Breastfeeding Q & A
Many new mothers are surprised to discover breastfeeding their baby is a learned experience, with both the baby and the mom teaching each other. Today, many parents find themselves looking for additional support with breastfeeding and parenting, especially if their families do not live nearby. DayOne provides breastfeeding support through one on one Lactation Consultations, Breastfeeding and New Parent Groups, All About Pumping workshops and Prenatal Breastfeeding classes, as well as helpful, trained staff to guide you as you learn to breastfeed.
Here are some of the most common breastfeeding questions we are asked at DayOne. Feel free to contact us at DayOne for more information or call to schedule an appointment with our experienced, non-judgmental Lactation Consultants.
How often should I breastfeed my baby?
How long should feedings last?
How do I know if my baby is getting enough to eat?
What should I do if I have sore nipples?
When can I offer a bottle to my breastfed baby?
Once I start pumping, how often should I pump?
When is the best time to pump?
How long should I pump?
How can I make pumping easier?
How much milk should I pump?
How long can I store breastmilk?
How can I increase my milk supply?
Are there certain foods that help increase milk production?
Are there supplements I can take to help increase my milk supply?
Do other women experience the joys and challenges of breastfeeding I am experiencing?
Newborns need to feed 8-12 times in 24 hours. It is common for babies to feed every 1 ½ to 3 hours, especially in the first six weeks. Follow your baby’s lead to help establish your milk supply. Most babies tend to cluster feed in the late afternoon and early evening, needing to feed every hour or so yet may feed every three hours at night. It is important to wake your baby at least every three hours until your baby has regained his birth weight, usually by two weeks.
Feedings vary in length based on both the baby and the mom. Most babies feed anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes per breast, with the average being about 20 minutes. Some babies feed just on one breast while others need two breasts to have a full feeding. Watch your baby for signs that he is full- slowed sucking, few swallows, limp, relaxed arms and sleepiness. Your breast should also soften after a good feed.
A well-fed baby is a happy baby. Babies who are not eating enough are unsettled, fussy and act as if they are never satisfied. Tracking the amount of wets and poops your baby has every day is a good way of assuring yourself that she is doing fine. Most babies who are 5 days and older should have a wet diaper every diaper change, or at least 8 wets a day. It is common for most babies to have 2-8 yellow stools per day up to 6 weeks of age, at which time the amount of poops decreases. If you have concerns your baby isn’t peeing and pooping enough, contact your pediatric health care provider.
Another way to determine how your baby is doing between doctor visits is to weigh him. Most babies return to their birth weight by 2 weeks of age and then gain about an ounce a day until 12 weeks, at which point the gain slows down to ½ ounce per day.
DayOne has the most accurate Baby Weigh Scales available 7 days a week, so drop by if you are concerned. Many local pediatricians refer their patients to DayOne for weight checks in between visits. Our staff will be happy to instruct you in use of the scales, including determining how much your baby took in during a feed by doing pre-and post feed weights.
For many women, receiving help with positioning and latching their baby helps minimize sore nipples. DayOne's Lactation Consultants are available six days a week to help you with latching to minimize soreness and help resolve and help sore nipples. DayOne recommends MotherLove’s Nipple Cream as an effective, organic way to help heal damaged nipples.
It is generally recommended to wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks old before introducing a bottle. The first 3-4 weeks are important for establishing your milk supply and helping your baby learn to breastfeed, so introducing a bottle sooner may interfere with this process.
The answer depends on why you are pumping. If breastfeeding is going well and you are pumping to collect milk to offer your baby a bottle a few times a week, pumping once a day, a few days a week, is usually all that is necessary.
However, if you are pumping to help increase your milk supply, you may be want to pump after as many feeds as possible to help stimulate production. Renting the hospital grade Symphony pump may be your best option if you are planning frequent pumping in the first month to help increase your milk supply. Stop by or call DayOne for expert advice on which pump to use and when, given your specific circumstances.
Pumping in between feedings (an hour before or an hour after a feed) will allow you to collect milk without interfering the baby's next feeding. Pumping after a feed encourages more milk to be made but will not allow you to collect the most amount of milk.
If using a double electric pump such as Medela’s Pump In Style, Freestyle or Symphony hospital grade breastpumps, pumping for 15-20 minutes should be appropriate. If using a hand pump or a single electric pump, 15-20 minutes per breast is recommended.
A hands free bustier such as the Simple Wishes bustier can make a tremendous difference in your comfort and your ability to multi-task while pumping. Also, DayOne offers a helpful workshop called All About Pumping that can give you many suggestions and tips for pumping.
Pumping should not hurt, so if you are experiencing discomfort or pain when pumping, seek help. You may need a different size breastshield for the pump or your pump may not be working appropriately. DayOne's staff is happy to assist you in determining the correct size breastshield and checking your pump. No appointment is necessary.
This helpful chart that helps you determine how much milk your baby needs in 24 hours based on their weight. Once you locate your baby's weight in pounds and ounces, look to the next column to the right and you will find the amount of milk needed in 24 hours. Next, divide that amount by how many feeds your baby is doing in 24 hours and you will arrive at the amount of milk needed for one feed. Most 7-8 pound babies need about 16 ounces of milk in 24 hours or about 2 ounces per feed if feeding 8 times a day.
Because breastmilk is a living fluid, like blood, it is safe to leave freshly pumped milk out at room temperature for 6-8 hours. After 6-8 hours, if you are not planning on using the milk right away, place the milk in the refrigerator where it can stay fresh for 3-5 days. Or, freeze the milk where it will keep for 3-6 months, depending on how cold your freezer is. DayOne's All About Pumping workshop goes into much more detail on storing, warming, freezing and defrosting milk.
Milk supply is based on supply and demand. The more frequently you nurse or pump and drain the breast, the more you tell your body to make more milk. If you skip feeds, the fullness tells your breasts to slow down milk production since the milk wasn’t removed. The best way to increase your milk supply is to spend 48 hours focusing on nursing as many times as possible. Many women take a "nursing vacation" and bring the baby to bed with them for these 48 hours, shutting down everything else other than feeding their baby. The results can be dramatic!
Every culture seems to have identified foods that help moms make more milk. Although there isn’t much scientific research in this area, oatmeal (steel cut, not instant) is currently the most recommended food for increasing supply. Also, drinking to thirst is important as not drinking enough could impact your milk supply as well as drinking too much. Water is the ideal liquid to drink.
Yes, many supplements such as Fenugreek, MotherLove's More Milk Plus, and Goat's Rue have been shown to help increase milk supply for many women. In addition, DayOne has a specially formulated multivitamin and mineral supplement designed just for breastfeeding and new moms called New Mother's Essentials. Speak to one of DayOne's Lactation Team for recommendations based on your specific needs.
Absolutely. One of the best ways to learn about breastfeeding is from other mothers. DayOne offers weekly drop in Breastfeeding Groups at our Palo Alto and San Francisco locations as well as New Parent Groups facilitated by board certified Lactation Consultants in all locations. These groups provide an ideal setting to ask questions and learn tips and tricks to make breastfeeding an enjoyable experience for you and your baby.