that mean you may need to introduce a bottle of formula milk. If you do, then it’s best to introduce it gradually so your baby gets used to the change in taste.
We hope that these questions and answers have given you an idea of the basics.
To get answers to your individual questions on breastfeeding from our qualified midwifes, simply download our app today.