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The Most Common Questions New Moms Ask About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is nature-made, but it doesn’t always come naturally.

Chesapeake Regional Healthcare offers lactation support in the hospital, because it is only natural for new moms to need guidance with something they have never done before.  

The Most Common Questions New Moms Ask About Breastfeeding

Lactation professionals are here to support you with any questions or concerns you may have. If you are preparing for birth, or are planning to breastfeed in the future, it’s great that you are reading up. The following is a sneak peek at the most common questions we receive and the answers we share with our patients:

When will my milk come in?

Many mothers first seek out lactation professional when they are worried that they don’t have any milk because they cannot feel a change in their breasts. The good news is that every new mother has colostrum. Colostrum, a nutrient-rich substance meant for baby’s first few days, is produced by the placenta, present throughout pregnancy and available immediately after delivery. It is thick and concentrated and best removed by baby's mouth or via hand expression (something that can be taught by a lactation consultant or via videos.

It is what nature intended your baby to eat first, because it is filled with antibodies to protect your baby against disease and helps baby to pass meconium (baby’s first stool), reducing the risk of jaundice. After about three days, your mature milk supply comes in and you may feel fullness in your breasts.

How do I know if baby is old enough to eat?

Within the first 24 hours of life, baby should breastfeed at least four times for five minutes or more, and should experience at least one wet and one dirty diaper. Any additional urine or stool should be considered a “bonus.” One of each is all that is required to ensure baby is receiving enough milk.

We recommend tracking diaper changes and feedings for the first few weeks at least. You can do this either by using an app on your phone (any of the free, highly rated apps will work just fine) or on paper.

Because you can't measure what is going in, you have to watch what comes out. If a breastfed baby is getting enough to grow and gain weight, you should see at least three yellow mustard-colored stools per day after your milk comes in, and for the first six weeks of life. Regular weigh-ins can also help, as can a test weigh—this is a double weigh-in, during which you weigh you baby pre- and post-feeding, subtracting the difference to ensure baby has gained at least a little weight. A lactation consultant, pediatric nurse or provider can walk you through this more thoroughly.

Does/should breastfeeding hurt?

The breastfeeding experience is different for everyone, but it should not hurt if done correctly. Pain is a sign that something is not right. Some tenderness is to be expected, but broken skin, bleeding or blistering is not normal. Most of the time, if there is pain it can be corrected by changing positioning or tweaking the baby’s latch-on technique. Don't just settle for any latch, if it hurts, seek help.

As with anything new, the first few days of motherhood can be overwhelming. Breastfeeding is no different. With practice, patience—and possibly even a bit of help—your journey can be a successful one.

**This article was updated August 2021 to represent Chesapeake Regional’s updates to lactation services.

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mom kissing baby

Jessica Williams is a Licensed Practical Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has more than 12 years of experience working with new moms, including as a Mother Baby Nurse and an IBCLC.

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