Breastfeeding FAQ's

  1. How often do I breastfeed the baby?
    “You should put the baby to breast as quickly as possible after birth and then whenever you see signs of hunger. Signs of hunger at this age include rooting, acting fussy, or even just being alert. An awake baby is usually a hungry baby! Breastfeeding will go smoothest if you allow free access to the breast whenever your baby shows interest. If it has been 3 hours since the last feeding and she has not yet awoken to feed, gently arouse her to attempt a feed. If your baby is interested again soon after a feeding, try to feed her again even if it has been only a few minutes since you last fed her. During the first 24 hours, she may seem more tired and may not want to feed every time you try. That is usually ok, but you can ask us if you are concerned.
  1. How do I know the baby is latched well? Infant should stay on the breast continuously during the feeding. It is normal for infant to have intermittent sucking while at the breast. Full cheeks and flanged lips also indicate a good latch. You should feel a strong pulling or tugging while infant is sucking. Usually dimpled cheeks or a clicking sound indicate that the infant is not well latched.
  1. How long should a feeding last? A good feeding should be about 10 min or more with bursts of sucking followed by pauses. Don’t limit the time the baby is at the breast unless there’s significant discomfort/pain or any other reason that warrants removing the baby from the breast.
  1. My baby seems constantly hungry. “When your baby is a day or two old, it is common for him to go through a period where he seems ravenously hungry and wants to feed all the time. This is called cluster feeding. If often happens just before the colostrum transitions to higher volume milk. The best thing you can do in this situation is to continue to offer your breast. The more your baby suckles, the more your baby will receive, even if it feels like there is nothing left. Cluster feeding can feel frustrating, but try not to worry. Your baby will seem more satisfied after feeds once your higher volume milk comes in around 2-4 days after birth. If you are concerned about your baby’s feeding pattern, please ask us and we can help."
  1. How do I know the baby is getting enough milk? The early milk called colostrum is available for your baby in a small amount, about a teaspoon per feeding. Whether a breastfeeding baby is getting enough breast milk is determined by the infants overall health. Your nurse and Pediatrician are looking at the number of diapers, weight loss, vital signs, and daily examinations to determine the health of your baby. Your doctor or your nurse will let you know if they have any concerns about the amount of breast milk the baby is getting.
  1. Can I give my baby a pacifier? Research shows that early use of pacifiers can lead to breastfeeding problems; therefore it is recommended that a pacifier should be introduced to an infant after breastfeeding is well established which is usually in about 2 weeks.
  1. I don’t have any milk and my baby seems so hungry! I think I need some formula! Should I supplement with some formula until my milk comes in! “We have formula available that you can request if you desire. However, let me provide you with some information about why we recommend feeding only from the breast while you are here. After that, you can let me know what you would like to do. There are many benefits of breastfeeding, including less illness for you and your baby over many years. Even a little bit of formula early on can derail your attempts to breastfeed. Therefore, we will encourage you to feed your baby exclusively from the breast while you are here unless there is a medical reason to offer formula. Your nurse and pediatrician will watch your baby’s feeding pattern, wet and dirty diapers, and weight every day to be sure it looks like your baby is nursing well. We will provide you with lots of lactation support to help your baby latch. Please let us know if you have any concerns about how breastfeeding is going, and if you do decide that you would like formula you can let us know.”
  1. Should I feed the baby on both sides? After the infant is done breast-feeding on one side, if the infant is awake and interested offer the second side. It depends on the infant whether they will nurse on both sides. It’s always best to offer both sides the first few days until more milk comes in. If you only nurse on one side at a feeding offer the opposite breast during the next feeding. If infant feeds on both sides at a feeding, offer the side you ended with during the previous feeding to provide enough stimulation for both breasts.
  1. How can I get help with breastfeeding once I’m home?
    1. Breastfeeding Helpline – 240-566-3880
    2. Breastfeeding support group meets every Friday at FMH in the mother/baby classroom from 1:30pm-3:00pm.
    3. Breastfeeding education material in the admission packet
    4. FMH website