Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions

Breastfeeding comes with a LOT of questions and a bit of a learning curve. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these FAQs. Don’t see the answer to your question here?  Book an appointment to meet with a lactation consultant in person.

Breastfeeding Questions

Food is very cultural and so we place very little emphasis on foods for breastfeeding families. There are people all over the world with varying diets and we are all breastfeeding our babies just fine. I encourage a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet with a variety of colors including fruits, vegetables, and grains. Stay well hydrated, and eat at least 1800+ calories per day. 

This is referred to as the LAM or “lactational amenorrhea method”.  Exclusively breastfeeding directly at the breast can prevent ovulation. When we are exclusively direct feeding, meaning that the baby does not receive any bottles or solid foods,  this can be as effective as hormonal birth control.  Cultural impacts such as returning to work, parent/baby separation, and introduction of bottles, can influence the return of your cycle, making this method not entirely trustworthy or realistic for many families. For more information on birth control methods check out this article

Food is extremely cultural, and so I place very little emphasis on diet. Most foods are considered safe while breastfeeding. Eating sage or peppermint in massive quantities may impact supply, but again only in large volumes. Caffeine in large quantities may make naps more difficult, but if you notice that the baby is struggling to sleep that day then you know to slow down on your morning coffee. Aside from that, enjoy a wide variety of foods, with lots of assorted colors and whole grains. 

In the early weeks, and during times of cluster feeding, it may feel like all you are doing is feeding this tiny human. It will get easier. Our hope is that things feel pretty easy from the start, but if they don’t, know you aren’t alone. If you feel like you are struggling or would like some support in those early weeks, it could be beneficial to speak to one of our IBCLCs to help ease any concerns. Our goal is to help you meet your breastfeeding goals and assist you so it becomes a mutually enjoyable experience. It isn’t uncommon for it to take some time for you and your babe to both need time to learn, so be gentle with yourself.  We are here to help support you in making this experience easier!

There are so many different pumps on the market it can be overwhelming to choose! There are a wide variety of styles and types from manual pumps, to double electric, hospital grade….whew! Each pump has its time and place, so it truly depends on your pumping needs. A manual pump might be great for removing some milk during the initial fullness, and a double electric is great for returning to work. A hospital-grade pump is perfect for parent/infant separation or building and establishing a milk supply in the early weeks. Your insurance will provide you with a double electric pump and I do encourage getting that to have on hand. We do offer a class on pumping where we go in-depth about the different pumps and their uses if you’d like to explore more!

Deciding whether or not to take postnatal vitamins geared towards is a personal preference. You may wish to continue taking prenatal vitamins, but we encourage you to consult your doctor regarding this decision, especially if you have specific concerns. A well-balanced diet may be all that you need! Always reach out to your OB/GYN, or primary care physician to discuss which may be right for you and your baby! 

Although headaches can be common during the postpartum period, there is no evidence to suggest that this is due to lactation. The fluctuation in hormones, poor positioning,  strains in the neck or back, or dehydration may be the reasons for a headache while breastfeeding. To prevent this, you will want to stay hydrated, are comfortable, and have good positioning. As the hormones settle things should improve. But lactation in itself does not cause headaches. 

Federal law provides protection for breastfeeding families. Texas law states that you may breastfeed anywhere you are legally allowed to be. That means if you are allowed to be there, you are allowed to breastfeed there! There is no place in the United States where breastfeeding is illegal. 

Short answer? Yes! Up to 200-300mg of caffeine or 2-3 cups of coffee is considered safe. Anything over 750mg of caffeine is considered excessive according to Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple from Hale Publishing. At the higher levels, you may notice your baby showing symptoms of caffeine intake such as irritability, fussiness, and short nap durations. Keep in mind that caffeine is found in teas, coffee, chocolate, and soda. So if we switch from morning coffee to afternoon tea/soda you may notice you consume more caffeine than you thought! So we encourage being mindful and trying to stick to 1-2 caffeine consumptions a day, or under 2-300mgs. 

Absolutely! The CDC recommends continued breastfeeding while taking precautions such as masking, and frequent hand washing while handling the infant. Similarly to colds/flu, you pass antibodies through your breastmilk to provide a layer of protection against spreading it to your infant. The virus has not been detected in breast milk which makes it safe to provide! Even encouraged! 

Breastfeeding burns between 500-700 calories per day in an exclusive breastfeeding relationship. While some folks may notice they lose all their baby weight pretty quickly (due in part to the shrinking of the uterus), that may not be the case for everyone. Our bodies are all so vastly different. It’s also important to note that while nursing you may notice you are hungrier than you were prior to conception due to the nature of the hard work your body is doing to produce breast milk. You’ll want to consume at least 1800 calories per day, so if you add in extra snacks throughout the day, you may notice you are consuming more calories than you are burning – and that’s okay! So in short, some parents may notice weight loss while breastfeeding, and some don’t. Both are normal! 

Breastfeeding can have a significant impact on hormones. Prolactin, which is responsible for milk production, is released during breastfeeding. This hormone can have a calming effect on the mother and help her bond with her baby. Prolactin works in conjunction with Oxytocin, which is responsible for uterine contractions during labor and is also released during breastfeeding to assist in milk removal.  This hormone can help the mother feel bonded with her baby and can also lead to feelings of love and happiness.

Yes, it is safe to have a glass of wine. The amount of alcohol that gets into the milk is very small. If you are concerned about drinking, you can pump and store breast milk beforehand so that you can have a supply on hand if needed.

It’s generally safe to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding. However, it may cause your baby to be fussy or irritable. If you’re concerned about taking ibuprofen, talk to your doctor.

Many mothers wonder if they can continue breastfeeding once their baby starts to get teeth. The answer is generally yes. Some babies are even born with teeth! Thankfully, babies tongue comes down and over the gumline to assist with milk removal, and the nipple rests deep in the baby’s mouth back at the soft palate making biting while nursing unlikely. Many women continue to breastfeed until their baby is at least a year old. Some women choose to breastfeed for longer, depending on their own health and their baby’s needs. According to a recent study, over 80% of women who start breastfeeding continue to do so for at least six months.

If you have breast implants, you may still be able to breastfeed. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before you make any decisions. There are many myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding, and one of the most common is that breast implants will not allow a woman to breastfeed. This is simply not true. Breast implants will not interfere with a woman’s ability to produce milk or to breastfeed her baby.

Milk supply works on supply and demand. The body responds based on how often the milk is removed. When your baby suckles at the breast, it stimulates prolactin, the milk-making hormone. The more the baby feeds, the more milk is produced. There are some things that may impact milk supply. Some women may experience a decrease in milk production after their baby starts to eat solid foods, but this is usually temporary. In addition, some medications, or the return of your cycle may impact milk production.  These are usually temporary as well. As a general rule, as long as you are putting your baby to the breast 8x in a 24h period, the body will continue to produce as much milk as needed. As always, if you have specific questions please reach out to a lactation consultant

It is not uncommon to experience some pain while breastfeeding. This is usually due to improper latch or positioning. If you are experiencing pain that lasts for more than 10 seconds, talk to a lactation consultant or your healthcare provider to ensure that you are positioned correctly. Breastfeeding ideally will feel like a tug or pulling sensation. Pain is an indicator that you may benefit from some support

If you have a nipple piercing, you may be wondering if you can still breastfeed. The answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, your piercing should be fully healed before you start breastfeeding, which can take up to one year. Second, you will need to remove your jewelry before each nursing session. It can be a potential choking hazard to leave jewelry in place while you’re nursing. But, with jewelry removed it is perfectly safe to breastfeed if you currently have or have had your nipples pierced. For specific questions, reach out to your reputable piercer or a lactation consultant