Many moms want to breastfeed, but are afraid of ‘failing’ at it, producing bad milk (or no milk at all!), or worried about how to continue doing it after going back to work.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about breastfeeding, to help allay the anxiety (it’s not as hard as you think!) and boost your confidence about what is really one of the most beautiful gifts you can ever give your baby.
Does breastfeeding hurt?
You may experience discomfort at the start, such as a sense of heaviness or some nipple soreness. However, real pain should not be brushed off as ‘part of the territory.’ For example, cracked nipples may mean your baby isn’t latching properly, and searing pain can be a symptom of clogged ducts. Ask your doctor or a lactation consultant for help.
How do I know if I’m feeding my baby enough milk?
Many moms panic when they hear their newborns cry, convinced that they’re starving their child. However, newborns cry for many reasons! If he’s producing regular wet, soiled nappies then he’s getting enough food. And it’s normal for him to ask for milk every 2 hours—their stomachs are really small!
How do I know my milk is good enough?
Your milk is better than anything a multinational formula company can produce—Mother Nature designed it especially for your baby! But the quality of your milk depends on what you eat. Take a balanced diet, limit alcohol (wait 2 hours before nursing), and don’t smoke. Studies on baby brain development also shows that it helps to take food with DHA or omega-3.
When can I start pumping milk?
It’s best to feed directly from the breast for at least 6 weeks, to establish the proper milk supply. Pumping too early can produce too much milk (causing painful engorgement) or, on the other extreme, lower your milk production too much (your baby’s suckling works better than any pump!).
Pump and empty your breasts every three hours to maintain your milk supply. If you work, do it at 9 a.m., 12nn, 3 p.m.. You can time these sessions with your coffee and lunch breaks.
What kind of breast pump should I get?
The choice of breast pump depends largely on your budget. The most powerful kind is a double-barrel electric pump (check out the moms’ reviews of different breast pumps). The milk yield is greater, and you can pump faster and with your hands free to do other things (great for working moms). If you will be gone for the whole day, pump about 20 ounces to tide your baby over till you return.
How do I store my breastmilk?
Store milk in bags designed especially for breastmilk. Place in the freezer (you don’t have to buy a separate one, but do try to keep the freezer clean so prevent any contamination).
As for storing milk you pump in the office, you’ll need an insulated lunch bag with frozen ice packs.
When you’re ready to use frozen breast milk, thaw in hot water—don’t microwave (that will destroy nutrients).
How do I prevent nipple confusion?
There’s a difference between sucking from the breast and the bottle, and your baby feels it and may be confused by it. To avoid this, don’t give a bottle until your baby is at least 2 weeks old. And don’t be the one to give the bottle. It’s best if your baby associates the breast with you, and the bottle with another caregiver like Daddy, a sibling, or the nanny.
Photo from babble.com