Breastfeeding Questions, Answered

Earlier this fall, Ame Odom, a board certified lactation consultant with Pediatricians of Dallas, took over Miracle Milkookies instastories for an hour, answering all of the breastfeeding questions nursing mamas in our community have. Below is a re-cap of Ame’s takeover with Miracle Milkookies.

MMK: I’m a first time mom in a few weeks! How will I know I’m producing enough and the baby is feeding well? Is there a ‘guideline’ to go by of the amount of time to feed per side?

Ame: You’ll know within the first several days, hopefully you have a good lactation consultation and pediatrician guiding and support you! Weight, diaper counts and baby satisfaction are sure signs. I always recommend 20 min per breast, on demand until milk comes in (if baby wants to eat an hour switch every 20 min - this is before milk comes in). Once your milk comes in, it should be every 2-3 hours, 15-20 min per breast per meal time. Good luck new mama!

MMK: How often should I be pumping if I am back at work and my baby is 10 weeks old?

Ame: Try to pump every time the baby would be breastfeeding at a minimum. Another good rule is to pump every time baby is eating away from you. POD has posted a blog I wrote in early spring with a sample work/pump schedule you might find helpful!

MMK: My baby sometimes only feeds on one breast per session. Should I make sure to feed from both?

Ame: This could sometimes be a perfectly normal method of feeding. If everyone is happy and thriving with this schedule, I call it block feeding, then no need to do both breasts.

MMK: My little one has all of the sudden started grunting and pulling off while feeding. What should I do? She is only 3 weeks!

Ame: There are 1 or 2 very different reasons for this behavior. The first is a fast or heavy let down, like 4-6 water guns shooting the back of your throat, so she’s pulling back or away to self regulate. Or 2, it’s a normal newborn response to pull back on the nipple to signal the body to have another let down or to get it to eventually produce more milk.

MMK: How do you get your supply back after losing it after the stomach bug?

Ame: Rest, rehydrate, keep nursing and pumping through, your body will catch up!

MMK: What is the best way to pump and take bottles on the go?

Ame: Pumped fresh milk can stay room temp for 4-6 hours! Milk is also good in a cooler pack with a frozen ice pack for up to 24 hours. 

MMK: My little guy had some serious latch issues from the get-go. I started pumping and feeding him bottles and when I would try to breastfeed, he would get really upset. I started to exclusively pump but recently noticed I'm not producing as much milk, so much so that I have to supplement with formula. If I start breastfeeding again more often, can it possibly help?

Ame: If you once had a better milk supply, then yes, I do believe it might help. Simulation could be the difference. It would be awesome if a dedicated lactation consultant could help you get him back at breast with possibly the aid of a nipple shield to help with the transition.

MMK: My baby is 8 weeks. I am starting to sleep train and feed bigger meals during the day. How do I make more milk during the day and less at night?

Ame: Wow, sleep trainmen at 8 weeks, you’re my hero! It’s awesome how at different stages your body adapts to the baby’s changing needs. Don’t worry about this normal transition! Increasing your milk supply happens overall, it’s non-specific and really difficult to specify when. Prolactin is a major hormone responsible for making breast milk, this hormone recharges like a circadian rhythm, so in the morning all of us women are fuller and ready to feed!

MMK: Will exercising decrease my milk production?

Ame: Extreme workouts combined with dieting have been shown to have an effect on breastmilk production. This would be something considered on a case by case basis. If you try to do insanity workout 3 times a day, your milk supply could show signs of effect within a day or two. You can always just listen to your body. Light to moderate exercise is recommended along with a healthy diet and fluid rehydration, once your OB has cleared you to do so!

MMK: Is it normal to have a reduction in milk? I have a 3.5 week old and my milk has been coming fine but all of the sudden I feel empty more often. What should I do?

Ame: Different factors can alter milk supply or the perception of milk supply. For the first 2 weeks of life, your milk is always there just waiting for retrieval! After that sometimes your body requires your baby’s stimulation to let the milk down. Keep nursing!

MMK: Can I get botox while breastfeeding?

Ame: When injected properly and directly into the muscle, the toxin does not enter systemic circulation. Waiting a few hours for the toxin to dissipate would all but eliminate any risk to the infant. Also, avoid use of generic or unknown sources of botulinum toxin.

MMK: Does eating too much sugar affect breast milk? And can this also contribute to a cranky baby?

Ame: Too much sugar more likely has to do with a reaction in your body more than baby. I have not heard any substantiated reports of sugar contributing negatively to baby.

MMK: What is the best way to wash bottles/pump parts?

Ame: Wash bottles on the top rack of the dishwasher. All other parts, follow manufacturer guidelines. Some can also be put in the dishwasher (i.e.. flanges) others should be hand washed with mild soap and water and left to air dry.

If you live in Dallas and are looking for an amazing pediatrician group, we highly recommend Pediatricians of Dallas! They have incredibly talented in-house lactation consultants like Ame Odom. For more breastfeeding questions and answers, you can check out Ame’s instagram page @ameodomibclc