One of the problems you will have to cope with when you are breast feeding, or planning to, is that many people will give you different, sometimes conflicting advice and information about breast feeding. As a result, most women may have queries about breast feeding. The commonly asked questions are:
Q : Is it true that if my breasts do not enlarge during pregnancy, or if I have small breasts, I will not be able to breast feed
A : Not true. Many women will not notice any change in their breasts but will breast feed successfully. Breast size has nothing to do with success in breast feeding.
Q : Is it true that if l do not produce colostrum during pregnancy, I will be unable to produce milk?
A : Not true. Many women produce colostrum only after birth, and will feed perfectly well.
Q : Will the milk ducts become blocked if I do not express colostrum during pregnancy?
A : No. The milk will usually flow even if colostrum has not been expressed. But it may be necessary to express breast milk for storage after birth, so it is useful to learn how it is done.
Q : If my baby has to go to the Special Care Baby Unit, can / breast feed him?
A : Yes, definitely. A baby in "Special Care" needs breast milk more than ever. Tell the Special Care staff that you wish to breast feed. If baby cannot suckle, they will show you how to express milk so that it can be given to him.
Q : Are there any foods that I should avoid?
A : It is usually safe to eat your normal foods.
Q : Could my milk be too weak for my baby?
A : No. Once the milk has "come in", it may sometimes change in appearance, varying from creamy to watery. This is perfectly normal.
Q : Is it possible that my milk could dry up?
A : This can happen, but is less likely if you allow the baby to suckle when he wants to, if you can remain calm and relaxed, eat a well-balanced diet and get plenty of rest.
Q : Should I involve my husband in caring for the baby?
A : Yes, right from the start. Discuss together how you will feed the baby.
Q : Will breast feeding spoil my breasts?
A :No. When women lose their bustline after childbirth, it is nearly always because they have let their muscles supporting their breasts become over-stretched. If you want to keep your figure, wear a good supporting bra and do some exercises to strengthen the chest muscles.
Q : Can I breast feed after a caesarian section?
A : You can still cuddle and feed your baby soon after delivery, though you will need help. You will have to lie in bed for the first few hours, but will be encouraged to get up and move around soon after, to promote healing.
Q : Should I feed my baby at night?
A : It is better to let the baby feed at night as long as he wants to. The easiest way is to let the baby sleep with you so that he can breast feed without disturbing you. Breast feeding at night gives your baby extra time for sucking. This helps to keep up the milk supply and if you are away for part of the day, your baby can get much of the milk he needs at night.
Q : Should I give my baby water or glucose water or fruit juices?
A : For the first 4 - 6 months, your baby does not need any other feed or fluid except breast milk. Even after delivery, before your milk comes in, your baby does not need extra water as a normal baby is born with a store of water which keeps him hydrated until the milk comes in.
Q : Can I still breast feed with an inverted nipple?
A : Yes. Remember that babies do not nipple feed; they breast feed! So right from the very first feed, encourage your baby to take a large mouthful of breast. As your baby feeds, he will draw the nipple out by his sucking action.
If you have any doubts about breast feeding, do not hesitate to seek advice from your doctor or nurse at the nearest health facility.