lactation, chest, baby

Breastfeeding Q&A

How soon after birth should a mother start breastfeeding?

Breast milk is a mother’s secret recipe to a healthier and smarter baby. Breastfeeding should be started within one hour of childbirth. Skin to sin contact along with suckling at the breast both help to stimulate breast milk.

When will breast milk start to come?

 There may not be much breast milk at the beginning. However, the initial thick “golden” breast milk called colostrum is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect the baby. More breast milk will start to flow by the 3rd to 5th day.

Does the baby need water or juice?

Babies should be exclusively breastfed which means the babies only receive breast milk in the first 6 months. Water, juice, honey water and other food or drink are not necessary. Do not use bottles, teats or pacifiers.

How often should you breast feed the baby?

Breast feed on demand when the baby wants, and continue each feeding until the baby is satisfied. Intially, this can be every 1.5 to 3 hours. As the baby gets older they may breastfeed less often. Each feed can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour.

How can I tell if my baby is getting enough breast milk?

The baby will seem contented after breastfeeding. It will wet about 6 nappies a day and has regular bowel movement. The satisfied baby will sleep well and is alert when awake and is gaining weight.

Can you take alcohol when you are breastfeeding?

It is best not to take alcohol when you are breastfeeding. If you are going to take alcohol, it is best to take after breastfeeding so that there will be at least 2 hours before you next breastfeed your baby. 

What are the benefits of breastfeeding for baby?

Breastfed babies are smarter and have higher IQ. They have less chances of developing ear and chest infection, diarrhoea, asthma, allergic diseases and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Does breastfeeding affect the baby when they grow older?

Breastfeeding also helps to boost health later in life. Breastfed teens and adults were less likely to be overweight or obese and less likely to have diabetes. It is also associated with better school attendance, better performance in intelligence and higher income in adult life.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding for the mother?

Mothers benefit from breastfeeding too. Life can be easier as there are no bottles to sterilise. Breastfeeding saves money, promotes weight loss after delivery and allows closer bonding between mother and baby. Breastfeeding mothers have lower chances of breast and ovarian cancer, diabetes and postnatal depression.

Does breastfeeding help with family planning ?

Breastfeeding can help to space pregnancies. If you are exclusively breastfeeding and have not started your menses, breastfeeding offers a natural birth control method which offers 98% protection in the first 6 months.

How long should you continue breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is the best gift for your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding starting within one hour after birth until 6 months old is recommended to promote health.  After 6 months, parents can introduce complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed up to 2 years of age and beyond.

Dr Philip Kho
Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

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