Frequently Asked Questions About Breastfeeding

  1. When will my milk come in?
    Milk production begins around the midpoint of pregnancy. For most mothers, milk will "come in" (increase in quantity and begin the change from colostrum to mature milk) between postpartum days 2 and 5.
  2. How do I know when my baby is hungry?
    Babies should be fed when they indicate hunger by showing cues. Some hunger cues include licking lips, sticking tongue out, hand to mouth motions, fidgeting and positioning for nursing. Crying is a late indicator of hunger. Breastfeeding families and caregivers should keep an observant eye on baby at all times.
  3. Does breastfeeding hurt?
    Breastfeeding should not hurt. There may be some discomfort at first, but the more you nurse the easier it becomes. If your baby is latched on and positioned properly, you should not feel pain. You should feel a gentle “tug”, but no pain. AABA
  4. Is breastmilk really good for my baby?
    Yes! Years of research has found that breastmilk is the most nutritious food to feed infants, to protect them from illnesses, allergies, and long term diseases. Breastfed infants have lower rates of infections, and other medical problems than bottled fed babies. AABA
  5. When should I start breastfeeding?
    You should nurse your baby soon as possible after birth, especially when your baby is awake and the sucking instinct is strongest. It is best to breastfeed your baby in the first hour after your baby is born. AABA
  6. How long do I need to breastfed?
    It is recommended that babies be fed breastmilk exclusively for the first six months. Breastfeeding should continue in addition to appropriate complimentary foods through at least the first year of life.  You may keep breastfeeding as long as both you and your baby want afterward. Any amount of breastfeeding is better than none at all.  AABA and AAP
  7. Can I breastfeed if I smoke or use street drugs?
    Smoking cigarettes or other drugs is unhealthy.  However, if you cannot stop cigarette smoking, you can still breastfeed. Smoke outdoors away from your baby. Ask others to do the same. It is recommended that breastfeeding moms not use street drugs because they are harmful to both the mother and her baby. AABA
  8. What do I do when I need to breastfeed outside my home?
    You can breastfeed in public, by wearing clothes that allow easy access to your breast, by placing a small blanket over your baby and your breast. You can also buy a nursing cover or sling for added privacy. Mothers may breastfeed in DC in any public place they are legally allowed. AABA
  9. What foods do I need to eat?
    You can enjoy the foods that you normally eat. It is rare, but if you notice that your baby gets fussy or gassy after you have eaten a certain food, your baby may be sensitive to that food. It is wise that you eat a healthy, well balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables. LLL The Breastfeeding Answer Book
  10. Can I take medication if I am breastfeeding?
    Most prescriptions and over –the- counter medications can be taken when breastfeeding. The amount of a drug found in mother’s milk is usually no more than 1 to 2% of the mother’s dose taken. You should always check with your health care provider before taking any medications. You can also check the Lactmed Drugs and Lactation Database in the Additional Resources. LLL The Breastfeeding Answer Book
  11. How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
    If your baby has 6 or more wet diapers daily, and at least 2 bowel movements, and gains ˝ to 1 ounce a day, you can feel sure that your baby is getting enough milk. Make sure you see your baby’s doctor a few days your baby is discharged from the hospital AABA

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Medical Disclaimer: The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems, breastfeeding problems, or to take the place of professional medical care. If you have persistent breastfeeding problems, or if you have further questions, please consult your health care provider. The DC Breastfeeding Coalition does not share partnership with, or have any vested interest in, any of the businesses that may appear on this site, or sites that may be accessible by links herein contained.
Last Updated: June 2018