Breastfeeding FAQ

Breastfeeding: Frequently Asked Questions

At Doylestown Women’s Health Center, we provide exceptional obstetric services to patients throughout Bucks, Montgomery and Hunterdon Counties. Our doctors and staff are committed to assisting our patients through the exciting process of becoming a mother. We get a lot of questions about breastfeeding from expectant parents, which is why we put together this list of breastfeeding FAQ. Learn more about all the benefits of breastfeeding below. 

How does breastfeeding my baby benefit me as a new mom?

If you're not convinced about breastfeeding, did you know that breastfeeding burns as many as 500 extra calories each day? That's the equivalent of running five miles! If nothing else (and believe us, there are many other benefits), breastfeeding may make it easier to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. In addition, women who breastfeed longer have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Furthermore, women who breastfeed have lower rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Lastly, breastfeeding releases oxytocin, a hormone that causes the uterus to contract. This helps the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and may decrease the amount of bleeding you have after giving birth. 

How does breastfeeding benefit my baby?

Perhaps the more important question is how breastfeeding helps your new infant. Not only is breastfeeding good for the mother, but it has innumerable benefits for your baby as well. Breast milk is essentially a superfood for your baby—it has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals needed for a baby’s growth and development. As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to adapt to the baby’s changing nutritional needs. In addition, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. Breast milk also contains antibodies that will help your baby build up his or her immune system. This can help protect your infant from ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and allergies. Breastfed infants have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome. If your baby is born premature, breast milk can help reduce the risk of many of the short-term and long-term health problems that preterm babies face, such as necrotizing enterocolitis or other infections. Read more about what our physicians have to say about the benefits of breastfeeding.

How long should I breastfeed my baby?

At Doylestown Women's Health Center, we recommend that babies exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of life. Exclusive breastfeeding means to feed your baby only breast milk and no other foods or liquids unless advised by the baby’s doctor. Breastfeeding should continue as new foods are introduced through the baby’s first year. You can keep breastfeeding after the first year as long as you and your baby want to continue. You can use a breast pump to express milk at work to provide milk for your baby when you are separated. This also helps to keep up your supply while you are away from your baby. 

When can I begin breastfeeding?

Most healthy newborns are ready to breastfeed within the first hour after birth. Hold your baby directly against your bare skin (called “skin-to-skin” contact) right after birth. Placing your baby against your skin right after birth triggers reflexes that help your baby to attach or “latch on” to your breast. 

How do I know my baby is hungry?

This may seem like a silly question, but it's one we get quite often! When babies are hungry, they will nuzzle against your breast, suck on their hands, flex their fingers and arms, and clench their fists. Crying usually is a late sign of hunger. When babies are full, they relax their arms, legs, and hands and close their eyes. You'll become very familiar with these signs within the first few days after birth. 

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk? 

Your baby’s stomach is very small, and breast milk empties from a baby’s stomach faster than formula. Therefore, you will probably have to breastfeed at least 8–12 times a day during the first few weeks of your baby’s life. If it has been more than 4 hours since the last feeding, you may need to wake up your baby to feed. 

How long is each nursing session? 

Each nursing session typically lasts 10–45 minutes. Once your breast milk transitions from colostrum to mature milk, your baby will soak at least six diapers a day with urine and have at least three bowel movements a day. After 10 days, your baby will be back up to birth weight. Although breastfeeding works for most women, it may not work for everyone. 

Who can help me with breastfeeding?

Check with your OB/GYN at Doylestown Women's Health Center about resources available in the Bucks County area. Certified lactation counselors can teach you what you need to know to get started with breastfeeding, and international board-certified lactation consultants can help you navigate problems many women face while breastfeeding. After delivery, our nurses will be here every step of the way to help you find a comfortable position for nursing in the days after delivery. After you return home, your Doylestown OB/GYN will be here to help you if you have any additional questions about breastfeeding. 

Contact Your Bucks County OB/GYN Today

At Doylestown Women's Health Center, we’ll work with you to create a safe, healthy, and joyful experience of pregnancy and childbirth. We truly believe that each baby born is a miracle, and it brings us deep joy to be able to help our patients bring a new life into the world. If you have any questions about breastfeeding or want to learn more about the services we have to offer, we encourage you to call us at (215) 340-2229 or reach out to us at our contact page. We can’t wait to hear from you!