Breastfeeding answers from an expert
Lactation expert answers some of the most common breastfeeding questions.
Breastfeeding is not just about food. It’s part of a nurturing care package that helps children to grow and thrive throughout their entire lives.
Based on the scientific evidence linked to the lifelong benefits of breastfeeding, UNICEF and WHO recommend that babies are exclusively breastfeed for six months, starting immediately after birth, and thereafter continue breastfeeding, supplemented adequately with other feeding for at least two years.
Is breastfeeding easy?
Sometimes mothers get messages that breastfeeding is natural and it’s easy. Sometimes breastfeeding can be easy with the first baby and then difficult with the second baby for the same mother. So it really just depends.
Does breastfeeding hurt?
You shouldn’t stop breastfeeding if your nipples hurt, this is something that’s naturally going to happen. You should keep breastfeeding, but get help to see why your nipples are hurting.
How much should my baby eat?
Babies show signs of hunger about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Newborn babies need to eat a lot because they’re growing rapidly. They double their birth weight in the first six months of life, if not before. You can imagine how much you would need to eat if you had to double your weight!
Should I wash my nipples before breastfeeding?
It’s not necessary to wash your nipples before you breastfeed, because the breasts and the skin around the nipple actually produce good bacteria. And it’s that good bacteria that helps to prevent infections on the mother’s breast.
When should I start breastfeeding?
The first hour after birth is a very important time for the mother and the baby. Breastfeeding is a very organized, neurological behavior. And so right after birth, keeping them against the mother’s skin can help them to be calm enough to start to seek the breast. If we leave mothers and babies like that after birth, babies will usually start to go towards the breast on their own within about 30 minutes to one hour.
What should I eat while breastfeeding?
Most mothers can eat anything they want when they breastfeed. They can follow their normal diet. The interesting thing is that whatever the mothers eat, the babies may be able to taste through their milk. This can start to get them ready for table foods when they’re about 6 months old.
Will I have to wean my baby when I got back to work?
We would hope that mothers who return to work do not have to wean their babies. Mothers need time and they need support to continue to breastfeed their babies. They need the support of their family, they need the support of their workplace, their employers, they need the support of their entire community.
UNICEF Mini Parenting Master Class with Dr. Michele Griswold PhD, MPH, RN, IBCLC. Dr Griswold is a lactation consultant, registered nurse, breastfeeding researcher and advocate. She represents the International Lactation Consultant Association to the WHO/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective, which calls on governments and society as a whole to provide mothers the support they need to breastfeed.