Do I have enough milk? Is it normal for my nipples to hurt? Can I have a glass of wine? Every new nursing mom has questions. We’re here to help, with answers to the 10 most common.
> Hold your baby so that your nipple is about level with her nose. Brush her lips with your nipple until she opens her mouth wide, then quickly place her mouth on your breast. Don’t stretch your breast out to reach her.
> Once she begins to suck, check to make sure you can see her tongue between her lower lip and your breast. (If you can’t, she may be sucking her tongue along with your nipple.) If necessary, use your finger to break the suction, remove her from your breast and try again.
5. When will my baby sleep through the night? Every baby is different. That said, some breastfed babies sleep through the night—meaning for about six hours—by 3 months of age; others don’t until about 9 months. Until then, Mann suggests sleeping with the baby and nursing from the side-lying position, allowing yourself to fall back asleep while you breastfeed. If you take precautions to protect your baby from suffocation (remove padding such as a feather bed or wool mattress pad, make sure your comforter doesn’t cover the baby, don’t push your bed against a wall, etc.), your baby can safely nurse while you sleep.
6. Will it harm my baby if I have a glass of wine or beer? “Most authorities say an occasional glass of beer or wine is OK,” Harvey says. “But the earlier in your baby’s life you drink alcohol, the greater the potential risk.” (One study suggests that the breastfed babies of mothers who have one or two alcoholic beverages a day score lower on tests of motor skills at age 1 than the babies of moms who don’t drink.) “We don’t want to make life so miserable for breastfeeding moms that they don’t want to nurse,” Harvey adds. “If you want to have a drink on occasion, then have one, but try to limit your intake to one drink every other day,” she says. Other experts advise that breastfeeding women who choose to drink do so slowly and on a full stomach, and that they forgo nursing for several hours after having an alcoholic beverage. Still others recommend that nursing women “pump and dump” their breast milk two hours after drinking.
7. How do I know if my baby is nursing because she’s hungry or needs comforting? You may not know the difference, and it shouldn’t matter. “Sucking is one of a newborn’s highest needs,” Harvey says. Furthermore, sucking for comfort rather than for hunger can actually help you succeed. “Sucking triggers milk production,” she explains, “so during the early weeks and months, it’s important to let your baby suckle as often as she wants.” You may notice that your baby’s nursing demands wax and wane. That’s because when she’s going through a growth spurt, she will need to nurse more often, which in turn increases your milk supply.