Frequently Asked Questions On Breastfeeding And Breastmilk | Hea Boosters
Reviewed by : Archana Shroff, Certified Lactation Professional, Diploma in Nutrition & Dietetics, B. Arch.
Breastfeeding is one of those unique experiences that only moms go through. It is a beautiful way to bond with your baby, and offers many benefits for mothers and their children too, but can also be quite challenging, especially during the initial days.
It is perfectly normal to have a million questions like ”How should I get my baby to latch?” “How often should I breastfeed?” “Does caffeine affect breastmilk?” “Is my baby getting enough milk?”, “When should I stop breastfeeding?”
Here are some frequently asked questions, answered for you:
- Does breast size breast affect milk production?
No. Breast size has nothing to do with the amount of milk you produce. Your breasts produce milk as per the baby’s requirement. While there are a few other factors that can influence the quantity of breastmilk that you produce, this is the most significant one. The more your baby feeds, the more milk you will produce.
- When does your body start making breastmilk?
Milk production starts during the second trimester of pregnancy, around week 16. At that time, your body starts making colostrum, a special milk that’s full of essential nutrients and easy for newborns to digest. As breastfeeding or pumping increases, the colour of the milk changes, this is called transitional milk.
By the second week, your body starts introducing water, so that your little one stays hydrated. At this point, breastmilk contains 87% of water.
You may sometimes see elements of colostrum during the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding, but these will go away as your body starts including the carbohydrates and other nutrients that your baby needs.
- How can I tell if my baby is eating enough?
A newborn baby nurses around 10-12 times a day. When hungry, your baby will give you cues by sucking on their thumbs or being fussy. If you notice this behaviour, try to feed your baby again. The best way to track overall nutrition is through bowel movements, wet diapers and change in weight. In general, a baby may have at least six wet diapers and two dirty diapers per day.
- How can I enhance my milk supply?
Sometimes, the supply of milk decreases. This can happen due to several reasons but there is no reason to worry about it. Staying hydrated and having a balanced diet can help increase the amount of breastmilk your produce. In fact, there are some superfoods that will increase your breastmilk that is definitely worth including in your diet. Having a good night’s sleep, reducing stress and feeding your baby frequently can also help produce more milk.
- How to soothe sore nipples?
Sore or cracked nipples is another common experience that a lot of moms go through. This is most frequently caused by incorrect latching. The good news is that there are a lot of simple things you can do at home to ease your discomfort.
Always check if your baby has latched onto your nipple properly. You can also try changing feeding positions, apply some breastmilk on your nipples, apply some coconut oil, avoid wearing tight bras to reduce friction, air-drying your nipples after feeding may help your nipples heal sooner.
- Should I pump my breastmilk?
This is entirely a personal choice. A few mothers prefer breastfeeding directly and while others choose to pump their milk. Both have their own advantages and you should be the one who decides what is good for you and your little one.
- How do I store my breastmilk?
Breastmilk can be left at room temperature for 4-6 hours and in a freezer for 4-6 months. When thawed, breast milk is good for 24 hours. Look for a bottle that is best suited for your breast pump, lifestyle, and fridge storage space.
- For how long should I breastfeed?
It is generally advisable to bring babies up on a diet of only breastmilk for the first 6 months if possible. After that, you can gradually introduce solid food along with breastmilk. If your baby enjoys the change, you can start weaning him/her off and slowly start switching to a soft diet. However, you can continue to breastfeed 12 months or longer as mutually desired by you and your baby.
- Should I continue breastfeeding while on medication?
There are many reasons why a nursing mom might need to take medication, ranging from a headache or an allergy to falling sick and fighting infections. While there are several medications that are compatible with breastfeeding, it is always important to consult your doctor before taking medicines if you are breastfeeding.
- I recently had COVID - 19, should I breastfeed?
Pumping breastmilk until you recover is likely to be your best option in this case but you should consult your doctor and seek advice based on your own personal situation and considerations. If you choose to breastfeed, make sure that you wash your hands before nursing or pumping and wear a mask while breastfeeding.
I’m sure there are several other questions around breastfeeding and know, first hand, how overwhelming it can feel to have to figure it all out on the fly. However, the right support system can really help smooth this journey over for you and help you embrace and enjoy your choice to breastfeed your baby.
Breastfeeding is a very personal experience for every mother and every mom has the right to choose how to approach it and for how long she would like to breastfeed her own baby.
Never let anyone feel guilty about your choices during this entire journey and reach out to us if you have any questions that are keeping you up at night or that you’re too shy to bring up with anyone else. We do not judge and will always have your back.
What should a mom eat during breastfeeding, a guide to nutrition- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235589/
What should pregnant and breastfeeding moms know about COVID-19 - https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/wondering-about-covid-19-vaccines-if-youre-pregnant-or-breastfeeding-2021010721722