Breastfeeding Your Baby: Frequently Asked Questions

When you are a new mom, breastfeeding can bring its share of questions. We are answering five of the most common breastfeeding questions that come up.

How long should I breastfeed my baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of a baby’s life. You should then continue breastfeeding up to the baby’s first birthday, in addition to starting solid foods. After that breastfeeding can continue for as long as the mother and child wish.

What should I do if I am having trouble breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a natural process, but it can take some time for you and your baby to learn. Most women are able to breastfeed but if you find it difficult, remember there is help available. Peer counselors, doctors and certified lactation consultants can teach you what you need to know to get started, as well as give advice if any challenges arise.

How often should I breastfeed my baby?

Let your baby set his or her own schedule. During the first weeks of life, most babies feed at least 8-12 times a day, or around every 2 – 3 hours. Many newborns breastfeed for 10-15 minutes on each breast but don’t be surprised if they nurse for longer periods of time.

How can I tell if my baby is hungry?

When babies are hungry, they look alert, bend their arms, close their fists and bring their fingers to their mouths. Offer your breast when the fingers start heading for their mouths. Crying is a late sign of hunger and an unhappy baby will be more difficult to latch. When full, babies relax their arms and legs and close their eyes.

Can I use formula instead of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is the best milk for infants, but for mothers who are unable to do so, infant formula is a healthy alternative. Formula also provides babies with nutrients to grow and thrive.  For many, the decision to formula feed or breastfeed is often based on specific medical situations, comfort level and lifestyle. Talk to your OB/GYN or lactation consultant to determine which feeding method works best for you.

Read more about Legacy’s OB2Pedi program for infant and maternal health here.

Photo by Nikolay Osmachko via