Dr. Lisa Dana
At the first newborn visit in my office, new parents have many questions. Naturally, many of the questions are about breastfeeding. New moms may have read about nursing, but they often have no idea what to ask until they are actually experiencing it for the first time. Here are 5 of the most common questions that I hear in my office.
1. How often should I nurse? The more frequently you nurse, the more successful you will be. A successful nursing mom nurses 9- 11 times per day. This frequency should not overwhelm you. It is only in the first weeks that you will feel like all your doing all day is nursing. Frequent nursing establishes your breastmilk supply.
2. What foods should I avoid? You will need a diet rich in protein, vegetables and healthy fats. I recommend that new moms eat 5 meals per day. This helps make rich, healthy milk. Do not be afraid of flavor, spice, black beans, lentils and other legumes. Fish is also a great food, but I do recommend that you avoid fish that are high in mercury. BabyCenter also reviews fish and breastfeeding. If for any reason, your baby does have feeding issues, your pediatrician will talk to you about foods that may need to be eliminated from your diet.
3. Can I give my baby a pacifier? My biggest concern with pacifiers is that a new mom may miss a cue to feed. Newborns nurse frequently. If they are wanting to suck one hour after the last feed, they are hungry and need to nurse. If you give the baby a pacifier to postpone a feeding, your baby will miss a feed. If your baby is wanting to continue to suck after a successful nursing session, then a pacifier is okay to use.
4. When can I let my baby sleep through the night? Newborns should feed frequently. You do not want them to sleep long stretches at night, and miss those feeds. If a baby is nursing well, and mom’s milk is in, I will tell moms that they can let their babies do one four hour stretch during the night. They need to get those 9-11 feeds in per 24 hours so mom will be nursing more during the day. If the baby continues to gain weight well, then I will talk to the new moms about my 7 Steps to Sleep routine at 3-4 weeks of age.
5. When can I pump? You will not want to pump until your baby is 3-4 weeks old. You want to wait until you have established a nursing routine before you begin to pump. If you pump too soon, your body may get confused. Your milk supply may decrease, and in certain situations, you can over produce. If you do need to pump in the first weeks, it should be under the guidance of your pediatrician and a lactation consultant.
For more information, check out BabyCenter’s Guide to Breastfeeding.