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Breastfeeding Q & A




Breastfeeding Q & A


Maybe you have heard this statement—or something like it, “Breastfeeding is natural, but it isn’t always easy.” Many first-time mothers have lots of questions about nursing. Your Tennessee Family Doula will answer all these questions as part of your postpartum in-home care and support.


Here are some of the most common questions we hear from our breastfeeding mommas (and our answers):


  • How can I know if my baby is getting enough to eat? Weight gain; regular feedings; good latching, sucking, and swallowing; and daily wet and soiled diapers are all good signs that your baby is getting enough to eat.


  • Is it normal to have sore nipples? Yes, this is normal, especially when you first begin breastfeeding. Here are a few things you can do:

    • Make sure your baby is positioned well and has a good latch.

    • Use your finger in the corner of your baby’s mouth to break the suction before you remove him from the breast.

    • Use a nursing cream between feeding to soothe sore or cracked nipples.

    • Wear nursing pads in your bra and change them often. Moisture can irritate your nipples or cause an infection.


  • What if we were in a good feeding routine, but now my baby is fussy and eating A LOT more than usual? When your baby is going through a growth spurt, you will notice things like this. Your baby needs to eat more to increase milk production. Usually, you will settle into a new routine in 2-3 days.


  • I have a spot on my breast that is tender and sore—what can I do? Most often, this spot or lump is caused by a plugged duct that isn’t draining properly. Here are some important steps to take:

    • Apply warm, moist cloths or take a hot shower.

    • Rub from the spot down to your nipple while you are nursing.

    • Begin feeding from the affected breast first and nurse more frequently.

    • Make sure your bra isn’t too tight and that you don’t put anything too tight across your breast (like a strap or seatbelt).


  • Why won’t my baby eat? Sometimes after nursing well for a period of time, a baby goes on a “nursing strike.” This can happen because your baby is sick, distracted, or your routine has been interrupted (like if you are traveling). Your baby can also be reacting to new smells on you (perfumes, soap, or detergent) or a low milk supply. Don’t give up! Try different nursing positions, move to a quiet place, and keep to your schedule. If the problem persists, talk to your medical provider.


  • Can I have TOO MUCH milk? Yes, when your breasts feel very full—and maybe even painful—this is called engorgement. Here are some ways to get relief:

    • Breastfeed often.

    • May sure the baby is latching properly.

    • Message your breasts during feedings, moving from your chest to your nipple. This helps stimulate milk flow.

    • You can express or pump a little milk before your baby nurses to help soften the breast and make it easier for her to latch.

    • Don’t pump too much. That will encourage more milk production.


  • What is Mastitis? Mastitis is an infection that can be caused by engorgement, blocked milk ducts, or fatigue. You may have flu-like symptoms and fever. Definitely call your medical provider if you think you have mastitis. You may need an antibiotic. You CAN continue to breastfeed if you have mastitis. You are going to need extra rest, so call on your circle of family and friends (or reach out to Tennessee Family Doulas)!


  • What is Thrush? Thrush is a yeast infection. It can appear on your nipples and in your baby's mouth (it looks like white spots on baby's gums, tongue, and cheeks). You are going to need some antifungal medication, good handwashing, and to sterilize all clothing, toys, pacifiers, etc. that came in contact with your breast or baby’s mouth.


Always feel free to call your doctor, midwife, doula, or lactation specialist with questions about breastfeeding! And, I know we’ve recommended it before . . . The Nursing Mother’s Companion is a great book to have while you are nursing.


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