Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
Answer: You will know your breastfed baby is getting enough of your milk when you see 6 or more wet diapers and 2 or more dirty diapers each day for the first 3 days (72 hours) after delivery. You should see your baby return to birth weight by 2 weeks and gain 1-2 pounds a month for the next few months. It is normal for your baby to eat very often in the beginning, and you should be able to hear your baby swallowing breastmilk during the feeding--a good sign that milk is going into the baby. If you have any concerns about weight gain, consult with your baby’s doctor.
Q: How long should I breastfeed my baby?
Answer: Any amount of breastfeeding is great! Ideally, breastfeeding would continue throughout the first year of life. However, the nutritional and psychological benefits continue beyond the first year. It is up to each mother to decide when to wean. And just remember…..all new moms and babies experience days that are easy and days that are not, so feel free to call the Arkansas Breastfeeding Helpline (1-800-445-6175) any time.
Q: Why should I breastfeed?
Answer: Breastfeeding is good for you and your baby!
- Breastmilk is very easy to digest. Babies who are not breastfed have more allergies, more constipation and diarrhea, spit up more, and have more gas and stomach upsets.
- Babies who are not breastfed for the first 4 months have more ear and upper respiratory infections.
- Breastfeeding helps moms lose weight gained during pregnancy
- Breastfeeding moms reduce their risk of developing breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer
- Breastfeeding creates a special bond between moms and babies
Q: Does breastfeeding hurt?
Answer: Soreness or pain are not a normal part of breastfeeding. Pain with breastfeeding should be addressed right away.
Q: If I am returning to work or school, can I still breastfeed?
Answer: Yes, you can! The best preparation is to establish a good milk supply before you have to return to work or school. Breastfeed your baby often, and if possible, wait to add any feedings from a bottle until your baby is 3 or 4 weeks.
Once the bottle is introduced, continue to give your baby one bottle a day. This bottle could be filled with pumped breastmilk or formula, and the amount could be as little as one ounce. Babies love to feed directly from their mother, so you may need someone else other than you to give the bottle. If you feed your baby with a bottle, try holding your baby in a different way than how you hold it when breastfeeding.
Talk with your supervisor about your plans to breastfeed and ask about private areas where you can comfortably express milk.
About 2 weeks before you return to work or school, begin practicing as if you have already returned. For example, if you plan to pump at work at noon, begin pumping at home at that time. Give your baby the pumped milk by bottle.
You can also find additional information here.
Don’t forget to check out Federal and State Laws that support breastfeeding!