Breast feeding Q & A

When will my breastmilk come in after birth?

Breastmilk normally cages in anywhere from two to five days after birth. Before your breastmilk comes in you will get a thick bright yellow substance called colostrum come out of your breast. Colostrum is dense in nutrients and the baby does need much to be full. TIP– have a Haakaa pump on hand to collect your breastmilk from the opposite boob whilst you feed from the other when your milk does come in. 

How long should a breastfeeding session last for?

At the new born stage, babies feed sporadically, from 5 minutes one feed to 30 minutes at another feed. Do not worry yourself by timing feeds, just feed until baby comes off the breast naturally. Ignore anybody that tells you that baby MUST FEED for 20 minutes minimum. This is a load of rubbish! Just feed, feed, feed, then feed some more in the early stages. Doing so will allow for plenty of opportunity for baby to communicate to the body that plenty of milk need to be made. 

What causes low milk supply?

A number of issues could lead to low milk supply such as –

  1. Baby may have a poor latch/ tongue tie. In which case they are not efficiently removing milk from the breast. 
  2. Mother may be suffering from a unknown hormonal imbalance. Hormones are a big part of the milk making process so if they are not balanced, it can affect breastmilk production. Hormonal conditions such as thyroids, PCOS and insulin resistance can all effect breastmilk supply. 
  3. Mother is not emptying breast often enough and therefore sending the message to the body that not a lot of milk needs to be made for the baby. 
  4. Supplementing with formula early on in your breastfeeding journey can cause breastmilk supply to drop because of the lack of demand on the body to make milk. Every breastfeed missed is a missed opportunity to communicate to the body to make more milk. 
  5. A high intake of peppermint, sage or parsley has been known to lower milk supply. 
  6. If you have real concerns about your breastfeeding supply, get in contact with a board certified Lactation consultant in your area. 

Why is my baby feeding so frequently and fussy at some times of the day?

This behaviour is very normal and is what we call cluster feeding (also known as bunch feeding). It is common for babies to feed more closely together during one time of the day and then spread out their feeds at another time. Cluster feeding tends to take place in the evenings. To help sooth baby, continue to feed them as frequently as they require and perhaps use a baby carrier in the evenings to keep baby close, making them feel safe and secure. 

When should I start pumping my breastmilk?

Unless you have to for pump for medical or personal reasons then it is not recommend to start pumping until 6 weeks postpartum. The reason being because it takes roughy that long for your milk supply to truly regulate. Also pumping too soon can cause you to have an oversupply of breastmilk which can be painful.

How can I stop bottle feeding and exclusively breastfeed?

You can do so gradually. Start by offering baby the breast at every feed first before offering the bottle even if nothing much comes out. At this stage it’s more about stimulating the breast then getting out lots of milk. Then reduce the amount of milk given via the bottle slowly over time. Pump during feeds and begin to replace bottle feeding times with breastfeeding. If your baby displays hunger cues after a feed then top them up with your own pumped breastmilk rather then formula. 

How do I know my baby is getting enough breastmilk? 

Simple! 1. Baby is having frequent bowls movements and having wet nappies. 2. Baby is having a slow and steady weight gain  and NOT losing weight. 3. After breastfeeding your breast should feel soft because they have been effectively drained. 

How often and how long should I feed my baby?

I highly suggest you don’t watch the clock and watch your babies for feeding cues so you can ‘demand feed’. This is when you don’t have set feeding times and feed baby whenever they display hunger cues such as turning their head from side to side or bringing their hand to their mouth. Its important to catch these early feeding cues because a crying baby is a usually a hungry baby. Demand feeding is by far the best way to maintain a good breastmilk supply and meet all of babies dietary needs. This type of feeding also gives hand in hand with attachment parenting which has a multitude of benefits on babies growth and development. 

Why do I get so little milk when I Pump?

The amount of milk you are able to pump is no real indication about how much breastmilk you really have. Breast pumps are not as efficient at removing breastmilk from the breast as human babies are. 

How do I get my baby to take a bottle ?

This is a very common problem mums face but there is not one method to it. You have to do a lot of trail and error. You may have to try different bottles. Hand baby over to your partner or family member when it’s feeding time so that they cannot smell your breastmilk. Lastly try warming the bottle teat so that it resembles the warmth of your breast. Unless you have a real reason (such as going back to work) to introduce a bottle do not feel like you have to. 

Can I start breastfeeding again if I stopped breastfeeding a while ago?

Yes, absolutely! Women can relactate at any stage or age. It has been known that grandmothers who stopped breastfeeding for decades previously are able stimulate their breastmilk supply and breastfeed again. Relactating is simply the act of stimulating the breast to make breastmilk again  and this can be done by bringing baby to the breast frequently. Taking a nursing vacation or using a supplementing nursing system (SNS) are also highly recommended.   

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