Breastfeeding FAQs with a Lactation Consultant

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Nicole Schumm, RN, IBCLC answers questions about breastfeeding.

Nicole Schumm, RN, IBCLC, has been an OB nurse since 1999. In 2017, she became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is passionate about breastfeeding and helping new moms meet their breastfeeding goals. In recognition of National Breastfeeding Month, we interviewed Nicole to ask her some of the most frequently asked questions new moms have about breastfeeding.

How often should baby eat?
Think “8 or more in 24.” That means 8 or more feedings in 24 hours. That sounds like a lot – because it is a lot! Baby’s bellies are very small and only can hold a small amount at a time. Keep in mind that when a baby is going through a growth spurt, they will eat more than eight times. This is normal!

How do I know if baby is latched properly?
1. It doesn’t hurt!
2. You hear them swallow
3. They come off the breast satisfied.

How can I tell if I’m making enough milk?
You know you’re making enough milk if your baby is gaining weight!

If my supply is low, how can I increase it?
If you think your supply is low, contact a lactation consultant. They will work with you to investigate possibilities leading to lower milk supply. More than likely, the first thing that will be recommended is to add more milk removals to your breast (either by having baby nurse more frequently or by pumping). The next thing that would be recommended would be to add different herbs and/or foods that have been identified to help increase your supply. Occasionally there are medical reasons that may cause low milk supply. All of these things will be discussed between you and the lactation consultant.

How much should I be eating and drinking while breastfeeding?
Keep it simple: when you are hungry eat; when you are thirsty, drink! Also, eat a well-balanced, colorful diet.

Are there any foods I should avoid? The foods you should avoid are the ones you don’t like! Something interesting about breastmilk is that the flavor of milk varies based on the foods moms eat. This prepares baby for the solid foods he’ll receive when he is older!

When should I start pumping to build up a supply?
Wait until your milk supply has well established—this is around 3-4 weeks. There are many ways to go about this, but one way that is recommended is to pump for 15 minutes after the first morning feed. The hormone that makes the milk is highest at this time so you tend to have more milk then.

When is the best time to introduce a bottle to my baby?
 It is important to wait until breastfeeding is well established before introducing a bottle, which is around 3-4 weeks. One way to introduce bottles is to pump right before baby is ready to eat and then feed that expressed milk to the baby. If he acts hungry after taking the bottle, bring him to the breast. That is definitely ok to do!

Breastfeeding is harder than I expected. Do you have any advice?
Yes! Take it one feed at a time and one day at time. Remember this is new for the both of you and it may take a little bit of time to get it figured out! Give yourself some grace and remember that all things that are worth doing take time.

As an IBCLC, how can you help me?
I will support you in your breastfeeding journey and assist you in meeting your breastfeeding goals. I will sit beside you and watch you breastfeed, troubleshoot where necessary, investigate problems and guide you in the direction to best suit you and your baby’s needs.

Nicole is available to answer questions via phone or email before and after baby’s arrival. Contact her at 419-678-5670 or nschumm@mercer-health.com.

For more breastfeeding support, patient education or information about our Childbirth Center, visit mercer-health.com.

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