Clinical FAQ’s

How often and for how long should a baby nurse?

A newborn should be nursing an average of 8 – 12 feedings in 24 hours. Babies usually nurse for a total of 20 – 30 minutes at a feeding. Because each baby and each feeding is different, we encourage moms not to watch the clock; instead moms should allow the baby to finish the first breast first, then burp and offer the other breast. This way the baby will get the proper balance of fluids and calories. After breastfeeding, it is sometimes helpful to keep a spitty baby upright such as in a car seat or infant carrier for 15-20 minutes after feeding.

My baby just finished nursing and is still acting hungry; should I give a bottle?

No (unless instructed other wise by baby’s doctor). Supplementing with formula will fill up the baby and make him/her less interested in breastfeeding. Supplements can also interfere with your milk supply (decreasing it) because the baby will go longer between nursing and will take less milk at the breast. Instead, you should offer the breast again and pay close attention to your baby’s latch (see below) in order to make sure baby is able to transfer the milk effectively. Try offering the breast sooner at the next feeding (note: to increase milk supply offer breast frequently and make sure one or both are emptied at each feeding). And remember babies can be fussy for reasons other than hunger.

How do I know if my baby is latched correctly?

1. Baby is held close to mom (baby’s chest faces mom’s chest).
2. Baby has taken the breast deeply into his/her mouth.
3. Baby is pulled close so his/her chin is pressed into the breast and nose may rest on the breast.
4. Baby’s lips are flanged out and relaxed.
5. Baby’s tongue is cupped beneath mother’s breast.
6. Breastfeeding is comfortable for the mother.

My nipples are really sore; what should I do?

Most moms experience nipple soreness in the first week or two of breastfeeding. This temporary tenderness usually diminishes when the milk lets down, and disappears completely within the first week or two if baby is positioned and latched-on correctly at the breast. If soreness does not improve after three days of consistently working to correct the latch, or nipples become cracked or bleeding, or if intense pain is experienced, mom should seek professional help as soon as possible.

For treatment of moderately sore nipples:
1. Pay attention to baby’s latch and correct if needed.
2. Apply pure lanolin cream to nipples.
3. Air dry nipples between feedings.
4. Seek assistance from a lactation specialist.

My baby is really fussy; is it something I ate?

Probably not. Most mothers can eat any food they like without causing any problem for their babies. If a baby has an obvious reaction every time a mom eats a certain food, she can eliminate that food from her diet, then try reintroducing it later to see if the reaction returns. It is important to remember that for most fussy and gassy babies, the problem is something other than mother’s milk.

How can I tell if my baby is getting enough breast milk?

Many moms ask this question. Remember, the more milk your baby takes, the more milk you will produce. Supplementing with formula (especially during the first few months) will decrease your milk supply.

Your baby is probably getting enough breast milk if:
1. You are breast feeding every 1 ½ to 3 hours or at least 8 to 12 times in a twenty four hour period.
2. Your baby has at least 6 to 8 wet and 4 or more messy diapers in a 24 hour period (before 2 months of age).
3. Your baby is gaining weight appropriately.

Talk to your baby’s doctor if you have concerns about your baby’s nutrition.