Breastfeeding FAQs: A Guide To All Your Nursing Queries

Updated at: Aug 07, 2019
Breastfeeding FAQs: A Guide To All Your Nursing Queries

Here are some important and frequently asked questions related to breastfeeding and its solutions by an expert. Get to know how to make your breastfeeding experience a smooth one with these suggestions

Vani Malik
Women's HealthWritten by: Vani MalikPublished at: Aug 07, 2019

Motherhood is one of the most celebrated and rewarding experiences of any female's life. Although new moms around the world are always hungry for the right advice and information, they get caught up with the overload of information passed down by their elders or friends.  If you are a new mom, you too will have some questions regarding breastfeeding. Here are answers to some of the most common queries that you might be having:

How to know that baby is breastfeeding enough?

This is one of the most common questions among the breastfeeding moms. To know if the baby is getting enough milk, the following factors can be considered

Frequency of feeding: for a term newborn, meaning on born after completion of 37 weeks of pregnancy, feeding on demand is OK. That way the infant demands feeding 8-12 times a day for the first week of life and it can come down a bit by the fourth week of life.  However, for preterm infants, the paediatrician may advise giving feeding by clock, since these babies need more care and perseverance during breast feeding

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2019: Step By Step Guide On How To Breastfeed A Baby

Passing enough urine: If the baby is passing urine 6-8 times a day, it is almost certainly getting enough milk

Stools: If adequately fed, baby will have three or more pale yellow or greenish and seedy stools daily

Weight monitoring: All the above mentioned ways are good indicators of adequate feeding, but the definite one is indeed checking the babies weight. Term babies lose upto 7% of their birth weight in the first 7 days of life, but should gain back that weight within the next two weeks. If the baby continues to lose weight beyond the first week or loses more than 10% of the birth weight, breast feeding is not adequate

What is the right time to introduce solid food?

The baby must be breastfed for the first 6 months. However, at the age of 4 to 6 months, the baby is ready to take in some solid food. But, again it is highly recommended that the food must only be given after the first 6 months.  At this age, the baby learns how to swallow and improves the coordination to move solid food from the front of the mouth to the back. 

How to ensure adequate milk supply?

To ensure adequate milk supply, you must first understand that the production of milk in your body is directly related to how much of it is consumed. You may simply use breast pumps to extract some of the milk and ensure that it is produced in the right amounts. Also, breastfeed the baby after every 2-3 hours and maintain a good level of skin-to-skin contact.

Is breastfeeding supposed to painful?

If the baby is properly latched to your breasts, you may experience the pain from 30 to 60 seconds due to the areola and nipple being pulled into the baby’s mouth. The pain should subside after that. But, if you continue to feel the pain you can try pausing the feeding and repositioning your baby on the breasts. In case, the pain is persistent throughout, the doctor must be consulted.

Also read: How to Breastfeed a Newborn? 

Is there anything one should not eat or drink while breastfeeding?

A breastfeeding mother can definitely eat whatever she likes unless it is not harmful to the baby. There is no major limitation to as what a breastfeeding mother should or should not eat, but there are surely some food items whose consumption should be limited. A breastfeeding mother should refrain from consuming too much caffeine, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, fish that may contain mercury, very spicy food, etc.  

Can I consume alcohol while breastfeeding?

Yes, you can consume alcohol while breastfeeding a child, but not consuming alcohol is considered to be the safest option for mothers. Mothers can drink up to 1 standard drink (less than one small glass of wine or a pint of beer or 30 ml of hard drinks) every day as it is not known to cause any harmful effect on the infant. Also, the mothers are advised to wait for at least 2 hours (3-4 hours better)  after a drink to nurse the baby. Consuming more than a moderate level of alcohol may affect breast milk and negatively impact the health of the baby. It may create problems in an infant’s sleep patterns and in its proper growth and development.  High Alcohol consumption may also impair a mother’s judgment and ability to safely take care of her child.

Does a breastfeeding mother need to eat more in order to produce more milk?

It is rightly said that you are what you eat and so is your baby. Whatever you eat impacts the health of your baby. If a breastfeeding mother doesn’t eat and take nutrition in the right amount, the health of the child will be impacted. It is advised that a breastfeeding mother should eat nutritious food and take 500 calories extra per day over her pre pregnancy diet. Else, the production of milk will be affected. In addition you should make sure that the you eat 20 gms extra protein every day. Thus adding up glasses of low fat milk, nuts, dal will help. For mothers desirous of losing some of the weight as well, there is a middle ground: they have to keep the daily calories in the range of 1800-2000. But any plan for weight loss should weight for the first three months, so that the baby’s feeding rhythm and requirement are in order

Also Read: Midlife Mistakes: Things Women Should Avoid While Growing Old

How often should one feed the baby?

It is usually recommended that babies must be fed whenever they are hungry. This is called the demand feeding or feeding on demand.  But as they grow and their tummies can hold more milk, they must be fed after every 3 to 4 hours. 

Should one give formula supplements to the baby along with breastfeeding?

Yes, one can give formula supplements to the baby along with breastfeeding after 6 months of age. However, the paediatrician must be consulted prior to deciding which formula based food must be given

Can a mother breastfeed the baby while being ill or taking medications?

Yes, mothers can breastfeed the baby while they are ill or taking medication in many common health conditions where the doctor chooses mother’s medicine being mindful about her need to feed . However, there are some medicines which if passed on through the breast milk may cause harm to the baby. The doctor must be consulted regarding this. 

With inputs from Dr Binita Priyambada, Senior Consultant, Medical Team at

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