Your body is amazing. After birth, your body provides all the nourishment your baby needs for the first few months of life.
Breastfeeding can be difficult—especially at first. If you run into challenges, our lactation experts are ready to help.
Breastfeeding can give your baby a healthy start
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies exclusively breastfeed for six months and continue for at least one year.
The benefits of breastfeeding include:
- Children with fewer and less serious illnesses, such as SIDS, childhood cancers and diabetes
- Lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer, anemia and osteoporosis for mom
- Saving money on formula and healthcare costs
- Infants who are less likely to be obese as adolescents and adults
- Better community health due to increased immunity and decreased incidence of disease
Get lactation support when you need it
No matter if you’re a new or experienced mom, our lactation specialists are there for you during your hospital stay and after you and your baby go home. They can help you with latch-on difficulties, milk supply, newborn weight gain, returning to work and any other breastfeeding questions you may have.
Notice: Using a pump during your hospital stay is occasionally needed. If you have a personal breast pump or hand pump please bring it with you to the hospital. Learn more about the breast pump national shortage.
Common breastfeeding questions
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk when breastfeeding?
When you’re establishing your milk supply, you can feed on demand, which translates into eight to 12 feedings every 24 hours (or more if your baby is cluster feeding).
By day four or five, your milk should be in and your baby should be peeing five to eight times every 24 hours and having a three to four poopy diapers.
Watch for signs that your baby is latched deeply, including having a wide gape, lips flanged out, and vigorous suck.
You should feel strong tugs and hear your baby swallow. At the end of a successful breastfeeding session, your baby will come off the breast asleep or satisfied, and your breasts should feel softer.
When should I start pumping?
This is entirely up to you for your needs and goals. We generally recommend that you start pumping by the time your baby is two weeks of age. Start by pumping two times per day after breastfeeding. The average amount of milk collected is 0.5 - 1 oz. per pumping session.
After one to two weeks, you can adjust your pumping frequency to meet your milk storage goals and your baby’s needs.
For example, some moms pump after a morning feeding and get 4 - 6 oz. so they decide pumping just once or twice a day is plenty. Other moms get 0.5 - 1 oz. and decide to pump three to four times a day. It’s really up to you!
When should I introduce a bottle?
Four weeks of age is a good time because breastfeeding is usually well-established by then. It’s very much OK to wait longer, but sometimes babies develop a very strong preference to the breast and refuse the bottle.
Try having a significant other introduce the bottle and consistently give one bottle to your baby a day.
When will my baby sleep through the night?
Most breastfed babies do not sleep through the night for several months while others start sleeping through the night by a few months of age. It’s important to remember that babies will sleep for longer stretches at their own developmental pace.
Can I eat sushi while breastfeeding?
Yes! However, pay attention to the preparation. Look for flash-frozen sushi and sushi made from fish that contain low levels of mercury.
Can I drink alcohol as a breastfeeding mother?
The recommendation is to avoid alcohol while breastfeeding, but a drink once in a while can be OK. Here are the CDC guidelines about consuming drugs or alcohol while breastfeeding.
What should I do if I get a blocked milk duct?
A plugged (or blocked) duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed.
You might notice a hard lump or wedge-shaped area of engorgement that feels tender or painful. Occasionally, you might only notice localized tenderness or pain, without an obvious lump or area of engorgement.
Nursing frequently and emptying the breast thoroughly is one way to prevent getting a blocked milk duct. But if you do get a blocked milk duct:
- Nurse on the affected breast first.
Keep the affected breast as empty as possible--when you’re unable to breastfeed, express frequently.
Use warm, moist heat, and massage before breastfeeding or pumping.
- Try breastfeeding in different positions.
- Basin soak. Submerge your breast in hot water while massaging the plugged area toward the nipple. Adding a small handful of epsom salt to the water might help.
Take a hot shower. Massage over the affected area in the direction of the nipple. This is easier on a soapy breast.
- Loosen your bra and any constrictive clothing to aid milk flow.
Avoid sleeping on the affected side.
Milk supply from the affected breast might decrease temporarily. This is normal and extra nursing or pumping generally get things back to normal within a short time. You might occasionally express strings or grains of thickened milk.