Last Updated on October 19, 2022 by Marie Bautista
First time moms are encouraged to breastfeed. And I tell you, you first time moms. Breastfeeding is not easy! It certainly was not for me – but I persisted! I was able to breastfeed my youngest for five years! Seriously! While working!
By the way, in celebration of Breastfeeding Week which is happening on August 1-7, our friends at Milkology (they offer awesome breastfeeding classes, you guys) are offering a whopping 30% discount on all their classes! My fave is this – The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class – where you can learn everything you need to know in under 90 minutes!
Here are 15 Questions New Moms May Have About Breastfeeding.
1. Does breastfeeding hurt?
It does! It does! I am not kidding!
In the first two weeks of nursing, your nipples may ache. This can make nursing uncomfortable and can make you want to give up nursing!
Nursing should not be acutely painful. And if you do feel some pain, your baby may not be properly latched or positioned correctly on your breast, especially if your baby has grasped just the tip of your nipple. He needs to be latched on to your areola (the dark skin around the nipple). This would make breastfeeding not painful.
One of the books that really got me to persevere in breastfeeding was this book. It got my baby and I through the roughest part of establishing breast feeding.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Completely Revised and Updated 8th EditionClick for More Info
2. Will breastfeeding make me lose weight?
Some experts claim that you don’t, but my personal experience says, “Oh, yes! It does!” I was eating like a horse when I was breastfeeding – because breastfeeding can make you extremely hungry and thirsty – but I was at my pre-pregnancy weight in a month.
I am not really sure about the science behind the weight loss, but it sure is an awesome side-effect to breastfeeding! Here is a great book to make you learn about the basics of eating well and losing weight while breastfeeding
3. What special foods do I need to include in my diet while breastfeeding?
I am Filipino and well, you know how Filipino moms and grandmothers are about breastfeeding.
They prepare tinola (chicken broth) with lots of malunggay and ginger. I sure do have lots of breastmilk after I take the chicken broth.
What the…all you Filipinos out there would love this shirt!
Malunggay is now marketed as a lactation aid and packaged in a capsule:
Does malunggay work?
I swear it does.
How can our fore-mothers (he-he) be wrong? It is time tested and I am a living testament!
Aside from malunggay, a healthy breastfeeding diet is the sam as any healthy diet. You need your lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies, and dairy products.
4. Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Some moms claim a little red wine makes them have more milk.
Other moms claim a bottle of beer increases their milk supply.
This mom can claim nothing because I never drank alcohol while breastfeeding
You see, how can you be so sure that only tiny amounts of alcohol can get into breast milk? And how sure are you that your baby won’t be vulnerable to small amounts of alcohol, especially if you drink alcohol on a daily basis?
My advice: don’t even try to drink alcohol while breastfeeding.
5. What effects will breastfeeding have on my body?
Breastfeeding triggers the release of two hormones:
- oxytocin which stimulates milk release and gives you that loving, fuzzy, motherly behavior and
- prolactin which encourages insulin metabolism and gives you that nesting drive and the feeling of protectiveness over your baby.
For moms who claim that breastfeeding gives you sagging breasts, that is not entirely true. Women, whether they breastfed or not, will probably have sagging breasts after pregnancy and as they age.
Just always remember that your breast size will be larger while breastfeeding, so make sure you support the extra weight by wearing a nursing bra.
Surewin Womens Seamless Nursing Bra Breastfeeding Bralette With Remove Bra Pads ExtendersCheck for your size!CAKYE Cotton Racerback Maternity Nursing Sleep Bra Breastfeeding Bralette 3Pack (Large/38B,38C,38D, Black/Navy/Grey 3PACK)Check for your size!FOMANSH 3PACK Seamless Nursing Bra,Maternity Bra For Breastfeeding With Extenders&Clips LCheck for your size!HOEREV Cotton Soft Nursing Maternity Non-wired Breast Feeding Bra,40A,S4_PinkFlowerCheck for your size!Gooket Women’s Cotton Front Button Nursing Bra Maternity Feeding Wireless Pregnant Bra Light Green Size 2XLCheck for your size!
6. Does breastfeeding prevent pregnancy?
Oh, yes, it does!
As long as you are nursing full time, breastfeeding can be a reliable contraceptive – providing a 98% protection from pregnancy as most other birth control choices available today.
7. Will I have trouble feeding my baby if my breasts are very small?
Filipinas tend to have small breasts. I often encounter pregnant women who claim they may not breastfeed their baby because their breasts are small.
Small breast size does not mean you won’t be able to provide milk for your baby. Small-breasted women have the same milk-making glands and milk ducts as women who have larger breasts!
So don’t even make your breast size an excuse for not breastfeeding.
(And oh, even if you claim you have small breasts, they will become bigger when you breast feed 🙂 )
8. Can I breastfeed with flat or inverted nipples?
Many women have this problem.
To find out if your nipples are truly flat or inverted, gently grasp the nipple at its base between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze. If your nipple protrudes in response to this pinch test, you have no need to worry.
Don’t overthink about your flat or inverted nipples because when your baby begins to nurse, you will be surprised that your nipples will naturally elongate, making it easy for your baby to latch and suckle.
But if you truly want to make sure that you will be able to breastfeed even if you have flat or inverted nipples, there are some devices to draw out inverted nipples prenatally.
I have used breast shells which I I wore on my last trimester for several hours a day inside a roomy bra.
These breast shells placed constant, gentle pressure on the area around the nipple, encouraging the nipples to protrude.
Medela SoftShells for Inverted NipplesClick for more info!Casa Vita Nipple Pullers or Everters for Flat and Inverted Nipples – 1 Pair with Travel CaseClick for more info!Momma Bear Nipple Shields, 6 shields, 3 cases & FREE Baby toothbrush Best for FLAT/INVERTED/CRACKED nipplesClick for more info!
Probably the safest, most effective treatment is to team up with a lactation consultant who has experience with inverted nipple problems. A lactation consultant would be able to help pull out your nipples and help you to to compress your areola between your fingers as you guide your newborn’s mouth to your breast.
9. Do I need to toughen my nipples during pregnancy and/or use special creams and lotions to prepare for breastfeeding?
The best and safest way to prepare your breasts for nursing is to leave them alone!
That was what my OB-Gyne advised me to do.
However, due to the wisdom of my grandmother, I rubbed coconut oil on my nipples with the hope that the oil will make them resilient, without any pain or discomfort, while nursing.
I believe the oil worked.
Also, proper positioning of your baby on your breast will help prevent your nipples from becoming tender.
Also, the secretions from your Montgomery tubercles, the glands that sit under the little bumps on your areola, provide natural lubrication as well as cleansing of your nipples.
Finally, don’t use soap, alcohol, or other harsh cleaning agents in an attempt to desensitize your nipples, since these products will only dry out and irritate your skin and thus make your nipples more susceptible to soreness and cracking.
10. I must return to work within a few weeks after giving birth – will I have to wean then?
You don’t have to!
Many work areas now provide a place for breastfeeding.
Like I told you, I managed to breastfeed my youngest for years, full time!
All you need is dedication and a good breast pump.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go ToteClick for more info!Spectra Baby USA – S1 Hospital Grade Double/Single Electric Breast Pump – Rechargeable BatteryClick for more info!Philips Avent Double Electric SCF334/22 Breast Pump, WhiteClick for more info!Medela Sonata Smart Breast PumpClick for more info!
One of my favorite breast pumps (I had three) is this manual one from Avent (I work on field and the electric ones are hard to use!):
11. Will I be completely tied down by nursing?
For the first month or two, yes, you will be tied down to nursing.
But! It won’t really be a big deal because you will love nursing your child.
And after the first two months, you can pump your milk and put it in the ref for those times when you need to go out and you would not want your baby to drink any other milk.
Still, breastfeeding a baby ties you down, especially if you begin to compare your post- and prebaby mobility.
However, you might be surprised to discover that this fact doesn’t bother you as much as you thought it would. Although it is inevitable that you will regret not having the freedom you once had at times, your love for your newborn and your desire to keep close to him may supplant many of your feelings of being too homebound.
12. Can labor medications affect my ability to nurse my baby?
The most commonly used labor pain blocker, epidural anesthesia, shouldn’t have any effect on your baby’s ability to nurse.
Another commonly used painkiller, Demerol, can affect your newborn if it is administered less than two hours prior to delivery. A newborn who has high levels of Demerol in her bloodstream at birth tends to be a poor, drowsy nurser for two or three days.
Finally, general anesthesia, which is usually only used for emergency cesarean deliveries, does not seem to have much effect on a newborn (primarily because the baby tends to be delivered immediately after the anesthesia is administered so the drug has no time to pass through the placenta).
Something to keep in mind:
If you have a disappointing labor and delivery experience and you feel dissatisfied, angry, and/or confused about what happened, breastfeeding can often help you overcome these negative feelings. Being a success in breastfeeding can provide an important boost of your self-esteem as well as leave you feeling competent, needed, and loved.
13. Won’t breastfeeding in public be embarrassing?
Just the thought of nursing in public made me feel embarrassed.
But that was before I started to breastfeed.
You see, it is important to know that there is absolutely no reason to be embarrassed about breastfeeding in public.
You are simply giving your baby food and there is nothing wrong, illicit, or indiscreet about that!
But if you feel shy or modest, wearing nursing-friendly clothes are a great help:
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These shawls are also lovely and will provide ample coverage:
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14.How will nursing affect the father-baby relationship?
Breastfeeding is clearly an exclusive relationship between mother and baby. No doubt, that fact can spark twinges and jealousy in many new dads. Some men can easily overcome these feelings for the sake of their babies – they know mother’s milk is best and so try to be supportive of the nursing relationship.
Other fathers, however, have a harder time and may even feel breastfeeding deprives them of an opportunity to develop a relationship with their babies.
The best way to keep daddy involved is to let him cuddle your baby, rock him to sleep, give him a bath. I believe there is no reason why nursing will affect their relationship.
15. Will nursing my second baby make my first jealous?
It might, but so might bottlefeeding. In other words, whether you nurse your second baby or not will not be the deciding factor or even a particularly crucial one as to how your first child feels about the newcomer.