Six questions to ask your lactation consultant about breastfeeding
When you’ve never done something before, it’s often difficult to know if you’re doing it right. Breastfeeding is no different.
“How can anybody be super great at it or know if they are even doing it right if they’ve never done it before,” says Delphine De Mauro, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant at the Telfair BirthPlace. “There are very few moms that come here that have no questions about breastfeeding. There are usually some questions, some doubt or worry that moms have, and that’s OK.”
At the Telfair BirthPlace, many of our nurses are trained as certified lactation consultants or counselors. Lactation consultants are on staff specifically to work with moms on breastfeeding while counselors are trained to answer bedside questions about feeding.
There are many questions new moms might have about breastfeeding. De Mauro addresses six common questions you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your lactation consultant or OB/GYN about.
1. Am I doing it correctly?
A common question moms have is if she’s breastfeeding correctly. While it may not feel natural, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. It should feel like a tug or pull, De Mauro says, not a bite, pinch or chew. For many moms, it’s
a new sensation and some moms may find that uncomfortable, but De Mauro encourages moms to stay positive and patient.
2. How do I hold my baby to breastfeed?
There are a couple of different ways, De Mauro says. She usually teaches mom either a cross cradle hold or a football hold. She discourages a true cradle for newborns because it limits the baby’s head movements. A true cradle hold is OK once
the baby is three or four months old.
3. How often do I feed the baby?
De Mauro encourages moms to feed on cue and will teach moms different signs baby is hungry. These can include:
- Wiggling around
- Open mouth
- Sticking tongue out
- Bringing hands to face
Crying is a late cue. De Mauro suggests to moms not to wait until baby is crying or screaming because that can make latching more difficult, which frustrates mom and baby.
Feed as soon as baby starts to cue and feed as often as baby cues. Typically, this is close to 10 or 12 times in 24 hours for a newborn. You can’t overfeed a breastfed baby, De Mauro adds.
4. How long should I breastfeed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and then ongoing breastfeeding with the introduction of solid foods for at least another six months. De Mauro says many moms start with rice cereal
and then move on to vegetables and fruits. She encourages moms to offer baby whatever foods she likes to eat, just smash them up.
5. When should I start pumping?
This is also a very popular question. Many moms are ready to pump day one, but that’s not ideal for your milk supply, De Mauro says. She encourages moms to wait until they are closer to going back to work. For example, if you know you’re
going back to work in six weeks, start pumping twice a day at four weeks. De Mauro suggests about 30 minutes after the first morning feed and then later in the day during baby’s long nap. She also says to date, time and freeze the milk.
In this example, that would give mom 28 bags of milk stored up for when she has to go back to work.
6. What if I get a cold or need certain medications?
It’s OK to breastfeed if you have a cold, De Mauro says. It’s also OK and encouraged that all moms get a flu shot. If you have an illness that requires medicine, you can call the Telfair BirthPlace’s Breastfeeding Warm-Line at 819-8231. We have a book written by an expert pharmacologist that lists almost all medications and if it’s OK to breastfeed while taking them. De Mauro says many moms would be surprised how many medications are safe with breastfeeding. But it’s always best to check. This will keep you and baby healthy and in many cases not cause you to have to pump and dump and waste perfectly fine breast milk.
Breastfeeding is a personal choice, and if you make that decision to breastfeed, it can be a very intimate and rewarding experience for you and baby.
“Breastfeeding is about a lot more than food. It’s about comfort, safety, warmth, love, intimacy and feeling connected,” De Mauro says. “I think it’s important to educate yourself on breastfeeding – ask questions, take a class, talk to a relative or friend about it – that way you are more comfortable with breastfeeding once baby is here.”
The Telfair BirthPlace offers a monthly breastfeeding preparedness class for expecting moms. It’s offered the first Saturday of each month for $25 in the Candler Professional Building at Candler Hospital. Sign up here.
We also host a free monthly breastfeeding support group for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It’s held the second Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Telfair BirthPlace located on the third floor at Candler Hospital.
Learn about all lactation services, watch helpful videos and more on our website.