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Health Babies - Breastfeeding

Health Babies - Breastfeeding

FAQs

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
Does babies’ poop look different than a formula fed baby?
How often should I breastfeed?
How long should a feeding last?
Do I need a special diet while breast feeding?
If I am sick, should I still breastfeed?
If I smoke, should I breastfeed?
Are prescription drugs safe to take?
Can I still get pregnant while I breastfeed?
Will I have a menstrual period while nursing?

 

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
You will hear swallows.  Baby nurses 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. You get 5 to 7 wet diapers by day five and 4 or more poops the size of a quarter or larger, per day. Baby will have yellow poop and clear or pale yellow urine by day 5. Baby is active and alert, happy and satisfied after breast feeding. 

Does babies’ poop look different than a formula fed baby?
Yes. It even smells different! It doesn’t smell bad. When babies are born, they have a black tarry stool called merconium for a few days. Then the poop changes to a brownish color to greenish then to yellow.  Breastfed babies’ poop looks yellow by about day five. It can be watery or look like mucus or have little seedy looking or cottage cheese looking particles in it. Breastfed babies poop about 4 times a day for several weeks. As they get older, they may have fewer but bigger poops. Around 4 to 6 months of age baby may change their patterns and not have poops for several days and that is normal. 

How often should I breastfeed?
It is best to feed on demand when they show signs of hunger such as rooting at the breast, chewing their fists, and sticking out their tongue. Do not wait until your baby cries. In 24 hours, a baby should breastfeed 8 to 12 times. They need night feedings, too. 

How long should a feeding last?
Times vary for babies. Some even nurse just one breast at a time. 10 to 15 minutes on each breast or 15 to 30 minutes on one breast. Remember to burp baby. Usually the baby knows when they are done. If he doesn’t nurse well on the first breast, burp him and put him back on the first breast. Sometimes one is all they take. 

Do I need a special diet while breast feeding?
You don’t need a special diet-you want to be sure you’re eating healthy. Ask your doctor if you need to be taking supplemental vitamins. You can eat anything you want while you’re breastfeeding. A few babies do become fussy when mom eats spicy or gassy food so, if this happens, just avoid that item for awhile and try again in a few weeks. You do not need to drink milk to make milk. You may become thirstier so you want to drink enough fluids to satisfy your thirst. Caffeine in moderation is usually o.k. If baby is fussy about an hour after you have a caffeinated drink, you may want to cut back on caffeinated pop, coffee, or tea. 

If I am sick, should I still breastfeed?
You can continue to breast feed while you are ill. You are usually exposed to an illness a few days before you become sick and your milk contains antibodies your body has made to fight the illness. So the baby may not become as sick he could be without the breast milk or not even become sick at all. 

If  I smoke should I breastfeed?
Most moms try to cut way back on their smoking and even manage to quit. Breastfeeding is better than formula feeding even if you smoke.  The breast milk is healthier for the baby than formula and the milk helps to counter some of the harmful effects of smoking. Nicotine levels are lower if you smoke after nursing your baby instead of before. Don’t smoke near your baby and remember to wash your face as well as your hands after you smoke. Remind others who may hold and kiss your baby to do the same. Smoking increases risk for SIDS, allergies, bronchitis, colic, diarrhea, and reflux to name a few. The nicotine patches may be a safe way for you to quit smoking as you get less nicotine in the dose than in smoking. NEVER smoke marijuana. It is dangerous for your baby and is illegal. The drug enters the bloodstream rapidly and peaks in breast milk within an hour of smoking. It can affect a baby’s blood chemistry for up to a month and in the urine 2 to 3 weeks after smoking. A baby is at a greater risk for SIDS, has decreased brain development and altered brain cells. 

Are prescription drugs safe to take?
Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or lactation consultant before taking over the counter or prescription drugs. The majority are safe because the drug may not be passed into the breast milk or diluted in the mother’s body. There are books available that have researched drugs safety and most lactation consultants have access to them. 

Can I still get pregnant while I breastfeed?
Yes, you can! Ask your doctor about the best form of birth control for you. Estrogens in birth control pills may decrease milk supply, so you may want to choose another form of birth control or have the doctor prescribe a lower dose of estrogen pill. 

Will I have a menstrual period while nursing?
Everyone is different so you may or may not have a period. If you r period resumes you can still continue to nurse. You may notice a lower supply of milk a few days before and during your period but if you nurse more frequently, the supply usually returns. Nursing more frequently will satisfy baby, too.