Caring for Mom

Breastfeeding Basics

Breastfeeding basics

Breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby, and we want to ensure that you have all the support you need for a healthy start. Getting started with breastfeeding is not always easy — and that’s why we’re here to help!

Many questions come up in those first few weeks. Sometimes you just need to be reassured that you’re on the right track. Or, you may have concerns and challenges that need to be resolved. Here are some common questions about breastfeeding:

How many times a day should I nurse my baby, and how long should each feeding last? Breastfeed your newborn as often as he or she wants to be fed, which may be eight to 12 or more times a day. Let your baby breastfeed until satisfied. It is common for babies to nurse 15 to 20 minutes at each breast for each feeding.

How do I know if baby is getting enough milk? If baby acts satisfied after each feeding and continues to gain weight, then you’re doing great! As long as you nurse regularly, your milk production will keep pace with baby’s changing needs. For a good measure of whether baby is getting enough, make sure he or she has about six to eight wet diapers a day. If you have concerns about your baby’s feeding or weight, ask your child’s doctor.

What should I do I’m having breast or nipple pain? Try changing nursing positions to make sure you are comfortable and baby is supported. Make sure baby is “latched on” and sucking the right way. A lactation consultant can help you and your baby find a comfortable position.

What should I eat (or avoid) as a nursing mom? Eat a balanced diet with five servings of dairy products or other calcium-rich foods. It’s important for you to stay hydrated, so drink plenty of water. If baby becomes fussy or develops a rash after nursing, talk to your doctor; something in your diet could be causing the reaction. Limit caffeine and alcohol (they can get into your milk) and don’t take any medications without talking to your doctor first.

For Advice on Feeding Your Infant

  • Call your child’s family doctor or pediatrician office if you have questions about feeding your baby.
  • Get the help you need with breastfeeding through Winnie Palmer Hospital’s Breastfeeding Education Center.
  • Join Mother Baby TEA (TLC, Education, Answers), a group that meets regularly to address the unique needs of mothers and babies up to 8 weeks old.