Mom and newborn

You may think breastfeeding comes naturally, but it can take more training than many people realize.

When learning to breastfeed, new mothers often have questions and concerns. The lactation consultants from the UPMC Magee-Womens Lactation Center have provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions they receive.

Are There Any Foods I Should Avoid While Breastfeeding?

Mothers who breastfeed can eat a wide variety of foods. They should only avoid a food if a physician recommends it. Most moms even can have caffeine within reason. Small amounts are typically okay!

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How Do I Know If My Baby Is Getting Enough Milk?

It is important to watch the number of diapers the baby has each day. Generally, within a day a baby should produce one wet diaper per each day of age. For example, by the end of the first week, a baby should have 6 to 8 wets per day. A newborn also should have at least one bowel movement per day of life in the first 4 to 5 days. (A minimum of 4 to 5 bowel movements by 1 week is expected.)

How Can I Boost, or Restart, Milk Production?

The more a mother nurses, the more she stimulates her body to make milk. Some mothers will pump after feedings if they have a history of low supply or delayed increase in milk supply during the first week. Occasionally, a mother will have concerns about meeting the baby’s increasing appetite. If you have concerns that your baby is not getting enough milk, you should talk with your baby’s doctor and seek support from a lactation consultant.

If you had stopped breastfeeding and wish to restart, lactation consultants may be able to assist in relactation. The relactation process may include boosting milk production, as described above, as well as retraining your baby on how to feed from the breast.

Should I Wake Up My Baby to Nurse?

Within the first few weeks, it is recommended that a mother wake her baby to feed if it has been 3 hours. This is so the baby can get plenty of nursing practice and the mother can get plenty of stimulation to help increase her milk supply. Once breastfeeding is well-established, parents can allow their baby to cue feedings.

Can My Baby Eat Too Much?

Breastfeeding helps babies learn to follow their body cues so they feed when they are hungry and stop when they are full. Typically, breastfed babies will regulate how much they need to eat on their own. However, if you have concerns, you should talk to your baby’s doctor and/or a lactation consultant.

Can I Still Nurse While on Medication?

Most medications are compatible with breastfeeding. To feel more confident about medications, you are encouraged to check with your baby’s doctor, who can reference whether the medications are safe. A lactation consultant also can reference the medication to help you make an informed decision.

Where Can I Get Help with Breastfeeding?

All UPMC labor and delivery hospitals have lactation services available to you for in-person or by-phone consultations. You can also schedule a virtual appointment from anywhere in Pennsylvania.

If you have additional questions, visit the Lactation Center website, or call 412-641-1121. View UPMC Magee-Womens lactation services available regionally for assistance in central Pennysylvania. or north central Pennsylvania.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.