Breastfeeding: Frequently Asked Questions
When will my milk come in?
Usually within two to five days. Until then your baby will
receive colostrum, a rich, high-protein pre-milk that is just
right for your baby during those first few days.
How soon after birth should I start to breastfeed?
Most babies have a strong desire to suck when they are first
born, so this is an excellent time to introduce the breast. Many
mothers offer the breast while still on the delivery table. The
baby should go to breast within 30 minutes of delivery or as soon
How often should I breastfeed at first?
Most babies need to breastfeed at least eight to twelve times every
24 hours for the first few weeks. This can be every hour to two
hours. Watch for your baby's hunger clues: Rooting, turning head
side to side, licking, bringing hands to face/mouth, or making
little sucking motions are all indications that it is time to
breastfeed. Respond to cues early. Don't wait till the baby is
crying. A crying baby is more difficult to latch.
Let the baby stay on the first breast as long as he wants.
He'll let you know when he's finished by either coming off by
himself or by changing his suck to non-nutritive. You can burp
the baby and offer the other breast. He may or may not take it.
Again, let him decide the duration. It might be for just a few
sucks or for much longer. Start the next feeding with the breast
that received the least attention (second breast) at the last
How do I know if my baby is getting enough?
What is enough?
Babies need to nurse 8 or more times in 24 hours to get
enough milk. Nursing this often will also help bring in your
milk. Your milk will probably come in about two to five days after
your baby is born.
For the first few days you should count wet diapers. There should be one wet
diaper for each day of your baby's life. For example: one day old
= one wet diaper, two days old = two wet diapers, etc., up to the 5th
or 6th day.
After your milk comes in and your baby has been getting your milk for 24 hours, watch for these signs...
Your baby is probably getting enough if...
- Your baby nurses 8 or more times in 24 hours. It is normal
for very young babies to wake up often to nurse.
- Your baby has two or more bowel movements every 24 hours.
- The bowel movements are changing from black and sticky to a yellow liquid.
You can hear your baby swallow while nursing.
- Your baby is usually active when awake.
Get help if you see any of these signs...
- Your baby has a very dry mouth.
- Your baby's skin or eyes have a yellow color.
- Your baby doesn't wake up to be fed.
- Your baby does not nurse well.
- You feel your baby does not look well.
To get help with breastfeeding...
Call Lactation Services: 343-5186.
If I get sick, should I stop nursing?
With very few exceptions, continuing to nurse protects the
baby. Your breast milk is full of antibodies that are passed on
to your baby. On the occasions when your baby does become ill,
he will be less sick and recover faster because of the
antibodies in your milk.
If I must take a prescription medication, should I stop nursing?
There are very few drugs that would prevent you from nursing
your baby. Call your lactation consultant for information on
acceptable or alternative medications. LMHS Lactation Services:
Should breastfeeding hurt?
Beyond some initial tenderness, breastfeeding should not
hurt. If breastfeeding is painful, take the baby off the breast
and begin again. If breastfeeding continues to hurt or bruises,
blisters, or scabs develop on or around your nipples, contact a
lactation consultant. Lactations Services: 343-5186.
did not find your breastfeeding issue addressed here, please do
not hesitate to call. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday (excluding holidays). After hours and weekends
you may leave a voice message. Messages are returned no later
than next day, seven days a week.
Lactation Services: 343-5186.