Frequently Asked Questions
For how many weeks or months should I breastfeed or give breast milk?
Any amount of time spent breastfeeding is good for your baby-though the longer, the better. Experts recommend that you give only breast milk and no formula, water or food until the baby is about six months old. Then you add baby foods and continue to feed your baby breast milk or formula or both.
Can I produce enough milk?
Almost every woman - no matter how small or large her breasts are - can make more than enough milk for her baby. To get the milk, your baby needs to be latched on well and nurse often.
At each feeding, how long should my baby stay on the breast?
Let your baby nurse until he is satisfied, often from 10 to 20 minutes on each breast. If it seems like your baby is nursing for too long or not long enough, check with a lactation consultant or doctor.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough food?
Your baby will let you know when she is satisfied. Often, when a baby is satisfied, her hands and body are relaxed, she'll remove her mouth from the nipple or will fall asleep. There are other signs that your baby is getting enough. She'll be gaining weight, as your doctor will be able to tell you. Also, the amount of urine and number and appearance of bowel movements she has each day can help you know that she is nursing well. This table will guide you:
Can I breastfeed if I'm sick?
During most illnesses, such as colds, flu and other infections, it is important to continue to breastfeed because breastfeeding gives your baby the antibodies to protect against infection. If you are worried that your illness might hurt your baby, talk with your health care provider, especially if you have to go into the hospital. In most cases, you can pump your milk and have a family member give it to the baby until you recover, with your provider's permission. There are very few conditions where mothers should avoid breastfeeding (HIV-positive mothers, for example, should not breastfeed).
Can I breastfeed if I take medication?
Most prescribed and over-the-counter medications are safe to take when breastfeeding. However, there are some medications (including some birth control pills and herbal remedies) that should not be used by breastfeeding mothers. Speak with your health care provider about any medications you take to be certain that they are safe to take when breastfeeding.
Can I breastfeed if I smoke?
Mothers who smoke can still breastfeed. Of course, it is better that you not smoke-BUT, if you continue to smoke, it is still better to breastfeed than formula-feed. Whether you breastfeed or formula-feed, you should not smoke in the same home as your baby. Secondhand smoke is harmful to babies and can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and asthma. If you need help or want to find a local quit smoking program, call 311.
Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Most prescribed and over-the-counter medications are safe to take when While you are nursing, it is best not to drink alcohol. An occasional, single drink is okay, but drink just after you nurse rather than just before.