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A parent to parent voluntary support charity

Breastfeeding FAQ's

Breastfeeding FAQ'sWill it hurt?

It shouldn't, and if it does, something is not quite right. In the first week it is normal to feel slightly uncomfortable at the start of a feed as the collagen fibres are being stretched, but continuous pain throughout a feed is not part of the normal course of breastfeeding. If you are finding feeding to be painful, and your nipples are becoming cracked or sore, seek help immediately from the hospital lactation consultant or contact your Cuidiú Breastfeeding Counsellor. All that may be needed is a slight adjustment of positioning and attachment.

How do I position my baby?

There is no right or wrong answer to this one. Once it feels right (not sore) and baby takes the breast deeply and comfortably, with no issues of milk transfer (baby is getting the milk well and is growing and gaining) this is the 'right' position for you and your baby. See link provided for information on Biological Nurturing, also known as Laid Back Breastfeeding: Biological Nurturing / Laid Back Breastfeeding

How will I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

Once your baby latches on well (no issues with milk transfer) and feeds well, is growing and gaining, is fed on cue - not by the clock, and has a good nappy output. You can rest assured as breastfeeding is most likely going great for you both. In the early weeks of breastfeeding you can expect on average 3-4 dirty and 5-6 wet nappies per day. From 6 weeks (approx) onwards stooling frequency may decrease.

Some breastfed babies may go as long as a week before having a bowel movement which is not a concern once baby is growing and gaining. See links provided for more information:

How often should I feed my baby?

You can never breastfeed your baby too often, but you can feed him too little. Feed your baby on cue and not by the clock. On average a breastfed baby may feed anything from 8-12 times per day - this varies slightly from baby to baby. When going through a growth spurt expect your baby to feed more often.

Many babies clusterfeed (when babies space feedings closer together ) which is most common in the evening time. This is normal and does not mean that you do not have enough milk to fully sustain your baby. Trust in your body and your baby. Try not to worry about routines, follow your baby's lead. See links provided for more information :

Will breastfeeding tie me down?

It shouldn't. If anything breastfeeding should bring you freedom, as breastfed babies are very portable. You can dash off out armed only with a few nappies, never having to worry about running out of supplies, making up or heating bottles, sterilising, or worrying if the water is safe. Human milk is economical, always sterile, always the right temperature and always 'on tap' - you are all your baby needs.

My baby wants to be in my arms all the time, is this normal?

Yes! Your baby has been snuggled inside you for the last 9 months and still believes he is part of you, it's his survival instincts kicking in when you try to put him down and he protests. When he's in your arms he can hear the familiar sound of your heartbeat, your smell, your voice, which is reassuring and comforting to him.

See link provided for a beautifully written letter by Imogen O'Reilly ( Alternative Mama) to all mothers who worry that their babies are spending too much time in their arms. Hold your Baby - Imogen O'Reilly

(Alternative Mama)

What about dad?

There are lots of things dad can do with baby. Some of which include - spending skin to skin time together, wearing baby in a sling, nappy changing and bath time. It is a myth that dad's needs to feed baby in order to bond. Mothers are biologically designed to feed their babies and dad's can do just about everything else but feed. Dads and Breastfeeding - KellyMom

When should I start expressing?

Under normal circumstances it is not recommended to express until your supply is established, around 6 weeks approx. Once breastfeeding is going well it is easier to feed baby directly from the breast. It is more time consuming when you add pumping to the equation. Plus, if you choose a bottle as your method of supplementation this increases the risk of nipple confusion and flow preference. For more see: Alternative Feeding Methods

I feed my baby to sleep - is this a bad habit?

Feeding your baby to sleep is the most natural thing in the world. Human milk contains a wonderful hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) which induces sleepiness, both in mother and baby. When a baby feeds, CCK is released within the mother which helps her rest and relax...this is nature, not a bad habit.

Feeding to sleep is a wonderful tool to have, don't be afraid to use it.

When will my baby sleep through the night?

When your baby is developmentally ready to do so.

See link provided for information on what is biologically normal for human babies when it comes to sleep: ISIS (Infant Sleep Information Source)

How long should I breastfeed?

For as long as both you and your baby are happy to continue. The World Health Organisation (WHO), Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Health and Children (DoHC) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, with continued breastfeeding, in combination with suitably nutritious and safe complementary foods until children are 2 years of age or beyond.