How often do I need to breastfeed? Should I breastfeed if I am sick? Questions like these are perfectly normal when you and your baby are getting used to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is a beautiful natural process, but it’s not always easy and can cause worry and concern. Here, we answer the most common questions about breastfeeding to put your mind at ease!
1. How often do I need to breastfeed my baby?
You’ll need to work out your own feeding pattern. Most babies may want to feed on an hourly basis or eight to 12 times in 24 hours, as they feed little and often due to their small stomach size. You can look out for signs that your baby is hungry, such as if she licks her lips, sucks her fists, or opens her mouths to search for your breast.
2. What are the methods for breast milk storage?
Expressing milk is the process of squeezing your breast milk for storing and feeding your baby at a later time. This can be done by hand or with a breast pump. Store your milk in a sterilized container in the fridge or ice compartment and make sure to label it with the date.
3. Can I drink alcohol or coffee while breastfeeding?
Alcohol passes through your breast milk and may harm your little one’s delicate liver. If you have an occasional alcoholic drink make sure that you wait at least two hours before breastfeeding after a single drink. It’s best to avoid drinking more than two units of alcohol or more than once or twice a week, as it may be harmful to your baby and cause drowsiness or weight gain.
For caffeine, consume a lower amount in the initial few days after your baby is born. After which, you can drink coffee on a moderate basis (200mg a day).
4. Is it safe to breastfeed if I am ill?
Your milk contains the antibodies that your body generates to fight off infections, and so, it will also protect your baby from getting illnesses too. However, if you have diarrhoea, you’ll need to keep your fluid levels up by drinking a lot of water, but you can still breastfeed your child.
5. What happens if I cannot produce milk?
Breast milk is one of the complete forms of nutrition for babies. However, if you are unable to produce milk for your baby, there are several other ways to provide the essential nutrients your child needs for a healthy growth.
An infant formula based on cow’s milk is the next best option for most babies. Although it does not contain the antibodies present in breast milk, it will provide your baby with all vitamins and minerals needed.