Frequently Asked Breastfeeding Questions
We previously dove into quite a few breastfeeding 101 essentials and covered how nutrition plays a factor in breastfeeding. At this point, you may still have a plethora of questions about this seemingly mysterious feeding world. This article will go over a few frequently asked questions to get you even more set up for breastfeeding success.
Will breastfeeding hurt?
Breastfeeding should not hurt. There will be some initial discomfort as your nipples get used to feeding, but something needs to be adjusted if you’re experiencing pain. The most likely culprit is improper latching. Seek help if you don’t know how to get a proper latch, or if your latching is fine as it may be something else.
Will breastfeeding hurt when my baby gets teeth?
It’s natural to think that once your little one gets teeth, they’ll start chewing on your nipples. Ouch! However, your baby will be used to a sucking motion before they get teeth. Their tongues also reach above and beyond their bottom gums/teeth, which means you’re protected⁰.
If your baby does bite, it’s probably because they’re in pain from those growing teething pains. All babies are different in how they want their gums to be soothed, but typically something cold or a gum massage helps.
When will my period return?
Breastfeeding will affect your menstrual cycle in some way, depending on how much you breastfeed and for how long. Why?
The hormones that make breast milk typically prevent your period from occurring. If you exclusively breastfeed, your period will most likely return when you've stopped breastfeeding or if you stop breastfeeding at night. On the other hand, if you started with breastfeeding and a bottle, your period may return 5 to 6 weeks postpartum. In either case, your period will initially most likely return as spotting. When your cycle returns, it may be irregular, heavier, contain clots, and can include cramping¹.
Can I get pregnant while breastfeeding?
You may think that if you're not getting your period, you won't be able to get pregnant. LAM or Lactational Amenorrhea Method is a form of birth control related to not having your cycle because of breastfeeding.
It's not recommended that you solely rely on breastfeeding as a means of birth control. LAM is only 98-99.5% effective if your baby is 6 months old or less AND your cycle has not returned AND your baby is exclusively or mostly breastfeeding on demand².
Will I lose weight if I breastfeed?
It’s easy to imagine why one might lose a lot of weight while breastfeeding. Your body is putting in a lot of work producing milk seemingly around the clock. Once you and your little one start moving, why shouldn’t weight naturally fall off even more?
You can burn 500-700 calories from breastfeeding. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose weight. There are several factors to consider. For example, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you can experience a 1-2 pounds weight loss per month, but overall, diet, weight before pregnancy, and exercise play significant roles in postpartum weight loss. If you’re concerned about losing weight in conjunction with breastfeeding, see our Breastfeeding & Diet article. Consume 1800 calories daily at the minimum to lose about one pound per week in a safe way³. As always, please consult your doctor accordingly.
Will I get tired while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding takes up a lot of time in a mother’s day. With the task burning so many calories daily, it’s not crazy to imagine it making you tired, but there’s another factor at play.
Prolactin is a hormone that relaxes and induces sleep, and it’s found in breastmilk. This helps your baby, especially in the first few months, fall asleep, and stay asleep. However, during breastfeeding, it’s released into the mom’s bloodstream as well. So, if you’ve ever started falling asleep while breastfeeding, it isn’t only because you were tired! Sleeping issues are generally plentiful in the first few months, but taking advantage of Prolactin’s soothing effects can assist with sleep deprivation⁴.
Does breastfeeding cause or increase the risk of a miscarriage?
Doctors were once concerned breastfeeding would rob a developing baby of nutrients or incite uterine contractions. However, there has not been any evidence to correlate the two because breastfeeding mothers have been giving birth to healthy babies since, well, always⁵.
There was a study published about it a few years ago, but it was not medical and did not consider certain factors like nutrition and those with low-risk pregnancies. It mainly pointed to mothers who exclusively breastfed while pregnant. The thing to consider here is that almost all mothers feed their child some form of solids around 6 months. We don’t overall know enough about breastfeeding while pregnant to make any definite conclusions.
What about breastfeeding and COVID-19?
What experts know about COVID-19 is still unfolding. However, WHO, the World Health Organization, still recommends breastfeeding even if there was a positive COVID-19 test (for mom, baby, or a close family member). WHO still believes that breastmilk is necessary because of all the immune-based benefits of colostrum for newborns and, in general, for a child’s full development.
If you’re ill, try not to stop breastfeeding unless you’re recommended by a medical professional to do so. Your baby still needs the vital benefits of breastmilk, and it can increase their risk of becoming ill if breastfeeding is suspended. Ask for support to express or pump, or find a donor milk bank to supplement until you feel better⁶.
There is so much to cover when it comes to breastfeeding, isn’t there? It can be confusing to navigate, to separate all the myths from the facts. We hope we’ve provided you with ample answers to frequently asked questions to get you moving forward in the most informed way possible.
How Can KeaBabies Empower Your Feeding Journey?
KeaBabies' products were mindfully designed for modern parents who want to create a strong bond with their children. What helps foster this bond? Mom's recovery! While breastfeeding, you may find yourself at odd angles. It can be overwhelming for your spine to adjust to heavier breasts, the repeated bending to feed, hold, and care for your ever-growing baby.
Our 3 in 1 Postpartum Recovery Belt helps mom's posture and spine find alignment once again. The built-in compression also helps with flattening your tummy and hips, and reducing saggy skin. Use it from the first week of birth to target the stomach, then your waist, and finally your pelvis around 12 weeks. Take care of your whole body so both you and your baby can adjust to this new life together.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt
Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.