Pregnancy Articles

Breastfeeding: Frequently Asked Questions

How? Why? When?

Be prepared to nurse very frequently during the first few months. A newborn will nurse every 2-4 hours, 24 hours a day. That adds up to 8-12 feedings each day. A newborn's stomach is small, and nutrient needs are high during this period of rapid growth and development.

Should I offer both breasts each time I feed?
Yes, the last portion of milk your baby drinks from each breast is called "hind milk". This milk is higher in fat and helps the baby to feel full and satisfied. Then release your baby from the breast by gently putting your finger into the corner of his mouth. This will break the suction without discomfort. Burp the baby and offer your other breast. Burp your baby again at the end of the feeding. Clip a safety pin to your bra as a reminder of which breast to offer first at the next feeding. This ensures that both breasts are emptied regularly.

How will I know when my baby is full?
When babies feel full and satisfied, they may close their lips, turn away, or even fall asleep.

Is it normal for a breast fed baby to have yellow stools?
Yes, a breastfed baby will have loose, yellowish stools, which may resemble watery "mustard seeds".

How will I know if my baby is getting enough milk when I breastfeed? Following the third or fourth day after birth, your baby will have 6 or more wet, soppy diapers, soiled with light colored urine, every 24 hours. Your baby should be nursing 8-12 times, every 24 hours, during the first month. And your baby's weight will steadily increase.

Can I return to work and still breastfeed?
Many mothers continue to breastfeed after they return to work, but it will require an adjustment for mom and the baby. Some moms express milk during their workday so baby receives bottles of expressed breast milk when mom is away. Other moms decide to continue to breastfeed when they can be with the baby and have caregivers offer bottles of formula when they are away. And some babies may receive both bottles of expressed breast milk and formula. Choose the option that works best for you and your baby. And discuss your plan with your lactation consultant.

  • Select a caregiver for your baby who is supportive of breastfeeding.
  • Plan to nurse before work, soon after work, and during the evening to keep your milk supply strong.
  • Before you return to work, help your baby to learn to take expressed breast milk or formula from a bottle. Begin this at about 3-4 weeks. Experiment with different types of nipples to find a type that your baby prefers. This is the perfect time for dad to get involved in the feedings.


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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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