- Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies
- Breastmilk is easy to digest
- Breastfed babies are healthier and have fewer infections and illnesses
- Breastfeeding helps your baby’s eyes and brain develop
- Breastfeeding helps you lose weight and get back into shape
- Breastfeeding lowers your risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer and osteoporosis
- Breastfeeding is great for mother-baby bonding
- Moms and babies enjoy breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding saves money (no formula or bottle costs, fewer doctor bills and medication costs)
- Breastfeeding saves time, no messy bottles to fix at night so everyone sleeps better
- Breastfed babies are easy to take on trips, just grab the diapers and go!
Questions About Breastfeeding
Can I make enough milk?
Your body and breasts were made to breastfeed your baby. The more often you breastfeed, the more milk your body makes. The amount of milk you make is not affected by:
- The size of your breasts
- Whether your mom or grandmother was able to breastfeed
- The kinds of food you eat
The amount of milk you make is affected by:
- Breastfeeding early (right after delivery) and often
- Letting your baby tell you when he is full, rather than using a clock
- Making sure your baby is latched on well to most effectively obtain milk
If you have questions about building your milk supply or positioning your baby for breastfeeding ask your lactation consultant, WIC breastfeeding peer counselor or staff person or your health care provider.
My milk never came in
Unfortunately, many mothers have not been educated on when to expect their milk to come in. This leads mothers to expect that their breastmilk will begin “flowing” immediately after birth. Realistically, a mother’s milk comes in on average 30-40 hours after delivery. Do not fear. There is plenty of goodness at the breast for your baby from the moment she or he is born. The baby will be getting colostrum, your “first milk”, at this time, so baby has the best food possible to eat!
I’m taking prescription drugs or using other drugs
Many prescription drugs/medications are OK to use while breastfeeding but make sure you seek advice from your physician. Breastfeeding mothers should not use illicit drugs (like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.) because they pass into the breastmilk making them hazardous and addicting to your baby.
I have a medical condition
Most of the time your medical condition won’t affect your breastmilk and it shouldn’t stop you from breastfeeding. Always consult your physician. In fact, breastfeeding can help your baby stay healthy and reduce her risk for serious conditions like diabetes. If you are HIV positive or have AIDS you should not breastfeed.
How do I know my baby is getting enough breastmilk?
Making enough milk is often a concern because you can’t see how much your baby is eating. Look for the following to help reassure you:
1. Breastfeed your baby when he shows “hunger cues” every 1 1/2 – 3 hours (8-12 times) in 24 hours or as often as your baby wants to nurse. Some babies eat more frequently at some times of the day and less frequently at other times (older babies will breastfeed less often)
2. By age 3-4 days, every 24 hours your baby should be having:
- 6-8 very wet diapers
- 3-5 soiled diapers
3. Your baby is latching on well
4. You can see, feel or hear your baby swallowing
5. Your baby seems content and happy after breastfeeding
I’ve heard breastfeeding hurts
Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. Make sure your baby is latching on correctly. Make sure to breastfeed regularly so that your breasts don’t become engorged (uncomfortably full, hard or warm). You may feel some discomfort right after birth because breastfeeding helps your uterus shrink and reduces the amount of uterine bleeding. This is good for you. It will only last a day or so. You can ask for medication to reduce this discomfort. If you feel pain while breastfeeding, something isn’t right. Ask your lactation consultant, WIC breastfeeding peer counselor or staff person or your health care provider for help.
I need to go back to work or school
Many women continue breastfeeding when they return to work or school. Here are some ideas many breastfeeding mothers have found helpful. Get off to a good start:
- Breastfeed at least 8-12 times per day during the first two weeks to build up your milk supply
- Don’t offer a bottle or pacifier for 4-6 weeks so your baby doesn’t get confused by the different nipples
- Find a childcare provider who is supportive of breastfeeding. Talk to your health care or WIC provider about breast pumps and the possibility of expressing milk while you are away. About 1-2 weeks before returning to work or school introduce a bottle of expressed breastmilk. Breastfeed your baby just before you leave and as soon as possible once you return from being away. Continue to breastfeed often when you are at home.
What if I smoke?
Smoking and second-hand smoke are a health risk for all family members. If you are unable to quit smoking during your pregnancy, cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke each day will benefit everyone.
Nicotine and its by-products will enter into your breastmilk, but research studies have shown:
- The benefits of breastfeeding usually outweigh this risk
- Although smoking will put your baby at a higher risk for respiratory illnesses, the protective nature of breastmilk will help to decrease this risk
You can minimize the effect smoke has on your baby by:
- Smoking after breastfeeding, not before
- Decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day
- Never smoking in the same room as your baby
Congratulations on your decision to breastfeed your baby! You and your baby will both benefit from the experience of breastfeeding. However, along the way you may encounter a problem or two and that’s where our Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program can help.
The program was designed to help WIC mothers that are breastfeeding or considering breastfeeding with any issues and concerns that may arise before or after baby is born. Our program has four Peer Counselors who are available via telephone from 8am-9pm, 6 days a week (Mon.-Sat.). One of our counselors is bilingual. Remember, if it is an emergency, dial 911 immediately! In addition to the Peer Counselors, WCD offers three Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) who can assist with any questions or problems that may require extra attention. Our Peer Counselors are trained to answer any general breastfeeding inquiries. All information in the Peer Counselor Program will be kept confidential.
How the Program Works
After signing up with the program at WIC, our Peer Counselors will contact you via telephone to see how you are doing and answer any questions.
About the Peer Counselors
Cynthia Marcum, RD, LD is the BFPC Coordinator at WCD WIC and we have four Peer Counselors. They have experience and have overcome various breastfeeding problems. They want to help other mothers continue breastfeeding.
Other numbers to remember:
Oklahoma Breastfeeding Hotline: 1-877-271-MILK (6455)
National Breastfeeding Hotline: 1-800-994-9662
La Leche League Hotline: 1-877-4LA LECHE (1-877-452-5324)