7 Surprisingly Common Breastfeeding Questions

August 15, 2012

Breastfeeding can bring such joy, but it can also come with its fair share of questions and uncertainty. Having lots of questions is entirely normal, and no mom should ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask them. It’s helpful to develop a support system of breastfeeding moms, family and a lactation consultant to go to with questions. Their support, encouragement and knowledge can help make your breastfeeding experience a success. So, to help you feel more comfortable, we came up with some breastfeeding questions that are surprisingly common, despite what you may think. So, never feel like you’re the only mom who’s had questions along the way. You’re not alone.

Is it common to have uneven milk supply?
Yes. Many moms experience uneven breast milk supply and may even notice a slight difference in size between breasts. As long as you and your baby are comfortable, there’s no reason to try to change it. If you experience discomfort, reach out to your doctor or Lactation Consultant for tips to increase breast milk supply in your less productive breast.

What do I do if my baby doesn’t latch right away?
Latch problems are common, but there are many ways to help encourage your baby to breastfeed. A Lactation Consultant will be able to show you proper latching techniques and identify any breastfeeding problems your baby may be having. Also, do your best to ensure you and your baby are comfortable. Babies tend to breastfeed best when they are comfortable and relaxed. If you’re still having trouble, some moms benefit from the temporary use of a nipple shield, always used under the guidance of a Lactation Consultant.

Can cabbage help relieve engorgement?
Many mothers have found that cabbage may help relieve the discomfort of engorgement. If you’d like to try it: when your breasts are sore, apply clean and cool green cabbage to your breasts. Leave the leaves on for 20 minutes, no more than 3 times per day. Do not exceed these guidelines, as extended use can decrease supply. Once your symptoms subside, discontinue use.

Is it normal to smell like maple syrup when using Fenugreek to increase supply?
Moms commonly use fenugreek to increase supply, however it can cause you to smell like maple syrup. It’s a harmless side effect, as long as you can tolerate smelling a little sweeter. If it’s bothersome, there are many other ways to help increase supply.

Is it normal to not have a menstrual cycle while breastfeeding?
Having a baby causes many hormonal changes in your body, so it’s very common to not have a menstrual cycle while breastfeeding. Eventually, you’ll begin to return to a normal cycle. Every mom’s body is different, so there’s no specific time you’ll begin to get your period again. However, many moms tend to start menstruating around the same time they start introducing solids to their babies and sleeping for more extended periods of time.

Can oatmeal or beer help increase supply?
There is no scientific evidence that supports the claims that eating oatmeal or drinking a beer can help increase supply. Alcohol in general is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers, and it also dehydrates you, which can cause a decrease in milk supply. As for oatmeal, some moms claim it has helped, but advice such as eating healthy, breastfeeding often and staying hydrated has been proven to increase supply.

Is it normal to have a letdown when I hear a baby cry?
Yes, it’s quite common. During the early weeks after birth, you’re body is still tuning your milk ejection reflex and you may find things like hearing a baby cry, thinking about your baby or holding something that smells like your baby can cause  letdown. Experiences like this cause your body to release oxytocin, and consequently causes milk to flow toward your nipple. Over time, your body will become more in tune with your baby and you’ll find unwanted letdowns happening less frequently. Until then, consider wearing disposable or washable bra pads to prevent leakage.

Do you have other breastfeeding questions? Share them in the comments below or submit a question to our Lactation Consultant.

6 thoughts on “7 Surprisingly Common Breastfeeding Questions

  1. Mimose Poliard says:

    Hi, I was wondering how and if it was possible to fully re-establish my milk supply? My daughter was born by c-section and is now 14 weeks old. We never established proper latching and she only fed directly off the breast once with a breast shield. I had a pretty good milk supply before I left the hospital due to pumping during our stay. I continued to pump regularly for about 6 weeks with the rented hospital grade pump, but I started missing more and more pumping sessions. Needless to say, my supply continued to decline and is now gone, except for a few drops with each pump session. I would love to have a full supply again. Please advise. Thank you!!

  2. My daughter is 14 months old. Im still breastfeeding about three or four times a day. I still have not had a period. Should i be worried?

    • Hi Brittany,

      Breastfeeding can interfere with the release of hormones your body needs to activate ovulation, and the time it takes for a woman’s period to return after giving birth can vary widely. You can learn more about breastfeeding and menstruation/your fertility here: http://bit.ly/1aCkV2U. If you have further questions, we suggest that you reach out to your healthcare provider or a Lactation Consultant. You can also get in touch with our LC via email here: http://bit.ly/1pqwQa3

      Hopefully this helps. Keep up the great work, we’re so proud of you for breastfeeding for 14 months!


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