For first-time moms, breastfeeding questions can seem like a minefield. There are heaps of questions you’d like to ask, but, frankly, feel uncomfortable about discussing such intimate issues. Guess what – you’re perfectly normal! Here are answers to six of the most commonly withheld questions about breastfeeding.
1. I have small breasts. Can I produce enough milk for my baby?
‘Most women are capable of producing enough milk for their babies, no matter what size their breasts are,’ says Deedee Franke RN, a certified lactation consultant and maternal child nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. ‘Some moms may produce more milk than others, but that’s because breast tissue varies between women, and some are able to store more milk.’ In fact, small-breasted women can produce even more milk than their bigger-breasted friends.
2. Why are my breasts so hard and painful?
About 2–5 days after your baby’s birth, your breasts may feel hard, hot and achy as your milk ‘comes in’. ‘Drain your breasts frequently,’ says La Leche League South Africa’s Leani Khan. ‘Remember that a newborn should nurse every three hours, day and night. If your baby isn’t nursing, express your milk frequently by hand or pump.’ A warm compress before feeding can encourage milk to flow, and a cold compress after nursing (try a bag of frozen peas in a clean dishtowel) will reduce tissue swelling. ‘If engorgement is making it difficult for your baby to latch, gently massage around the base of your nipple with your fingertips to soften the area,’ she advises.
3. I dislike the sensation of breastfeeding. Will my baby be satisfied if I pump my milk?
‘Some mothers physically don’t enjoy the act of breastfeeding, but want to give their baby their own breast milk,’ says Franke. If your baby is happy when being bottle-fed your breast milk, go ahead. Leave guilt at the door.
4. My nipples are cracked and painful. Should I continue breastfeeding?
Sore nipples are common in the early weeks of breastfeeding, Franke says. If you’re suffering, chances are your baby isn’t latching on correctly. ‘A deep, comfortable latch is your first defence against nipple pain and damage, and will also help your baby get more milk,’ explains lactation consultant Stephanie Weight Hadfield. Loosen your baby’s suction with finger and thumb, and try again. And remember to massage each breast for a minute or two beforehand to help stimulate milk flow.
5. Is it normal to leak in public?
As a new mom’s milk supply becomes established, it’s not uncommon for them to experience leakage. Some moms get that familiar tingling in their breasts just by thinking about their baby or hearing a baby cry. Breast pads are your best friends until things settle down. (Our reusable 100% cotton breast pads are ultra-soft and absorbent – find them here )
6. Is it OK to breastfeed in public?
It’s perfectly acceptable to nurse your baby in public. Guard your privacy, though. Wear clothing that doesn’t expose your breasts, or use a soft blanket to shelter you both. A sling is a convenient way to carry your newborn, and provides an extra layer of privacy when breastfeeding. ‘If you find that you cannot relax and be at ease, rather find a place where you are comfortable,’ says Dr Kerschbaumer. ‘Baby will then also be more content.’
Above all, she adds, trust yourself. ‘Relax, and enjoy your baby; being stressed will impact your milk supply. If you need guidance, DO NOT be afraid to ask for advice. Other factors could be at play if you are experiencing a low milk supply.’
What’s Your Take Away?
What is your experience with breastfeeding? Have you found anything in particular to help your personal situation or advice that you found helpful from your mother or someone else?? We’d love to know your experience – it’ll be great of you share with us on Facebook.
Acknowledgements & Photo credits
Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.
- Kerschbaumer, Dr H.F.C, Flora Force
- Koutsky, J. 10 Breastfeeding Questions You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask https://www.fitpregnancy.com/baby/breastfeeding/10-breastfeeding-questions-youre-too-embarrassed-to-ask
- La Leche League International SA. https://www.lllsa.org/
- Living and Loving. https://www.livingandloving.co.za/
- Phiona en Nathan