Frequently Asked Questions
How often will baby need to feed?
Your baby will need to feed often. The stomach cannot hold a
lot at one time. It is only about the size of a cherry at birth
to the size of a walnut at day three.
Keep your baby close to you. Watch for feeding signs such as
stirring, stretching, moving hands to mouth, sucking, licking,
rooting, rapid eye movement and waking.
A drowsy period is a good time for your baby to start feeding.
Watch for the stirring and stretching motions that happen before
the baby is fully awake.
Offer the breast whenever your baby shows feeding signs, and
at least 8 times in 24 hours. There may be periods of many small
feeds over several hours. This helps to build up your milk supply.
Room sharing helps with breastfeeding
Sharing a room with your baby for the first six months to a
year helps you to be able to respond to your baby’s feeding
cues and feed often. Having baby close by can also help you to
rest well. While there is no sleeping environment that is completely
risk free, the safest place for your baby to sleep is on his back,
in a cot or crib by your bed.
When should I change sides?
In the early days, you will need to offer both breasts at each
Signs that your baby needs to move to the other side, or be
burped, include restlessness, letting go of the breast, falling
asleep or sucking more than swallowing. Try burping the bay, then
offer the other side.
At the next feed, start with the side you fed last. Aim to nurse
about the same amount at each breast by the end of the day.
Is my baby getting enough milk?
When babies nurse well, their diapers need to be changed often.
Count diapers baby uses each day until you know your bay is gaining
weight well. A diaper that is similar to one holding 3 tablespoons
of water counts as one wet diaper. A diaper filled with poop counts
as one poopy diaper. The minimum number of diapers to expect each
If you have concerns that your baby is not peeing or pooping
enough, call your public health nurse.
What is unique about breastmilk that helps babies stay
Breastmilk is a living substance; it contains:
- Active factors that work in the digestive system to keep it
- Immune factors that fight illnesses
- Enzymes that help digest the fats
- Cells that kill germs in stored breastmilk
Where does my milk come from?
The milk is made in little sacs inside the breast. It comes
through small tubes to the nipple. This area looks like the roots
of a tree, with small ducts intertwined. When you hand express,
your fingers will come together behind this area to push the milk
through the nipple.
What amount of milk can I expect to express?
It takes 10-30 seconds of expressing before your brain can receive
and transmit the message for your breasts to release your milk.
In the first days expect drops and with practice sprays, can
How can I maximize milk production for a baby who can’t
Use “hands– on” expression and pumping together
“Hands- on pumping” is a breast massage and breast
compression technique that is used while you are pumping and after
you are done pumping. This can double the amount of breast milk
you express or pump during each session.
A video at http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/MaxProduction.html
demonstrates hands-on pumping.
Does my baby need more than my milk?
Your healthy full term breastfed baby can rely on you alone.
He also has stores of nutrients that he was born with, including
iron. This will last until he starts eating solids well between
6 and 9 months.
Friends or relatives may suggest other foods to feed your baby,
such as sugar water, traditional newborn foods, formula baby food
or infant cereal. These will interfere with your milk supply.
They will also keep your baby from getting all the benefits of
Being hungry and thirsty are signs that your body is producing
- Be sure to eat regularly and often. Eat when you are hungry.
- Drink plenty of fluids. You know you are getting enough if
your urine is pale.
- Drink mostly water. Fruit juices, soups and milk are also
good sources of fluids.
It only takes basic foods to make breastmilk.
Do I have to drink milk to make milk?
No. It is just easier to get calcium and vitamin D if you drink
milk or eat milk products. If you do not drink milk, you may want
to talk to your Public Health Nutritionist or a dietitian about
other sources or supplements.
Can I lose weight while breastfeeding?
Nursing often is a physical activity that improves your body's
metabolism the same way exercise does. It will also help stabilize
your insulin levels if you have had gestational diabetes. Losing
the weight you gained will happen more easily if you nurse often
- avoid introducing your baby to formula or solid foods before
- continue to nurse your baby into the second year. and beyond
Avoid dieting as this can make you feel physical tired and can
make you feel cranky.
What if my child is sick with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea?
- let your family doctor know you are breastfeeding,
- follow medical advice,
- avoid giving your child solid foods as directed,
- stay with your child; nurse very frequently including during
What if I have to be apart from my baby to go back to school
Continuing to breastfeed as you go back to school or work is
a smart strategy for busy parents. It is also a employer’s
responsibility to accommodate your breastfeeding needs at work.
Information to take to your manager is available.
Separations are never easy when the baby is younger than 2 years
of age. It is even more difficult for mothers whose infants are
under six months of age. Even small amounts of breastfeeding can
help keep your baby strong and healthy.
Mothers often feel pressure to wean their baby on to a bottle
as they resume paid work. However, it is easier on the baby not
to be weaned at this time. Babies often change their eating and
sleeping pattern to match their mother’s schedule. For example
if you are away during the day your baby may eat less than usual
when he is away from you. He will want to nurse more in the evening
and at night.
Mothers and babies can and do manage by sleeping with the baby
near by during the night, as the baby will want to nurse more
often, expressing milk during rest breaks at work, providing expressed
milk for caregivers to feed the baby by cup, breastfeed often
on days off.