Index Breastfeeding your Baby How Breast Feeding works

Breastfeeding your Baby
How Breast Feeding works
The signs of milk release
The signs of a sluggish let-down
Treatment measures for let-down difficulty
What is Breast Milk?
Types of Nipples
Common Nipples
Large Nipples
Flat or Small Nipples
Inverted Nipples
Treatment for Flat, Dimpled or Inverted Nipples
Care for your Nipples and Breasts
Care before feeds
Care after feeds
Nursing pads
Breastfeeding Positions
Finding a comfortable position for nursing
Good nursing position
Sitting up
Football hold
Lying down
Feeding times
How long should feedings be?
“Latching on”
Is baby getting enough milk?
Concerns about Baby
Sleepy baby
Growth spurts
Bowel movements
Treatment measures for refusal to nurse
Difficulty” latching on”
Treatment measures for the baby who stops nursing
Spitting an vomiting
Pulling away from the breast
Use of pacifiers
Concerns about Yourself
Engorged breasts
Tips to help with engorgement
Plugged ducts
Sore nipples
Breast pain
Overabundant milk
Leaking milk
Breast Massage
Fingertip Massage
Warm washcloth application
Diamond hand position
Parallel hand position
How to massage during feedings
Breast pumps
Developing and maintaining a milk supply through pumping
How to pump (single pump)
How to pump (double pump)
Storage of breast milk
How much breast milk should you leave for your baby for each feeding
Storage guidelines
Expressing breast milk by hand
Babies with special needs
Alcohol, tobacco and drugs
Find your balance between food and physical activity
Know the limits on fats, sugars and salts
Vary your Veggies
Focus on fruits
Get your calcium rich foods
Go lean with protein
Supplemental feeding
Weaning from breastfeeding
Postpartum sexuality
Breastfeeding log for the first week of life
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Breast milk is the ideal
infant food for the first year of life, and can protect your baby from illness and allergies.
Breastfeeding is convenient for mother since it is always ready. It helps the uterus return to
normal and promotes a warm secure feeling and an emotional bond. Breastfeeding is your
baby’s first immunization. It provides protection from gastrointestinal and respiratory illness.
Breast milk will also reduce the incidence of allergies and provides added immunologic
protection. Breastfeeding is a commitment and although natural, is something for mother and
baby to learn together. Sometimes it takes a few days for both of you to feel comfortable and
to know what to expect from each other. Be patient and persistent. Relax and enjoy each other.
How Breastfeeding Works
Your milk is made by many clusters of milk-producing cells which fill the back of your breast.
From each of these clusters runs a tiny tube (duct) that carries the milk forward. The ducts
empty milk into small pockets, called the main milk ducts, beneath the areola. Each milk duct
narrows down to another tiny tube which goes to a nipple opening. You have about 4 to 18 of
these openings. When your baby starts sucking at your breast, a reflex is triggered. Your breast
receives a signal to release milk from the milk-producing cells. The milk flows down through the
ducts. Then, as your baby’s lips press down on the sinuses that lie just below your areola, milk is
squeezed into the nipple openings. That is why it is important for baby to have as much of the
areola in his mouth as possible.
During the early weeks of breastfeeding, the let-down response, also known as the milk
ejection reflex, is developing. Sometimes mothers are told that they must be happy, relaxed,
and carefree for the let-down of milk to occur. If this were the case, few women would ever
succeed at nursing. Although many mothers worry that their milk won’t be available as needed,
let-down failure is extremely rare among women who nurse regularly and often.
For the establishment and maximal functioning of the let-down reflex, nurse your baby every
11/2 to 3 hours during the day and on demand at night for at least the first two to three weeks
of life. Make sure your baby is positioned correctly and is compressing the sinuses beneath the
areola, and that the feeding time is not limited. Ideally, your baby should be allowed —
encouraged, if necessary — to nurse at least 10 to 20 minutes at each breast. It is also
important that you are as comfortable as possible. The milk may not release completely if you
are experiencing pain. A warm shower or warm compresses to your breast will promote letdown.
The signs of milk release during the first week (will vary for each woman):
Mild uterine cramping during nursing.
Increased vaginal flow during nursing.
Dripping, leaking, or spraying milk, especially during nursing.
Occasional tingling sensations in the breast during nursing.
Softening of the breasts after nursing (this may not be noticeable during the period of
initial engorgement, two to four days postpartum).
Feeling of relaxation, thirst or sleepiness.
None or only occasional sensation.
Swallowing sound
The most reliable indicator of milk let-down is the sound of your baby swallowing. As the milk
releases, your baby will swallow after every couple of sucks. A typical rhythm is suck-suck-suckswallow-suck-suck-swallow. The swallowing pattern may occur steadily over several minutes or
may come in surges of two or three minutes at a time.
The signs of a sluggish let-down usually include all of the following:
No cramping.
No leaking of milk.
No sign of breasts softening after nursing.
No swallowing, or swallowing during only the first minute or two of nursing (your baby
may then swallow only occasionally or pull away from your breast crying).
Often when a mother believes she is experiencing a let-down difficulty, the problem is actually with the
baby’s latch-on or sucking.
Treatment Measures for Let-Down Difficulty:
Nurse regularly, frequently, and for as long as the baby wants.
Make yourself as comfortable as possible before nursing. If necessary take your
prescribed pain medication at least one-half hour before nursing. Nurse in a relaxing
place. Drink a cool beverage during your nursing to encourage let-down.
Before nursing, apply moist heat to your breasts and spend several minutes gently
massaging them.
Try manually expressing or pumping a small amount of milk to encourage the flow to
Carefully position your baby at your breast. Be sure that your baby is pulled in very
close to you. The football hold may help the baby nurse more efficiently.
Make sure your baby is latching on and sucking correctly. Your baby should have strong,
steady suction while nursing, and you should not hear frequent clicking noises or see
dimples in the baby’s cheeks.
Massage your breasts during the entire feeding, and practice slow, deep breathing.
Switch breasts if you do not hear swallowing within five minutes. Continue switching
breasts every five minutes if swallowing is infrequent.
Ask for outside help if you are not hearing swallowing after a few feedings.
Seeing a lactation professional may be helpful.
What is Breast Milk?
Although formula preparation tries to imitate mother’s milk, no preparation is exactly the same
as breast milk. The more formula companies study breast milk, the more they seem to find
other ingredients that are important to an infant’s development. It is highly unlikely that human
breast milk will ever be exactly reproduced. Colostrum is the “early milk” your baby will receive
the first 2-3 days. It is yellow in color. There is only a small amount of colostrum in each breast
per feeding. This is all the baby will require until your milk comes in. Although similar to breast
milk, its composition makes it easier for baby to digest than the mature milk you will produce
later. Another important advantage of colostrum is that it contains a great number of special
antibodies which researchers believe help newborns to resist illness.
Within two to five days after birth, colostrum is replaced with mature milk. Breast milk is
completely digested within 90 minutes. This milk contains many different components that are
important for the development of your baby. The amount of milk produced will vary. Milk is
produced on a supply and demand basis. Your breast milk contains a large amount of vitamins
A and E, some vitamin C and small amounts of vitamins D and K. This milk has twice as much
iron as cow’s milk and contains calcium and phosphorus. Breast milk contains special proteins
that will be used by the body. Human milk is lower in saturated fats. Breast milk composition
changes according to your baby’s age and nutritional needs. Although cow’s milk is lower in
sugar content, the sugar in breast milk seems to protect the intestinal tract from bacteria.
Breast milk looks much thinner than cow’s milk or formula, and is white with a blue tint. As you
continue to nurse, your milk will appear “creamier.” This is because the fat content becomes
higher towards the end of the feeding.
Your body produces the perfect food for your baby’s first few months of life, and the American
Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
Types of Nipples
Common Nipples: These do not require any special preparation for breastfeeding. The “pinch
test” is done by pinching your areola next to your nipple between your index finger and thumb.
If your nipple protrudes and continues to after you pinch it, then your nipples should be fine for
Large Nipples: Try manual expression to soften the areola and make it more pliable before
putting the infant to your breast. Breast shells may help if your nipples are also flat, but in most
cases just working patiently with your baby is all that is needed. (Breast shells are explained in
this section on page F-5 for flat, dimpled or inverted nipples.)
Flat Nipples or Small Nipples: If there is no noticeable protrusion of the nipple unless manually
stimulated, compress the breast and areola between two fingers to provide as much nipple as
possible to your baby. A breast shell used between feedings will draw the nipple out. A breast
pump used between or before feedings will also help the nipple protrude.
Inverted Nipples: If your nipple moves inward or remains flattened as you do the pinch test,
then you need to help prepare your nipples to protrude. You can do this by obtaining and
wearing breast shells. In most cases, you can start using breast shells in the middle of your
pregnancy and continue using until nursing is well established. If you have flat or inverted
nipples, ask your doctor when you can start wearing shells. If you have not started to wear
them while pregnant, you can begin wearing them after you deliver. Using a breast pump
before or between feedings will also help.
Treatment for Flat, Dimpled or Inverted Nipples: One or more
of the following suggestions may help you:
Breast shells worn inside of your bra gently force your
nipple to push out by putting constant pressure against
your areola. Small air vents in the plastic dome admit air
to the skin to avoid irritation.
Stimulate the nipples by gently stroking or rolling them between your thumb and
 Apply ice around the nipple just before the baby attempts to feed.
 Pump your breast prior to nursing for about a minute on each side or until milk begins
flowing and the nipple is protruding.
 Express a few drops of milk onto your nipple or your baby’s lips then stimulate the baby
to suck and protrude the nipple.
Care For Your Nipples and Breasts
Care before Feeds: Your daily bath or shower is sufficient for cleaning your breasts. Avoid
getting soap or shampoo on the nipple and areola; it tends to counteract the naturally
occurring oils that cleanse this area and cause dry nipples, cracking and discomfort. Antiseptic
applications to the nipples are also unnecessary and may be harmful. Always wash your hands
before breastfeeding or pumping.
Bras: You may want to wear a nursing bra for convenience, comfort and support, especially
after your milk comes in. Bras with cotton rather than synthetic cups allow for better air
circulation to the nipples. If wearing an underwire bra, be sure it is well fitted and no areas of
pressure exist.
Care after Feeds: If baby does not come off the breast when the nursing session is over,
release the suction by slipping a clean finger in between the baby’s jaws and gently pulling
down until the suction is released. Leave your breasts exposed to the air for five to ten minutes
before covering up. Air drying is soothing to the nipples. Although for years mothers have used
breast creams on their nipples, these do not prevent or reduce nipple soreness. In fact, a
number of nursing women have developed sore nipples as a result of unsuspected allergies to
preparations containing lanolin, vitamin E or cocoa butter. Any preparation that comes with
instructions to wash it off before nursing is best avoided, as frequent washing is overly drying to
the nipples. Pure lanolin, such as Purlan 100 or Lansinoh, may be used sparingly and does not
need to be washed off. Colostrum can be expressed onto the nipples to lubricate them.
Nursing Pads: Nursing pads are usually necessary during this time to prevent wet or spotted
clothing. You can buy bra pads in two varieties: reusable, washable types, and disposable types.
(Remember: if using a disposable pad, stay away from those with plastic liners because they
keep the nipple wet and may aggravate soreness.)
Shells: If you are using plastic breast shells to improve the shape of your nipples, you may find
during the first few weeks that they cause your milk to leak excessively and keep your nipples
damp. You might try placing the shells in your bra just 20 to 30 minutes before the feeding (milk
collected this way must be discarded). Don’t routinely use breast shells in place of nursing pads,
since they probably cause more leakage. Breast shells should be washed after each nursing in
hot soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.
Breastfeeding Positions
Finding a Comfortable Position for Nursing
Successful breastfeeding requires taking the time and effort to find good positions for nursing.
One of the most exciting findings of recent years is the importance of positioning for good
suckling. It has been found that many women with sore nipples, and babies who failed to gain
weight could be traced to poor positioning at the breast. By readjusting nursing positions, both
of these problems are often cleared up. When you find two or three comfortable positions,
alternate them. This will help to prevent sore nipples by changing the area where the baby puts
the most pressure when latched on to the breast. It will also serve to stimulate different milk
ducts, and prevent clogged ducts.
A good nursing position should incorporate the following:
You are supported in such a way that you can hold the position for some time without
feeling cramped or stiff; you are not hunched over, trying to bring the breast to your
baby; instead, you bring your baby to the breast.
Baby’s nose is directly facing the nipple. When baby latches on, the head will tilt upward
and baby will be close enough to take much or all of the areola into the mouth while
Sitting Up
Sit straight up in bed or in a comfortable chair or couch, with your back and head supported by
one or more big pillows if necessary. Put your baby on a pillow on your lap in order to bring the
mouth to nipple level. Raise one or both knees to bring your baby closer to your body. It may
help to support your foot on the side from which your baby is nursing by resting it on a chair
rung, a footstool, or a large book. Your baby should be lying on his side so he does not have to
turn his head to reach the nipple. Baby’s face, abdomen, genitals, and knees should all be facing
your body. The pelvis should be up against your abdomen with your baby’s lower arm under
your arm and around your waist. Your arm on the side of the nursing breast supports the head
as you hold your baby in the crook of your elbow. Your arm is extended as far down the baby’s
back as possible, with your hand holding the buttocks or upper thigh, keeping your baby as
close to your body as you can. The knees are held across your other breast, so that your baby is
in a horizontal, not diagonal position. Pillows or folded blankets may be used to provide support
for your arm or the baby.
Football Hold:
In this position you tuck your baby under your arm like a football.
His head rests on a pillow on your lap; the feet are on your side.
This position is good for Caesarean mothers, since the baby’s legs
cannot kick or put pressure on the incision. It’s also good for twins
and mothers with large breasts. Some babies who don’t suck
properly in the other positions do well this way.
Lying Down:
For the first few days after your baby’s birth and for night feedings afterward, you may find it
most restful to lie down to nurse. To nurse lying down, lie on your side with one or two pillows
behind your back and one or two under your head. A flat pillow (made of folded cloth diapers, a
receiving blanket, or a towel) placed under your baby’s head as he lies facing you will put his
mouth at breast level and make it easier for him to reach the nipple. Your bottom arm can be
up and out of the way, or under his head, cradling him. If you had a Caesarean birth, ask your
nurse to help you get into a comfortable position. They want to help you. Keep your legs bent,
with a pillow between your knees. Ask the nurse to place something firm at the bottom of your
bed so you can push your feet against it. There are two ways to shift from nursing on one side
to the other. One is to nurse your baby on the bottom breast, then to tuck that breast under
your bottom arm and to lean over and nurse with the top breast. At the next feeding you switch
sides. The other way of changing involves nursing on one side, then pulling your baby over onto
your stomach and rolling both you and your baby over to your other side, using the guard-rail
on the side of the bed to help. Ask the nurse to show you how.
Feeding Times
The optimum time for feeding is when baby is in a quiet, alert state, rather than when the baby
is crying. Your baby should nurse approximately 8 to 12 times in 24 hours by the 3rd day of life.
We encourage you to nurse your infant every 1 1/2 hours if he is awake or wake him in 3 hours
during the day or evening if he is still sleeping since the last feed. This will encourage him to
take many longer “naps” at night time. Some babies may need to nurse more frequently if they
sleep for long periods. They may cluster feed then sleep longer. For example, from noon to 11
pm, the baby may feed eight times then sleep up to five hours. To awaken baby for feeding, try
these tips — unbundle the baby, change the diaper, stimulate the bottom of the feet, stroke,
pat the back or do “baby sit-ups.”
When feeding baby at night try to provide minimal stimulation so he knows this is not play
time. Change your baby’s diaper between breasts with low lights, talk quietly and put your baby
back to bed right after feeding.
You should offer both breasts at each feeding, but it can be normal for baby to only nurse on
one breast. Start with the side you finished with at the last feeding or the breast the baby did
not nurse from. You may want to attach a safety pin to your bra on this side as a reminder for
your next feeding.
How Long Should Feedings Be?
In the beginning, breastfeeding is a learning process for both you and the baby. It’s not
necessary to time feedings. A general rule is to try to encourage the baby to nurse at least 10
minutes on each side. Hindmilk, the milk highest in fat content which is necessary for baby’s
growth, usually can be seen after five minutes of nursing, but this can vary. The first few days of
breastfeeding your baby may not meet this goal, but if there are adequate wet diapers and
stools your baby is getting enough.
Initially, baby will take short rapid sucks until a let-down occurs. Once let-down occurs, the
sucking pattern changes to rhythmic, longer sucks. Your baby will take short rest periods — if,
after a reasonable time the baby doesn’t start to suck, gently lift his chin upward or stroke the
side of his face for encouragement. Burp your baby after the first breast and offer the second
breast until content. As they grow older, some babies will nurse only a short time at each breast
or take only one breast at a feeding and still have a steady weight gain. Once a weight gain
pattern is noted, let your baby determine the length and frequency of the feeding.
“Latching On”
“Latching on” refers to baby’s grasp on your nipple. This is a skill that is learned over the first
few days of breastfeeding. “Rooting” refers to your baby’s natural reflex to root or turn toward
a stimulus, such as your finger or nipple stroking his cheek. To stimulate rooting, touch your
nipple to baby’s cheek. Your baby will turn toward the nipple.
Where you put your hand to help shape the breast varies by hold.
If you hold your baby in front on his side,
shape your thumb and fingers like a “U.”
If you hold your baby along your side,
shape your fingers more like a “C.”
Remember that your fingers should run in
the same direction as your baby’s mouth.
 Adjust your baby’s body so he is
facing you (not turned or twisted), with
feet, hips and shoulders in a straight line, and pressed firmly against you with no gaps.
Align your baby so that his nose is in line with your nipple.
Let his head tilt back a bit (Avoid pushing on the back of your baby’s head.)
Gently touch your baby’s lips with the nipple. Baby probably will respond by opening his
mouth wide. (Stroke from the upper lip downward.)
o You can also assist your baby in opening his/her mouth by using your finger to
gently pull down on the chin.
Lift the breast slightly so the nipple points straight ahead or slightly downward. Then
draw the baby close to latch on to your breast.
Note that the nipple and as much of the areola as possible, especially the lower portion, are in
baby’s mouth. If the nostrils are blocked while your baby is nursing, lift the breast slightly with
the hand that is supporting it. Proper positioning decreases/prevents sore nipples. Baby’s nose
and chin are facing the breast, do not push on the breast to make room for breathing. This can
cause plugged ducts which can lead to decreased milk supply and breast infection. Babies who
have trouble breathing while nursing will pull off the breast.
In correct positioning your baby’s lips should surround the nipple. There should not be any
dimpling of the cheeks as baby sucks and baby should not be easily removed from your breast.
You may notice your baby’s ear wiggle, or jaw movement as she sucks. You should not hear any
smacking or clicking noises while your baby is nursing. You should be able to draw an imaginary
straight line from the baby’s ear to shoulder to hip in the cradle or cross-cradle position.
To take baby off your breast, insert your finger into the corner of baby’s mouth between the
gums and press down on the lower jaw. This enables baby to release your breast and prevents
sore nipples. You need to burp your baby several times during a feeding: after each breast, if
fussy or pulling away and after the last breast. This helps to remove any air your baby has
swallowed while sucking. Naturally, a breast-fed baby swallows less air than a bottlefed baby,
so burping occurs less with nursing babies, and sometimes not at all. There are three ways to
burp your baby:
1. You can lay your baby cross-ways on your lap, belly down, and pat or rub baby’s back.
2. You can hold your baby up to your shoulder, supporting the head and back with one
hand, while patting or rubbing with the other.
3. You can sit your baby upright on your lap, lean the baby’s weight forward with one
hand supporting his chin and chest, and pat or rub his back gently with the other hand.
Some babies tend to spit-up more than others and may need to be burped more often. Spitting
up usually subsides after the first year. If your baby is vomiting frequently or forcefully, (usually
the amount that would fill an adult hand, spitting up is less than this) your baby’s doctor should
be notified.
Is Baby Getting Enough Milk?
There are ways to tell if your baby is getting enough to drink:
You should be able to see and hear your baby swallowing by the third or fourth day.
Breasts that are firm at the beginning of a feeding will soften after a feeding.
Baby should experience progressive weight gain, noted by the doctor, after an initial
weight loss in the first and second days of life.
Baby gains an average of 4 to 6 ounces a week in the first month and 6 to 8 ounces a
week during the next three months.
Baby seems content after feeding.
Do not:
Do not compare your baby’s weight gain with other babies. Different babies gain weight
at different rates of speed.
Do not test for hunger by offering your baby a bottle after nursing. Many infants have
such a strong urge to suck that they’ll often take milk from a bottle even when not
hungry. This will cause overfeeding and can increase the tendency to spit up.
Concerns About Baby
Sleepy Baby
Most babies will be sleepy for the first 24 to 48 hours after birth. Babies can also be sleepy up
to 12 hours after a circumcision. This is a normal occurrence that will not interfere with the
nursing process. Some suggestions to wake a sleepy baby include:
Unwrap baby.
Change the diaper.
Rub the small of baby’s back in a circular motion.
Tickle the bottom of baby’s feet.
Talk to baby.
Stroke your baby’s forehead with a “cool” (not cold) wash cloths
Baby situps.
The sleepy baby needs routine scheduled feedings rather than a “demand schedule” until baby
begins waking on her own. This is necessary for baby’s well-being and also ensures milk
production and supply. Be patient and persistent during this period. If all else fails, try again in a
half hour. Your baby will become more alert and show interest in breastfeeding as her appetite
Growth Spurts
You may notice at different times during the first year that your baby may want to nurse more
frequently and can’t seem to get enough milk. These periods occur at fairly predictable times:
Approximately 7-10 days of age, 2 to 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. These spurts
usually last about 24 to 48 hours and are referred to as growth spurts. Your baby may want to
nurse every 11/2 to 2 hours or sooner, and may exceed 12 feedings in 24 hours. You should
nurse as often as your baby wants to and at about 48 hours your baby will probably space
feedings again. Your breasts respond to this extra demand and produce more milk to satisfy
your baby’s hunger. Don’t worry about spoiling your baby with these extra feedings. Many
mothers tend to blame themselves for their babies crying, wondering if their inexperience,
nervousness, or milk supply is somehow responsible. Most babies fuss and seek out the
comfort of the breast when they are tired, lonely or uncomfortable. Some babies naturally
need to suck more than others.
Bowel Movements
Your baby’s first few stools are called meconium. Meconium is black, greenish-black or dark
brown and is tarry and sticky. By the second or third day after several colostrum feedings, the
baby will have passed most of the meconium; he may have a few greenish-brown or brownishyellow transitional stools. When breast milk production is established, the stools take on a
yellow or mustard color and “seedy” texture. This usually occurs by the fourth or fifth day. This
yellow stool is a sign that your baby is getting a sufficient amount of breast milk. Most babies
have at least four bowel movements daily by the end of the first week. Many have up to 12
(although some only have one). For the first six weeks, stools are loose or may even be runny.
These should not be confused with diarrhea (a stool that is watery with no substance and has a
foul odor). These breast milk stools will have a sweet or cheesy odor. When other foods are
added, colors and odors will change. Your baby may pass his stools easily, or he may fuss, grunt
and turn red in the face. This is not constipation. Constipation is unlikely as long as your baby is
totally breast-fed.
Treatment Measures for Refusal to Nurse
Continue working with your baby. Short, frequent sessions may be less upsetting for
both of you. If someone is working with you, the side-lying position may give her the
greatest control and visibility. These sessions can become intense and sometimes
upsetting, so let your helper know when you or your baby needs a break.
Nipple shields or bottle nipples are not generally recommended for placement over the
breast to encourage your baby to nurse. There are some breastfeeding problems, which
may benefit from the use of a nipple shield. Your nurse or lactation consultant will assist
in their use if you experience these problems. Although your baby may latch on to an
artificial nipple, the shield may not allow for adequate nipple stimulation or for the
necessary compression of the sinuses beneath the areola. This can seriously hamper the
let-down of milk and adequate emptying of the breast, which may lead to a poor milk
supply and insufficient intake for your baby. Some babies become accustomed to the
shield and will refuse to nurse without it. If you use a shield, talk to a lactation
consultant about how to maintain an adequate milk supply.
If, after 24 to 48 hours, your baby has not latched on, supplementary feedings should
begin. Manually express or pump your milk at least eight times a day, and feed your
baby using a cup, a spoon or a bottle and nipple. You may contact a lactation consultant
or breastfeeding educator for other feeding methods, such as cup feeding, fingerfeeding
and supplemental nursing systems.
If you are discharged from the hospital and your baby is still not nursing, obtain an
electric pump and continue giving your milk to the baby, by your chosen method. Your
nurse or lactation consultant will discuss options with you.
Continue short practice sessions several times a day. Some babies do better on a soft or
empty breast.
Have the baby’s doctor rule out any medical reasons.
Refusal of one breast: It is common for some babies to prefer one breast over another,
especially in the beginning. Continue to offer both breasts. Many times this preference
will disappear when the milk comes in.
Get lots of support and encouragement. If possible, see a lactation consultant.
Difficulty “Latching-On”
“Latch-on” difficulties can originate with the baby or the mother. Most occur when the baby is
sleepy; when the breast becomes overly full or engorged; or when the mother has flat,
dimpled, or inverted nipples. Problems other than these are discussed as follows.
Refusal to nurse after having previously nursed
During the first week, it is not uncommon for a baby who has already nursed to suddenly refuse
one or both sides. He may simply act uninterested although he is awake, or he may protest
furiously when put to one or both breasts. A baby who has been given a bottle or pacifier
during the first week may become “nipple confused” and refuse to nurse. If this happens, your
baby will likely start nursing again after a few hours or after one or more of the following
measures are taken.
Treatment measures for the baby who stops nursing
Soften the areola if you are overly full or engorged by using manual expression or a
pump just before putting the baby to breast.
 Calm the frantic baby. A few drops of colostrum or glucose water on baby’s lips or
dripped over the nipple will often alert and encourage the baby. Occasionally a very
upset baby may need to be tightly swaddled in a thin blanket before attempting to
 Pay attention to proper positioning. When the baby’s face turns from side to side with
mouth wide open, pull the baby closer so their tongue can feel the nipple.
 Try letting the baby suck on your finger for a few seconds just before putting him to
 Persist. The baby who is hiccupping, having a bowel movement, or staring at his mother
will usually be reluctant to latch on. Try again in about a half-hour.
 Coax the baby who is suddenly refusing one breast by using the football hold on that
 Offer your breast when the baby is sleepy.
 Hold the baby skin-to-skin.
Spitting and Vomiting
Spitting up small amounts of breast milk is common; some babies do this after almost every
nursing. In cases of spitting up, the baby will show no signs of illness. Occasionally, baby may
vomit what seems like an entire feeding, but he still may be doing fine. If you are worried, keep
track of the number of wet diapers and bowel movements. Call your baby’s doctor with signs of
Pulling Away from the Breast
Babies pull off the breast while nursing for a variety of reasons. Often it is because they have
had enough to eat, they need to be burped or they are distracted. If your baby has a cold, he
may pull away because of trouble breathing through his nose. Try nursing in the football hold
with his head elevated more during the feeding. A cool-mist vaporizer may help to thin the
nasal secretions for easier breathing.
Some babies pull away from the breast, gasping and choking as the milk suddenly lets down.
Babies gradually learn to keep up with the rapid flow of milk. Positioning your baby differently
may help. Try sitting your baby up, using the football hold, sitting back in an easy chair or lying
on your back to nurse with baby on top of your chest. The last position uses gravity to slow the
flow of milk to baby. Some mothers manually express or pump milk until the initial spray has
subsided then put the baby to the breast to nurse.
Use of Pacifiers
Use of a pacifier is often associated with a shortened duration of breastfeeding. If one is used,
an orthodontic pacifier should be purchased. Occasionally a breast-fed baby may become
nipple confused. For that reason we suggest you wait three weeks before using a pacifier.
Babies use different muscles to suck when using a pacifier. When they are then breast-fed,
sucking on the breast this way can cause your nipples to become sore. Discontinue the use of
the pacifier if your baby has difficulty latching on or your nipples become sore. At no time
should the pacifier be used as substitute for breastfeeding. If you use a pacifier, be sure you are
still nursing your baby often enough to maintain a full milk supply.
Concerns About Yourself
Engorged Breasts
Engorgement is a fullness of the breasts ranging from mild firmness to painful swelling and is
experienced by many breastfeeding women. It will usually occur about three to five days
postpartum. Engorgement is caused by an increased amount of blood and body fluid going to
the breasts, as well as the pressure of the newly produced milk. Severe engorgement is caused
when the baby is not nursing well or feedings are missed. Engorgement will usually begin to
subside within 12 to 48 hours. It is important not to become discouraged during this period.
Remember that this is a normal process and will not last forever.
Tips to Help with Engorgement:
Feed your baby every one to three hours. Many babies will nurse 10 to 20 minutes on
each breast. This may mean waking a sleeping baby.
 Wear a supportive bra between nursings, and take it off when nursing, so all areas of
the breast can be emptied.
 Moist heat can be applied before nursing to help the milk flow out of the ducts. This can
be done by placing warm towels on the breasts for five minutes or more or by
 If the nipple area is too swollen for the baby to grasp, take a warm shower, hand
express or pump some milk to help soften the breasts.
 During nursing, massage your breasts from the outside toward the areola to help empty
the entire breast.
 Apply ice packs to breasts between feedings, but only for 20 minutes, after a feeding of
at least 10 minutes per side. This will help to relieve swelling and discomfort.
 Wear breast shells 30 minutes before each feeding.
 Avoid pumping milk for engorgement except to soften the areola or when baby is
refusing to feed from one or both breasts. If your baby doesn’t relieve the fullness by
nursing, you may pump enough milk after the feeding to feel comfortable. Engorgement
that is not relieved can decrease your milk supply.
 Cabbage leaves can be used as a home remedy. Their effectiveness has not been
scientifically proven, but many women find them soothing. To use, remove outer leaves,
rinse refrigerated cabbage leaves, strip the large vein and cut a hole for the nipple.
Apply the leaves directly to your breasts inside your bra. Only wear for 20 minutes after
a feeding of 10 to 20 minutes, per breast. No more than three applications in 24 hours
or milk supply can decrease.
Plugged Ducts
A plugged milk duct is caused by a diminished flow of milk from an area of your breast. Milk will
build up and form a blockage in your milk duct. Blocked ducts are more common during the
early weeks of nursing, during the winter months in mothers with high milk production, and in
mothers who have twins. They may also occur when your baby weans or sleeps through the
night or if you become fatigued.
Common causes of this may be:
The breast is not emptied with each feeding.
Infrequent nursing.
Rapid weaning.
Tight fitting bras (underwire types may obstruct the milk flow) or tight clothing.
Pressure on breasts during feeding with a finger to make breathing space for baby.
Symptoms of Plugged Ducts include:
At first you may notice breast pain or discomfort in a section of your breast. Later you will feel a
hard, lumpy area which is sometimes very tender and does not disappear or decrease in size
after nursing. It will come on gradually and may shift location. You may feel little or no warmth
in the area and feel generally well.
What to do for a plugged duct:
Frequent nursing, at least every two to three hours. Position baby with his chin close to
the plugged duct to promote better drainage. Allow your baby to nurse for a few
minutes longer than usual to help empty your breast. Start baby’s feeding on the
affected breast.
 Apply warm, moist heat to the affected breast before each feeding and between
feedings for your comfort.
 Continue to nurse or pump. If you stop suddenly your breast will become fuller and
more painful.
 Massage affected area while nursing to help milk flow through the affected duct.
 Be sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest. You may take
Ibuprofen (Motrin) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the general discomfort you may be
 Express or pump milk from the affected breast if it has been more than three or four
hours since your baby last nursed.
 Do not sleep on your stomach or put pressure on your breasts.
 Offer the sore breast first so that the baby will empty it.
Mastitis is an infection in your breast which will not affect the breast milk your baby receives
when you nurse. Plugged ducts, cracked nipples, tight bras, wet breast pads, stress, fatigue and
anemia can all lead to mastitis. You can help prevent mastitis by nursing frequently, by using
good hand washing techniques, eating a good diet and finding time to rest. One or both breasts
may be affected.
Symptoms of Mastitis:
Often starts as a plugged duct.
Breast pain or discomfort in a generalized area of the breast.
Hard, red, lumpy area of your breast which is sometimes very hot and swollen. This will
not disappear or decrease in size after nursing.
 Flu like symptoms including headache, exhaustion, aching joints, fever (temperature
101° degrees Fahrenheit or higher), and chills.
What to do for Mastitis:
You should notify your obstetrician. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for you to
take. You should continue this medication as directed even though you are feeling
better after a few days. Your doctor realizes you are breastfeeding and will prescribe an
antibiotic that is safe to take while you are nursing. Do not stop nursing your baby.
Nurse frequently, at least every two to three hours. Allow your baby to nurse for a few
minutes longer than usual to help empty the breast. Offer the affected breast first.
Pump after a feeding for no more than 10 minutes to make sure the breasts are empty.
Your baby will not get ill since the infection involves only the breast tissue not the milk.
Apply warm, moist heat to the affected breast before each feeding, and in between
feedings for your comfort.
Massage affected area while nursing to help milk flow through the affected duct.
Be sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough rest. You may take
Ibuprofen (Motrin) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the general discomfort you may be
After a feeding you may apply cool compresses or cold cabbage leaves for comfort
measures, no longer than 15 to 20 minutes.
Sore Nipples
If your nipples become sore, review positioning and latching on. Remember to position baby’s
mouth over your areola, not just the nipple. Always break your baby’s suction by placing a
finger into the corner of the baby’s mouth after nursing. Nipple tenderness at the beginning of
a feeding may be normal in the first two to seven days of breastfeeding.
The following measures will help while your nipple is healing:
Express a little milk manually before putting your baby to your breast to start the milk
flowing and to help your let-down operate more quickly.
Practice a relaxation technique just before nursing. Warm compresses before a feeding
may help your milk flow faster.
Nurse your baby more frequently, but for shorter periods of time. Your breasts are less
likely to overfill and your baby is more likely to suckle gently.
Offer the less-sore breast first. This will give your milk a chance to let-down, and your
baby won’t be sucking as hard on the second breast.
Change your position at each feeding. Hold your baby in different positions so that you
can equalize the pressure on your breast.
If a scab forms on your nipple during early nursing, leave it alone.
To ease pain, apply crushed ice, wrapped in a wet washcloth, or a washcloth that has
been dampened and put in the freezer briefly, to your nipples before a feeding.
Avoid all irritating substances. Do not use soap, alcohol, tincture of benzoin or witch
hazel on your nipples.
Do not wipe away milk left on your breast after a nursing. Let it dry there; it will
promote healing.
Wear breast shells in between feedings.
Keep your nipples dry. If you wear breast pads, change them when they get wet. If you
wear breast shells (milk cups), empty them often. You may want to put cotton in the
bottom to absorb leaking milk. Leave your nipples uncovered as much as possible. Undo
your bra flaps under your clothing occasionally.
Occasionally sore nipples are caused by thrush, a fungus infection in the baby’s mouth.
Look in your baby’s mouth prior to a feeding. If your baby has milky white spots or a
coating on her tongue, gums, or on the insides of her cheeks, call the doctor. Rinse your
nipples with clear water and air dry them after each nursing. Thrush thrives on milk and
moisture. Common symptoms are shooting pain in the breast, burning in the mom’s
nipples (during or after a feeding), red irritated nipples or a bright red diaper rash in the
o Call your pediatrician who will need to prescribe Nystatin oral suspension for
your baby’s mouth. Nystatin nipple cream will need to be prescribed for you by
your obstetrician. Continue using the medication even if the symptoms
disappear. The symptoms may seem worse for a day or two before they
Do not wear rubber or soft plastic nipple shields. Shields are occasionally advised to
insulate sore nipples from your baby’s sucking. Shields may not provide the necessary
stimulation your breasts need to keep making milk. Shields rarely relieve soreness, and
may cause some babies to develop nipple confusion. These are much different from
If your nipples are cracked, bleeding or painful, take your baby off the affected nipple
for 24 to 48 hours. Nurse on the unaffected breast and, if necessary, give expressed milk
by finger feeding, cup, spoon or bottle. A lactation consultant can assist you with
alternative feeding methods. Express or pump your milk from the sore breast every
three hours, or every time you would ordinarily be nursing. After a 24-hour break
gradually resume nursing with short (five-minute) feedings on the sore breast. You may
hand express some breast milk before a feeding to stimulate the let-down reflex.
Continue to express milk at other feeding times until your breast is healed enough to
work up to the full nursing schedule.
o If blood is noted in your milk you can continue to nurse (Baby may spit up blood
or have flecks of blood in the stool).
o Pure lanolin such as Purlan or Lansinoh may be used.
o If pain or soreness continues call your doctor.
Breast Pain
Your breasts may begin to hurt during nursing or may always be tender or sore. If this happens,
it is important to identify the cause. Do not assume breast pain is normal. Engorgement can
occur anytime your breasts become full; when your baby misses a feeding or begins to sleep
longer at night. Normal let-down sensations can be described as a mild ache, tingling, or “pins
and needles” sensation. Infections such as Thrush and Mastitis may cause stabbing, burning or
throbbing pain. A deep shooting pain is related to the sudden refilling of the breast. These pains
disappear as nursing progresses.
Overabundant Milk
Some mothers may produce too much milk. You may feel uncomfortably engorged much of the
time. Leaking and spraying may be bothersome. Your baby may gasp and choke as the milk lets
down. Most women find this is less common after the first two months of nursing. In the
meantime, it is best not to interfere with your milk production by taking steps to decrease your
supply. Nursing the baby on only one breast per feeding may help. Measures such as decreasing
your fluid intake are not recommended. Wearing plastic breast shells or pumping after nursing
usually promotes a further increase in milk supply. If your baby has difficulty nursing because
the milk lets down forcefully, try nursing the baby as you rest back in a chair to decrease the
flow or elevate the baby’s head while feeding. The football hold may also lessen the
forcefulness of the flow.
Leaking Milk
After a few weeks of nursing you may notice that leaking diminishes or stops entirely. This
should not be a cause for concern as long as your baby continues to nurse frequently and
continues to gain weight. If continuing leakage becomes bothersome, you can try to stop it by
pressing your wrist or heel of your hand against your nipples for a couple of minutes whenever
they start to drip. Keep your nipples dry and change breast pads often to prevent sore nipples.
If leaking at night continues to be troublesome, you can try nursing just before you go to sleep.
Breast Massage
Massage promotes effective breast emptying when feeding by helping to release milk from the
back of your breast. This can prevent sore nipples, prolonged feeding session and clogged milk
duct that result in breast infections. Breast massage should be performed during breast
feeding by alternating massage and feeding.
Fingertip massage
Start at the top of the breast. Press firmly into the chest wall.
Move fingers in a circular motion on one spot on the skin.
After a few seconds move the fingers to the next area on the breast.
Start from the back of the breast and move toward the areola.
Gently shake the breast while leaning forward so that gravity will help the let-down
Warm washcloth application
Soak a washcloth with warm water; wring.
Press washcloth firmly on breast, starting at the back and working toward the areola.
Gently shake the breast while leaning forward so that gravity will help the let-down
Diamond hand position
Support your breast with both hands, thumbs on top and fingers below.
Squeeze your breast gently as you slide your hands forward toward the nipple.
Gently shake the breast while leaning forward so that gravity will help the let-down
Parallel hand position
Place one hand above and one hand below your breast.
Start sliding them toward the nipple.
As you slide your hand forward, rotate them. Repeat until you have covered all parts of
the breast.
 Gently shake the breast while leaning forward so that gravity will help the let-down
How to Massage during Feedings:
Put your baby to your breast and observe how he nurses. Usually, after the first minute
or so the movements of the baby’s mouth become long, slow and rhythmic. In this type
of nursing, your baby compresses the milk reservoirs with his gums and swallows the
milk. Such nursing avoids production of sustained negative pressure, which is
responsible for injuring the nipple.
After a while you notice that your baby stops nursing, then he goes on as before. As the
feeding proceeds, he rests more frequently and the character of the nursing changes
from mouth movements that are long, slow, and rhythmic to those that are rapid and
Later, there are still fewer slow, rhythmic mouth movements and more of the sleepy,
rapid, shallow type. It is the shallow kind of nursing that produces sustained negative
pressure that hurts the nipple. Your baby cannot extract milk from the breast when he
nurses in this manner.
When the pattern of your baby’s nursing changes from long, slow mouth movements to
sleeping for the most part or to rapid shallow mouth movements, start alternating
breast massage with nursing.
Do not remove your baby from your breast; simply slip your hand to the back and
middle portion of the breast near the armpit and gently massage the breast several
times. While the breast is being moved your baby usually stops nursing, then responds
by nursing with long, slow strokes. He may take only two or three sucks, however,
because he can quickly pick up the milk that the massage has caused to move from the
alveoli to the milk reservoirs.
Repeat the massage and permit your baby to nurse again. Often, you will find your
breast softening beneath your fingers. When one area softens, move your fingers to a
new position and continue alternating breast massage with nursing until the entire
breast has been softened.
It is important not to use breast massage until the character of the baby’s nursing has
changed from long, slow mouth movements to sleeping or to rapid shallow nursing. If
massage is used before this time, the milk flows too fast for your baby to manage.
Breast Pumps
All breast pumps use adapters called flanges. Flanges are funnel-shaped devices that fit over your breast
and produce a suck-release action when pumping is taking place. They press on the milk reservoirs
underneath the areola, pushing out the milk. Properly fitted flanges fit snugly, but allow the nipple to
slip easily into the opening.
Good fit
Flange is too Small
You know you have a good flange fit when you can see
space around your nipple. The photo above shows a
good fit. You can see room around the nipple as it is
pulled into the nipple tunnel.
If your nipple always rubs along the flange sides, as
shown above, it is too tight. A tight fit squeezes the milk
ducts and slows milk flow. Rubbing may cause pain, and
friction can even break the skin.
Pumps may be manually-operated, battery-operated, or electrical. Electrical pumps produce the best
pumping action and are most like baby’s natural sucking action. The breast pump you choose will
depend on your pumping needs. For occasional use, a manual or mini-electric pump is appropriate. For
more frequent pumping, a double electric pump would be helpful. For full-time pumping, a rented,
hospital-grade pump is recommended. If you have questions about which type of pump will meet your
needs, please contact your lactation consultant or nurse educator.
Cylinder pumps
Also called syringe or
piston-type pumps.
Cylinder pumps may be
either manual or electric.
They’re light-weight and
can be very effective. They
require both hands for
operation. Some women
find their hands tire easily
when using the manual
Trigger-handle pumps
Suction is created by
squeezing a trigger
handle. This is a more
effective manual pump.
Electric pumps
Battery-operated pumps
require only one hand to
use. They have several
advantages over plug-in
models. They’re more
portable and require no
electrical outlets. On the
other hand, they’re less
efficient and batteries
need to be replaced
frequently. Some battery
pumps can be purchased
with an AC Adapter.
Electric pumps are
gentle, efficient and
require only one hand
operation. These
pumps can do double
or single pumping.
Electric pumps range in
size from a small 2pound model to a
model the size of a
small sewing machine. The large models, which are
very expensive, can be rented from some drugstores
and medical supply firms. Try to get an electric pump
with a suck cycle of 50 to 60 sucks per minute, more
like the infant’s suck cycle.
If you’re employed by a large company, you might
consider sharing the rental fee with other nursing
mothers who work there. Each mother should have
her own flange and collection containers.
Developing and Maintaining a Milk Supply Through Pumping
Pumping should be done if your baby is unable to nurse or is nursing ineffectively.
 Ideally, pumping should begin within a few hours of giving birth. Pumping should be
done on a regular schedule, preferably every two or three hours during the day using a
double pump.
o If using a single pump, a pumping session should consist of:
 Five to eight minutes of pumping on each side.
 Massage.
 Then three to five minutes of pumping on each side.
 Continue going back and forth until the flow of milk has stopped.
 You should awaken at least once during the night to pump, especially between midnight
and 3 am. You should schedule yourself for at least eight sessions during a 24-hour
period, resting in-between.
 Double pump for 15 minutes or for at least two minutes after the flow of milk has
stopped. Breast massage should be done before and during each session to increase
prolactin levels to increase your milk supply.
 You can expect fluctuations in your milk supply. The important thing is to keep the
glands functioning, the ducts open, and some milk coming. For many women the supply
can be increased by pumping more often. Some women only start to increase the milk
supply when their infants begin to nurse.
How to Pump (Single Breast):
Wash hands thoroughly.
Express in a comfortable setting with privacy and comfortable seating.
Relax with a soothing drink for a few minutes. Allow enough time so as to not feel
Begin with a warm compress and massage your breasts.
Begin pumping on one side. If little milk is collected, try breast massage. A picture of
your baby can often help the let-down reflex and increase milk yield.
After five to eight minutes of single pumping on one side, switch to the other side for
five to eight minutes, or double pump for 15 minutes.
Massage both breasts for a few minutes.
Single pump each breast again for three to five minutes.
How to Pump (Double Pumping): the preferred method when possible. It requires the least
amount of time and increases production levels faster than single pumping.
Wash hands thoroughly.
Express in a comfortable setting with privacy and comfortable seating.
Relax with a soothing drink for a few minutes. Allow enough time so as to not feel
Begin with a warm compress and massage your breasts.
Double pump for 10 to 15 minutes or two minutes after the flow of milk has stopped.
Storage of Breast Milk
Store in plastic bottle bags, rigid plastic bottles or glass containers.
Freeze plastic bottle bags in an upright position. Double bag to prevent leaks.
Store in 2 to 4 ounce volumes depending on the amount your baby usually takes at each
feeding. Smaller amounts thaw quicker and you will waste less.
Do not add freshly expressed milk to milk already frozen. This may cause the previously
frozen milk to thaw and increases the risk of contamination.
You may continue to add small amounts of breast milk to the same container
throughout the day. Chill in the refrigerator until evening. Then, freeze in appropriate
Label container with baby’s name, date and amount collected.
Thaw by placing the container under warm, running water. Do not use hot water, as this
can destroy some of the immunological protection.
Shake bottle to ensure an even temperature and to mix any fat that has separated.
Test a few drops on your wrist to be sure it is near body temperature.
Never use a microwave because it heats the milk unevenly. Temperatures greater than
100° degrees Fahrenheit destroy vitamins contained in the milk.
Discard any breast milk left in the bottle after a feeding because bacteria enters from
the baby’s mouth and contaminates the milk.
If you need to transport milk to the hospital, keep it frozen. Bring refrigerated or frozen
milk to the hospital well-packed in ice or reusable freezer packs in an ice chest. If the
milk thaws or becomes slushy it should be used within 24 hours.
 The color, consistency and odor of your breast milk may vary depending upon your diet.
How much breast milk should you leave for your baby for each feeding?
That depends on the individual infant, but here are some guidelines:
Average Intake By Age
Average Intake By Weight
Months Old
Ounces per feeding
Weight of Infant
Ounces in 24 hrs
Weight of Infant
Ounces per feeding
2-5 oz
4-6 oz
5-6 oz
8 lbs.
9 lbs.
10 lbs.
21.3 oz.
24.0 oz.
26.7 oz.
11 lbs.
12 lbs.
14 lbs.
29.3 oz.
32.0 oz.
37.3 oz.
**(Take the Weight of the baby in pounds and multiply it
by 2.6. This is how many ounces is needed in 24 hours.)
Storage Guidelines:
Room Temp.
Home Freezer
Freshly Expressed
6-10 hrs.
72 hrs.
6 mo.
Thawed Breast
Do Not Keep at Room
24 hrs.
Never Refreeze
Thawed Milk
-20°F Freezer
12 mo.
Never Refreeze
Thawed Milk
Expressing Breast Milk By Hand
Expressing milk by hand involves one important principle; the milk must be squeezed from the back of
the milk reservoirs forward. This means that the squeezing motion begins well behind the areola and
moves forward. The final squeeze of your fingers must be just behind the outer edge of the areola and
not on the areola or nipple. In this way, the milk stored in the reservoirs is pushed out of the nipple
Grasp the outer edge of the areola between thumb and two fingers – thumb on top, fingers
Squeeze fingers and thumb together while pushing away from the nipple.
Change direction and squeeze toward the nipple.
Move thumb and fingers a quarter turn and repeat until you have gone all the way around the
Techniques of manual expression vary from mother to mother. Each woman develops variations that
work best for her. When you’re first learning, practice while you are in the shower or bath feeling
relaxed. Try different pressures of your thumb and fingers.
Babies With Special Needs
Some babies may be born with “special needs.” Conditions such as prematurity, Down Syndrome, a
cardiac condition or cleft lip and/or cleft palate may require different breastfeeding techniques. Nursing
is still possible, even though a medical condition may be present. In fact, breast milk may be even more
advantageous for these infants. Since each situation is different, ask your lactation consultant or
Mother/Baby Educator for the personal help you need.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs
The amount of alcohol that passes into breast milk can vary, but remember, it does pass into the breast
milk. There is no way to tell how much alcohol can affect a nursing baby, and therefore alcohol is not
recommended for nursing mothers. It is best for a nursing mother not to smoke; it may cause a
reduction in your milk production.
As with alcohol, nicotine and other potentially harmful substances in cigarettes pass into the milk.
Inhaling cigarette smoke can cause potentially serious respiratory problems for your baby. Some recent
studies conclude that breast-fed babies of smoking mothers sleep less and cry more. You should never
smoke while nursing; besides the risks mentioned above, your baby could be burned. Most medications
taken by a nursing mother pass into the milk.
The medications prescribed by your doctor while you are a patient in the hospital are perfectly safe to
take. Always consult with your doctor or lactation specialist before taking any other medications. Illegal
substances, such as marijuana or cocaine, remain in your body for an extended period of time and are
passed to your baby when breastfeeding. They should never be used by the breastfeeding mother. If
your doctor prescribes a new medication for you, be sure to remind him you are still nursing your baby.
If you have to take a medicine that may be harmful to your nursing baby, and if you need to take it for
only a short period of time, pump or express your milk and discard it while feeding your baby formula or
previously expressed milk. You may resume nursing as soon as the doctor tells you the drug is no longer
in your system.
When you are pregnant, your body stores extra nutrients and fat to prepare you for
breastfeeding. Once your baby is born, you need more food and nutrients than normal to
provide fuel for milk production. When you are nursing:
Eat a well-balanced diet. During breastfeeding you need about 500 calories a day more
than you did before you became pregnant or about 2,500 calories a day for most
Make sure you get 1,000 mg of calcium a day. It is recommended to continue taking a
daily vitamin as long as you are breast feeding.
Avoid foods that bother the baby. If your baby acts fussy or gets a rash, diarrhea, or
congestion after nursing, let your baby's doctor know. This can signal a food allergy.
Drink at least eight glasses of liquid a day.
Do not drink large amounts of beverages with caffeine, like coffee, teas and colas or
alcoholic beverages. Moderation is essential.
Drink 2-3 quarts daily (ex.: water, herb tea, fruit juice) or drink to quench your thirst.
Find Your Balance Between Food and Physical Activity
Be sure to stay within your daily calorie needs.
Do light physical activity at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
Know the Limits on Fats, Sugars and Salt (Sodium)
Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening and lard, as well as foods that contain these.
Check the Nutrition Facts label to keep saturated fats, trans fats and sodium low.
Choose food and beverages low in added sugars. Added sugars contribute calories with few, if any,
Make half your grains whole.
Vary your veggies.
 Eat more dark-green veggies like broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens.
 Eat more orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.
 Eat more dry beans and peas like pinto beans, kidney beans and lentils.
Focus on fruits.
 Eat a variety of fruit.
 Choose fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruit.
 Go easy on fruit juices.
Get your calcium-rich foods.
• Go low-fat or fat-free when you choose milk, yogurt and other milk products.
• If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium
sources such as fortified foods and beverages.
Go lean with protein.
• Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry.
• Bake it, broil it or grill it.
• Vary your protein routine - choose more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
Supplemental Feeding
It is important to wait to introduce bottle feeding until you and your baby have had at least three to four
weeks of successful breastfeeding. This way supplemental feedings won’t interfere with the
establishment of your breast milk supply and promote nipple confusion. When you decide to add
supplemental feedings there are many ways you can choose to do this.
When you are away, your baby can receive a supplemental feeding by bottle. You can pump during a
missed feeding or eliminate a feeding completely. Ideally the supplement will be breast milk you have
expressed and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If for any reason breast milk is not available, formula
may be used. The amount of formula your baby will need for one occasion can be prepared with powder
since any formula left in the bottle or cup needs to be thrown away.
Some babies do better if someone other than their mother gives the first several bottles. If you plan to
have your baby fed mostly breast milk, start expressing your milk and storing it in the freezer several
weeks before your new routine starts. To begin this freezer supply, you may want to express milk after a
feeding when your baby hasn’t vigorously nursed. Another good time to express and build your frozen
milk supply is when you miss a breastfeeding session in order to give your baby the first supplemental
If you are planning to continue to mostly breastfeed, substitute feedings should be used only when
necessary and no more than once or twice a day. If your milk supply seems to be decreasing, continue to
express milk frequently while you are away. You may want to increase breastfeeding sessions when at
home. This should increase your supply.
Weaning From Breastfeeding
There is no set time or age to begin weaning your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends breastfeeding through the first year of life as a minimum. However, you may decide to
wean your baby earlier. The decision to discontinue breastfeeding partially or completely can be made
by you and your baby at any age.
When you have made the choice to begin weaning to a cup or bottle, depending on your infant’s age, do
it gradually. Select any one feeding to skip, except the last one in the evening, or the first one in the
morning. Instead of nursing, offer a cup or bottle of breast milk, or formula. Your breast may feel full
during this time for a couple of days, but soon your body will adjust to deleting this feeding.
Wait several days, to a week, before you choose to wean from another feeding; do not choose two
consecutive feedings. At some point though, you may have to do this. Eventually, you will be left with
just the morning and evening feedings to wean from. At this time, you may choose either one of these,
or your baby may make the choice for you.
After you have weaned completely, you may at times feel that your breasts are full. This is a very normal
sensation. Either nurse your baby just enough to relieve the discomfort, use your breast pump, or hand
express the milk. You may continue to have some breast milk for a few days or weeks, which may leak
infrequently. Applying pressure against your breast should stop the milk from leaking at that moment.
As a breastfeeding mother, you probably will not resume your period right away, as long as you are
regularly nursing your baby. As you begin to wean or have completely weaned your baby, expect to start
your period within a few weeks.
Occasionally, a mother may start her period about four to six weeks after the baby is born. Even though
she is nursing, she may continue to have her period, either regularly or irregularly. You can continue to
nurse during your period; there is no effect on your milk or your baby.
Please discuss contraception with your doctor even if you have not resumed your menses.
Postpartum Sexuality
As new parents, regaining sexuality may be one of the biggest challenges you face. All couples face
common physical and psychological obstacles. Many of these are beyond your control to alleviate.
For example:
Vaginal bleeding for several weeks.
Uterine contractions.
Engorged breasts and sore nipples.
Discomfort from your episiotomy or abdominal incision.
After a few weeks the majority of these will have subsided except for fatigue. This can become a major
problem in your relationship unless you communicate your feelings and needs to each other. When you
finally get into bed at night your only interest may be in sleep, not sex. Compassion and understanding
for both partners may help you through this stressful time. Encourage sharing housework, errands and
caring for baby without being demanding, but make your feelings known.
Breastfeeding will help to burn up calories faster than if you were bottle feeding. You may lose your
pregnancy weight sooner and begin to look like yourself again, though you still may not feel that way. Be
patient; over time you will regain your interest in sex.
Your partner may also begin to feel ignored. He sees all of your attention and energy going toward the
baby and he may begin to feel neglected. Remember, keep communicating and try to find a time for just
the two of you.
Low estrogen levels are associated with breastfeeding and may cause vaginal dryness, tightness and
tenderness. If intercourse is painful or uncomfortable for you, more foreplay may help. Try to use a
water-based lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly. The hormonal changes that occur during foreplay/intercourse
stimulate a let-down in some women. If this bothers you or your partner, try feeding the baby or
expressing some milk before having intercourse. Applying pressure to the nipples when the milk begins
to let-down will stop the milk flow.
Your doctor will tell you when you may resume sexual activity.
When you decide to become sexually active, you will need to use a method of birth control if you do not
wish to become pregnant. Generally, spacing between pregnancies is recommended for mother and
baby’s health. Discuss this with your doctor. As a breastfeeding mother you can become pregnant, even
though you may not have started your period yet.
The most common methods breastfeeding women use are:
Intrauterine device (IUD).
Progesterone only pill: The Mini-pill
Injectable progesterone (Depo-Provera).
Breast Feeding Log for the First Week of Life
Circle the hour when your baby nurses.
Circle the W when your baby has a wet diaper.
Circle the S when your baby has a soiled diaper.
During the first week, you will use more diapers each day.
Day One
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Black tarry soiled diaper
Day Two
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Black-green tarry soiled diaper
Day Three
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Green soiled diaper
Day Four
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Yellow soiled diaper
Day Five
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Yellow soiled diaper
Day Six
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Yellow soiled diaper
Day Seven
12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Wet Diaper
Yellow soiled diaper
Birth Date: _______________
Time: ____________AM PM
Goal (at least)
6 to 8
6 to 8
8 to 12
8 to 12
8 to 12
8 to 12
8 to 12
6 to 8+
4 to 12