You may think breastfeeding comes naturally, but it often takes more training than many realize. In order to assist new mothers and make them feel more confident as they begin their journey, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital relies on the expertise of specialists at the Lactation Center. We sat down with Cindy Garrison, a lactation consultant at Magee, to discuss common questions and concerns of new mothers learning to breastfeed.

Are There Any Foods I Should Avoid While Breastfeeding?

Mothers who breastfeed can eat a wide variety of foods. They should only avoid a food if there is a strong family history of sensitivity to that food. Some mothers may also find that their baby may be sensitive to caffeine. If this is the case, they may try nursing first then having their coffee or cola drink so that it has time to dissipate in their system before the next feeding.

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?

In the early days, mothers watched the number of diapers the baby used. Generally, within a day a baby should produce one wet diaper per each day of age. For example, by the end of the first week, a baby should have 6-8 wets per day. A newborn should have at least one bowel movement per day and progress to several large bowel movements per day or many smaller ones.

How Can I Boost Milk Production?

The more a mother nurses, the more she stimulates her body to make milk. Some mothers will pump after feedings if they have a history of low supply or delayed increase in milk supply during the first week. Occasionally a mother will have concerns about meeting her baby’s increasing appetite. In some cases, a mother can make dietary changes or talk to a lactation consultant about herbs or medications that could be helpful.

Should I Wake Up My Baby to Nurse?

Previously, it was often recommended that a mother wake her baby to feed if it has been three hours. This recommendation was so the baby can get plenty of practice and a mother can get plenty of stimulation to help increase her supply. Once breastfeeding is well established, the baby knows his/her hunger cues and parents can allow him/her to cue feedings.

Can My Baby Eat Too Much?

Breastfeeding helps babies learn to follow their body cues so they feed when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Sometimes, if a mother has a well-established milk supply and a strong hormonal response to her baby’s cues, her milk may release forcefully, which can cause the baby to feed rapidly to keep up. This may result in swallowing enough air that he/she then spits up. It may seem the baby fed too much but it is more a case that the milk came so quickly and he/she swallowed fast to keep up with the flow.

Can I Still Nurse While on Medication?

Most medications are compatible with breastfeeding. To feel more confident about medications, a mother is encouraged to check with a lactation consultant who can reference the safe medications for her.

For more information, visit the Lactation Center website today.