Baby feeding questions and answers


Find answers to frequently asked nutrition questions. However, be sure to talk with your health care provider before making changes to your baby’s nutrition routine or your own health and exercise routine.



Prenatal Nutrition
Formula Feeding
Breastfeeding

Prenatal nutrition FAQ

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How much weight should I gain while pregnant?

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At the end of your 1st trimester, your baby is about 2 inches long and weighs only half an ounce. So it makes sense that you should only gain about 1 to 4 pounds in your first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Most of the weight you gain should be in your 2nd and 3rd trimesters — when your baby grows the most. The guidelines below will give you a good idea of how much weight gain is recommended based on your pre-pregnancy weight.


General Guidelines for pregnancy weight gain*†
 

If you are:

Healthy total weight gain:

Weekly weight
gain in 2nd and 3rd
trimesters:

Underweight before pregnancy

28–40 lbs

1–1.3 lbs

Normal weight before pregnancy

28–35 lbs

0.8–1 lbs

Overweight before
pregnancy

15–25 lbs

0.5–0.7 lbs

Obese
before pregnancy

11–20 lbs

0.4–0.6 lbs

 


*Assumes limited 1st trimester weight gain of about 1 to 4 pounds. It is recommended that weight gain occur primarily during 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
Institute of Medicine (IOM), National Research Council (NRC). Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. Washington DC: National Academies Press; 2009.

How can I manage my morning sickness during pregnancy?

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About 70% to 85% of pregnant women experience nausea and/or vomiting. The good news is that it mostly occurs in the 1st trimester, and it usually goes away by week 14.*
 
Here are a few ways to help relieve nausea:*
  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Try something cold, such as a smoothie or fruit yogurt.
  • Eat foods that are easy on your stomach, such as crackers, toast, and fruit.
  • Avoid strong-smelling foods and any foods that cause you discomfort.
  • Try ginger ale, ginger tea, or ginger candies to help with queasiness.

*Your Pregnancy and Childbirth: Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010.

How much water do I need while pregnant?

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Water intake is extremely important during pregnancy, as well as during the postpartum period. See below for guidelines based on the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for water.
 
Pregnancy
  • Pregnant women typically take about 2.3 L per day (approximately 10 cups) as beverages, including drinking water.
 
Lactation
  • Lactating women typically take about 3.1 L (approximately 13 cups) as beverages, including drinking water.
 
Benefits of Water and Fluids
  • Water aids in flushing the waste products from the cells and aids in liver and kidney function in both moms and babies.
  • Adequate water is needed to support the expansion of your blood volume.
 
Talk with your physician (or health care provider) about your daily water (fluid) intake.
“Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate” (2004), accessed via www.nap.edu

Is it true that I’m eating for two when I’m pregnant?

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While you are eating for two, in general you shouldn’t be eating twice as much. Normal daily caloric intake for most women prior to pregnancy is approximately 2,000 to 2,200 calories. During pregnancy, it is suggested that you consume an additional 340 calories per day during the 2nd trimester and 450 calories per day during the 3rd trimester.
 
To give you an idea of how much (or little) extra food you need to eat, a cup of skim milk and half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich add up to about 340 calories. So one or two healthy snacks a day, in addition to your regular meals, is all you need.
 
“Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients)” (2002/2005), accessed via www.nap.edu

What is folic acid?

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Although all vitamins are important during pregnancy, folic acid is especially critical. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010) recommend that all women consume 400 micrograms per day of folic acid from a fortified food or supplemental source during child-bearing ages.
 
Folic acid is the form of the vitamin folate found in fortified foods and vitamin supplements. Food sources of folate include leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and orange juice.
 
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
http://health.gov./dietaryguidelines/dga2010/DietaryGuidelines2010.pdf

Your Pregnancy and Childbirth: Month to Month. 5th ed. Washington DC: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2010.
Talk with your physician (or health care provider) about your nutritional needs during pregnancy.

Can I eat cold-cut sandwiches every day for lunch? Can I eat soft cheeses, such as feta, Brie, or Camembert, while I’m pregnant?

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  1. Lunch meat, deli meat, and hot dogs can be eaten if they are reheated until they are steaming hot.
  2. Soft cheese (such as feta, queso fresco, Brie, Camembert cheese, blue-veined cheese and Panela) that is labeled "made with pasteurized milk" is safe to eat during pregnancy. Do not eat unpasteurized or raw milk foods that can contain unpasteurized milk.
  3. Avoid store-made salads, such as ham salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, seafood salad or refrigerated pâté, meat spreads, or smoked seafood from the refrigerated section.

What can I do to keep my food safe during pregnancy?

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To learn about foodborne illness and how to prevent certain foodborne risks during your pregnancy, visit:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/HealthEducators/ucm083308.htm

Call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at:
1-888-MPHotline (toll-free nationwide) or 1-888-674-6854.
TTY: 1-800-256-7072

Outreach and Information Center (HFS-009)
1-888-SAFEFOOD
1-888-723-3366

http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/risk/pregnant/

Ask Karen: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/ask_karen/

Can I eat fish during pregnancy?

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Yes, you can eat fish. Fish is an important part of a healthy diet and is low in saturated fat, and many fish contain healthful omega-3 fatty acids. Fish that are high in mercury include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish, so they should be avoided. Eat up to 12 ounces of fish per week, or about two average meals per week.

Is sugar dangerous during pregnancy?

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Contrary to popular belief, sugar itself is not the cause of either obesity or diabetes. Added sugars, in moderation, can be a part of a healthy diet.
 
It is important that the sugar in your diet comes from high-quality foods (such as fruit and low-fat dairy products) or is used sparingly to sweeten high-quality foods (such as berries or oatmeal). 

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Prenatal Nutrition

Baby formula feeding frequently asked questions

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How long can I store prepared baby formula, and where should it be stored?

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Once prepared and refrigerated, formula should be used within 24 hours. Refer to the product label for storage.

Once feeding begins, when should I discard my baby's bottle?

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Once you have begun feeding, formula should be used or discarded within one hour; baby formula should not be refrigerated after warming or feeding. The risk for keeping baby formula at room temperature is bacterial contamination.

What is the risk associated with consuming infant formula that was left out at room temperature?

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The risk associated with holding formula at room temperature is bacterial contamination, which can lead to spoilage of the product and potentially to gastroenteritis (vomiting and/or diarrhea) in your baby. Spoilage might or might not be apparent (such as curdling). If you are concerned about any unusual reaction in your baby, you should contact your baby's healthcare professional. With good formula preparation technique, these problems will be less likely to occur.

How do I know the right amount of formula to feed my baby?

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Every baby has unique nutritional needs. The best way to feed your baby is to provide as much formula as your baby wants. But if you are looking for guidelines, see the table below. Remember, these are just averages.


Infant Formula-Feeding Guidelines*†‡

Age

Average number of feedings per day

Average amount per feeding

Birth–1 week

6–10

2–3 fl oz

1 week–1 month

7–8

2–4 fl oz

1–3 months

5–6

4–5 fl oz

3–6 months

4–5

6–7 fl oz

6–9 months

3–4

7–8 fl oz

9–12 months

3

7–8 fl-oz

 

* Behrman, RE et al.: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 16th Ed. Philadelphia:WB Saunders Co., 2000; P. 165.
Samour PQ and King K: Handbook of Pediatric Nutrition. 3rd Ed. Sudbury, MA:Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2005;P. 90.
Fomon SJ: Infant Nutrition. 2nd Ed. Philadelphia:WB Saunders Co., 1974; P. 24.

What is the best way to warm formula?

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Many babies like their feedings at room temperature or slightly cooler. However, if your baby prefers a warm bottle, the best way to warm it is to:

  • Set the filled bottle in a bowl of warm — not boiling — water, or hold it under warm tap water. Make sure the nipple is not submerged so water does not enter the bottle through the nipple hole.
  • Swirl the bottle gently to distribute the warmth.
  • Shake a few drops from the bottle onto the inside of your wrist. The formula should feel warm, not hot. If the temperature feels OK to you, it is safe for your baby.

Do you have more questions about warming baby formula and bottles? Check out How to Make a Bottle.

How do I safely switch to a different formula?

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According to KidsHealth.org, before making the decision to switch, be sure to talk to your doctor. Parents often assume that formula plays a part in a baby's fussiness, gas, spitting up, or lack of appetite. But often that is not the case.

If given the OK to switch formulas, your doctor will recommend a way to do it so that your baby's feedings and digestion are not interrupted. The doctor might suggest mixing the two formulas together little by little, and then eventually eliminating the original formula altogether.


KidsHealth®. "Formula Feeding FAQs: Some Common Concerns."
http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?lic=1&ps=104&article_set=45612#

What type of water is used to manufacture baby formula?

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Water used for baby formula manufacturing conforms to federal and state requirements for drinking water. All Abbott Nutrition baby formula manufacturing plants use reverse osmosis purifying systems to provide the highest-quality-ingredient water. We have monitoring programs in place to ensure the continuing quality of our source water and the effectiveness of our water treatment systems.

I lost the scoop that came with my formula. What should I do?

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We recommend that you purchase another can of the same powdered formula as soon as possible to obtain a new scoop. There is no standard household measurement equivalent to the scoop.

However, in the interim, you can use the measurements below if you use Similac® Advance®, Similac® Advance® Organic, Similac® Soy Isomil®, Similac Sensitive®, Similac® For Spit Up, or Similac Go & Grow® (milk-based).


Amount of Powder

Amount of Water

1 unpacked level household measuring tablespoon PLUS 1 unpacked level household measuring teaspoon

2 fl oz

 

If you use Similac Expert Care® Alimentum® or Similac Expert Care® NeoSure®, please call Feeding Expert Live Help at 800-986-8800.

 

How long will it take for my baby to adjust to a new formula?

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Each baby is different, so this is difficult to predict. In general, babies can take anywhere from two days to two weeks to adjust to a new formula, although some babies adjust right away. It is always best to consult your baby's physician before making formula changes.

What if I see changes in my baby's bowel movements?

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Bowel movements vary from baby to baby and by age. They also can vary in number, size, color, and texture. What is considered a “normal” stool for one baby might not be normal for another baby. It is always best to check with your health care provider if you notice any unusual changes in your baby’s bowel movements.

For general questions about your baby’s bowel movements, visit the Diaper Decoder.

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Formula feeding

Breastfeeding FAQ

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I think my milk supply is low. Is it affecting my baby's weight?

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According to WomensHealth.gov, most mothers can produce plenty of milk for their babies. But checking your baby's weight and growth is the best way to make sure she is getting enough milk.

When your baby is around 6 weeks to 2 months old, your breasts might no longer feel full. This is normal. At the same time, your baby might spend less time nursing. This can mean that you and your baby are just adjusting to the breastfeeding process.


Here are a few tips to help:
  • Make sure your baby is latched on and positioned well.
  • Breastfeed often and let your baby decide when to end the feeding.
  • Offer both breasts at each feeding. Have your baby stay at the first breast as long as you still observe sucking and swallowing. Offer the second breast when your baby slows down or stops.
  • Try to avoid giving your baby formula or cereal because it might lead to less interest in breast milk. This will decrease your milk supply. Your baby doesn't need solid foods until she is approximately 6 months old. If you need to supplement your baby's feedings, try using a spoon, cup, or dropper.
  • Limit or stop pacifier use while trying the above tips.

The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information. "Breastfeeding."
http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/common-challenges/#b

How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

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In the beginning, you will know your newborn is getting enough milk if he stops passing meconium (thick, black, or dark-green stools) after about three days, followed by greenish transitional stool, and then followed by yellow, seedy, runny stools three or more times a day.

During the first month he will wet six to eight diapers and have at least two bowel movements a day. Once your milk supply is established, he should gain about 1/2 to 1 ounce a day during his first 3 months. Between 3 and 6 months, weight gain tapers off to about 1/2 ounce a day.


Other signs to look for:
  • He is sleeping for a couple of hours after feeding.
  • He breastfeeds every two to three hours, at least eight times in a 24-hour period.
  • He usually breastfeeds for 10 or more minutes and no longer than an hour (but let your baby, not the clock, decide how long a feeding lasts).
  • You can hear a rhythm of suck/pause/suck during feedings.
  • Your baby usually breastfeeds at both breasts.
  • Your breasts feel full before a feeding and softer afterward.
  • He appears settled and no longer hungry after feedings.

For more information, visit Breastfeeding Basics.


www.womenshealth.gov

What foods should I eat when breastfeeding?

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In general, breastfeeding mothers can eat the foods they enjoy. Some foods might flavor the breast milk, but babies rarely react to this. If your baby is fussy after you eat a certain food or spice, try avoiding that food for a while, and then try it again later to see if the same reaction occurs.
 

Overall, eating a balanced diet every day by choosing foods from the following example guide can help nourish you and deliver beneficial nutrients to your baby :

  • Grains (preferably whole grains) — 8 ounces a day
  • Vegetables — 3 cups a day
  • Fruits — 2 cups a day (Limit your consumption of fruit juices.)
  • Milk — 3 cups a day (Opt for low-fat or fat-free choices.)
  • Meat and Beans — 6 1/2 ounces a day (Choose low-fat or lean proteins.)

http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov


You might need to eat more or less based on your size and activity level. Check with your health care professional for specific guidance, or if you have any food allergies or restrictions.

Is it safe to take medication while breastfeeding?

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After delivery, many women are relieved that they no longer have to worry that taking a pain reliever or cold pill might negatively affect their fetus's development. Still, if you are breastfeeding and plan to take any kind of drug — whether prescription or over the counter — be sure to get the approval of your health care provider.

Most medications are safe to take during breastfeeding, but a few can be dangerous for your baby — and they are not necessarily the same ones that were dangerous during pregnancy. Your doctor is the best source for the most up-to-date information on which medications are safe for you at this time.


Healthy Children. "Medications and Breastfeeding."
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/pages/Medications-and-Breastfeeding.aspx

How can I continue to give my baby breast milk when I go back to work?

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You can continue giving your baby breast milk while you are away by expressing (commonly called pumping) breast milk and then bottle feeding it to your baby. Many women pump during the day while at work and breastfeed when they are at home. In order to pump breast milk at work, you will need a pump, access to a private area, a place to store the breast milk while at work (a breast milk cooler or refrigerator/freezer), breast milk storage bags/bottles, flexible break time, and a supportive company policy. Your employer might already have an established lactation program to help you get started. Regardless, let your supervisor know about your pumping needs in advance so you establish a plan that will work for both of you.

Visit Breastfeeding Q&A for more information.

What can I do to relieve nipple soreness when breastfeeding?

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Many moms report that nipples can be tender at first, but breastfeeding should be comfortable once you have found some positions that work and a good latch is established. It might be possible that you still have pain from a prior injury. You also might experience pain if your baby is sucking on only the nipple.

Here are some tips to help relieve the soreness:

  1. A good latch is key. If your baby is sucking on only the nipple, gently break your baby's suction to your breast by placing a clean finger in the corner of your baby's mouth and try again. (Your nipple should not look flat or compressed when it comes out of your baby's mouth. It should look round and long, or the same shape as it was before the feeding.)
  2. If you find yourself wanting to delay feedings because of pain, get help from a lactation consultant. Delaying feedings can cause more pain and can harm your supply.
  3. Try changing positions each time you breastfeed. This puts the pressure on a different part of the breast.
  4. After breastfeeding, express a few drops of milk and gently rub it on your nipples with clean hands. Human milk has natural healing properties and emollients that soothe. Also try letting your nipples air-dry after feeding, or wear a soft cotton shirt.
  5. If you are thinking about using creams, hydrogel pads, or a nipple shield, get help from a health care provider first.
  6. Avoid wearing bras or clothes that are too tight and that put pressure on your nipples.
  7. Change nursing pads often to avoid trapping in moisture.
  8. Avoid using soap or ointments that contain astringents or other chemicals on your nipples. Make sure to avoid products that must be removed before breastfeeding. Washing with clean water is all you need to keep your nipples and breasts clean.
  9. If you have very sore nipples, you can ask your doctor about using non-aspirin pain relievers.

The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information. "Breastfeeding."
http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/common-challenges/#a

What are the best ways to hold my baby for breastfeeding?

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Finding a comfortable breastfeeding position is mostly a matter of experimenting until you and your baby are both comfortable, and your baby has a good latch.

The four steps to latching on are:

  • Positioning your baby’s face and body so he faces you, with his head at the level of your breast
  • Gently lifting and supporting your breast with your fingers below and your thumb on top of the breast, well away from the areola (the dark area around your nipple)
  • Gently stroking your baby’s lower lip with your nipple until he opens his mouth very wide
  • Quickly pulling him onto your breast so his nose, cheeks, and chin are all slightly touching your breast. If his nostrils are blocked, pull his bottom upward and closer to you so his head will move back slightly.


Try the holds below and see what feels right to you. To learn more about all of these positions, see Breastfeeding Positions.

 

The Cradle Hold: An easy, common hold that is comfortable for most mothers and babies

Hold your baby with the head on your forearm with the body facing yours. Support your breast with your hand in a cupped C-shape, and place your baby across your stomach.

Your baby's head should be in the bend of your elbow, and her mouth should be directly in front of your nipple. Use a pillow to support your arm.


The Football Hold: Useful for mothers who had a C-section and mothers with large breasts, flat or inverted nipples, or a strong letdown reflex. It is also helpful for babies who prefer to be more upright.

Hold your baby at your side, while she is lying on her back, with her head at the level of your nipple. Support your baby's head with the palm of your hand at the base of the head. (Your baby is placed almost under your arm.)


The Cross-Cradle Hold: Useful for premature babies or babies with a weak sucking reflex because it gives extra head support and might help babies stay latched

Hold your baby along the opposite arm from the breast you are using. Support your baby's head with the palm of your hand at the base of her neck.


Lying Down: Useful for mothers who had a C-section or to help any mother get extra rest while her baby breastfeeds

Lie on your side with your baby facing you. Pull your baby close so your baby faces your body.

How do I store my pumped (expressed) breast milk?

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Breast milk can be stored in clean glass or hard BPA-free plastic bottles with tight-fitting lids. You also can use milk storage bags, which are made for freezing breast milk. WomensHealth.gov does not recommend the use of disposable bottle liners or other plastic bags for storing breast milk.

After each pumping:

  • Label the date on the storage container. Include your child's name if you are giving the milk to a childcare provider.
  • Gently swirl the container to mix the cream part of the breast milk that might rise to the top back into the rest of the milk. Shaking the milk is not recommended — this can cause a breakdown of some of the milk's valuable components.
  • Refrigerate or chill milk right after it is expressed. You can put it in the refrigerator, place it in a cooler or insulated cooler pack, or freeze it in small (2 to 3 ounce) batches for later feedings.

Tips for freezing milk:

  • Wait to tighten bottle caps or lids until the milk is completely frozen.
  • Try to leave an inch or so from the milk to the top of the container because it will expand when freezing.
  • Store milk in the back of the freezer — not in the freezer door.

Tips for thawing and warming up milk:

Use the oldest stored milk first.
  • Breast milk does not necessarily need to be warmed. Some moms prefer to take the chill off and serve at room temperature. Some moms serve it cold.
  • Never put a bottle or bag of breast milk in the microwave. Microwaving creates hot spots that could burn your baby and damage the components of the milk.
  • You can allow frozen milk to thaw to room temperature on a counter or other clean surface.
  • Swirl the milk and test the temperature by dropping some on your wrist. It should be comfortably warm.
  • Do not refreeze breast milk once it has been thawed, and use it within 24 hours.

A guide to storing fresh breast milk for use with healthy, full-term infants*

Place

Temperature

How Long?

Things to Know

At room temperature

Room temperature (up to 77°F or 25°C)

3 to 4 hours

Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible; covering the container with a clean, cool towel might keep the milk cooler.

Insulated cooler bag

5°F to 39°F or
-15°C to 4°C

24 hours

Keep ice packs in contact with milk containers at all times; limit opening cooler bag.

Refrigerator

39°F or 4°C

5 days

Store milk in the back of the main body of the refrigerator.

Freezer compartment of a refrigerator

5°F or -15°C

2 weeks

Store milk toward the back of the freezer, where the temperature is most constant. Milk stored for longer durations in the ranges listed is safe, but some of the lipids in the milk undergo degradation, resulting in lower quality.

Freezer compartment of a refrigerator with separate doors

0°F or -18°C

 

Same as above

Chest or upright
deep freezer

-4°F or -20°C

 

Same as above


Tip: Label your supply with the number of ounces prior to freezer because breast milk expands after it freezes.

*Adapted from Meek JY (ed): New Mother’s Guide to Breastfeeding. Elk Grove, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Breastfeeding. Available at www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding. Accessed May 23, 2007.
American Academy of Family Physicians: Breast Milk: How to Pump and Store It. Available at www.familydoctor.org. Accessed May 23, 2007.

 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, Your Guide to Breastfeeding; www.womenshealth.gov, January 20, 2011.


Guide to Storing Thawed Breast Milk

 

Room Temperature (66°F to 72°F)

Refrigerator
(32°F to 39°F)

Any Freezers

Thawed Breast Milk

1 hour

24 hours

Do not refreeze.


 

The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information. "Breastfeeding."
http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/pumping-and-milk-storage/

I think I have a plugged milk duct. How can I treat it?

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According to WomensHealth.gov, it's common for many women to have a plugged milk duct at some point while breastfeeding. A plugged milk duct feels like a tender, sore lump in the breast. It is not accompanied by a fever or other symptoms. It happens when a milk duct does not properly drain and becomes inflamed. Then, pressure builds up behind the plug, and surrounding tissue becomes inflamed. A plugged duct usually only occurs in one breast at a time.


Here is what you can do:

  • Breastfeed often on the affected side, as often as every two hours. This helps loosen the plug, and keeps the milk moving freely.
  • Massage the area, starting behind the sore spot. Move your fingers in a circular motion and massage toward the nipple.
  • Use a warm compress on the sore area.
  • Get extra sleep or relax with your feet up to help speed healing. Often a plugged duct is the first sign that a mother is doing too much.
  • Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra that is not too tight, because tight bras can constrict milk ducts. Consider trying a bra without underwire.
If symptoms do not improve, contact your health care provider.

The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information. "Breastfeeding."
http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/common-challenges/#e

One breast is very sore and red, and I don’t feel well. What's wrong?

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According to WomensHealth.gov, it could be a breast infection called mastitis, (mast-EYE-tiss), which might include soreness or a lump in the breast, and can be accompanied by a fever and/or flu-like symptoms. Or, the breasts might feel warm or hot to the touch and appear pink or red.

Mastitis usually only occurs in one breast. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a breast infection and a plugged milk duct because both have similar symptoms and can improve within 24 to 48 hours. Most breast infections that do not improve on their own within this time period need to be treated with medicine given by a doctor.


What you can do:

  • Breastfeed often on the affected side, as often as every two hours. This keeps the milk moving freely, and keeps the breast from becoming overly full.
  • Massage the area, starting behind the sore spot. Move your fingers in a circular motion and massage toward the nipple.
  • Apply heat to the sore area with a warm compress.
  • Get extra sleep or relax with your feet up to help speed healing. Often a breast infection is the first sign that a mother is doing too much and becoming overly tired.
  • Wear a well-fitting supportive bra that is not too tight, because tight bras can constrict milk ducts.

The Federal Government Source for Women’s Health Information. "Breastfeeding."
http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/common-challenges/#f

My baby refuses to nurse. What should I do?

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As always, we recommend checking with your health care provider. This is an issue many moms encounter and is sometimes called a nursing "strike." Your baby might have been breastfeeding well for months, and then suddenly begins to refuse the breast. Some of the major causes of a nursing strike include:


  • Mouth pain from teething, a fungal infection, such as thrush, or a cold sore
  • An ear infection, which causes pain while sucking
  • Pain from a certain breastfeeding position, either from an injury on the baby's body or from soreness from an immunization
  • Being upset about a long separation from the mother or a major change in routine
  • Being distracted while breastfeeding — becoming interested in other things
  • A cold or stuffy nose that makes breathing while breastfeeding difficult
  • Reduced milk supply from supplementing with bottles or overuse of a pacifier
  • Responding to the mother's strong reaction if the baby has bitten her
  • Being upset about hearing arguing or people talking in a harsh voice while breastfeeding
  • Reacting to stress, overstimulation, or having been repeatedly put off when wanting to breastfeed

If your baby is on a nursing strike, it is normal to feel frustrated and upset, especially if your baby is unhappy. It is important not to feel guilty or think that you have done something wrong. Keep in mind that your breasts might become uncomfortable as the milk builds up.

What you can do:

  1. Try to express your milk on the same schedule as the baby used to breastfeed to avoid engorgement and plugged ducts.
  2. Try another feeding method temporarily to give your baby your milk, such as a cup, dropper, or spoon.
  3. Keep track of your baby's wet diapers and dirty diapers to make sure she is getting enough milk.
  4. Keep offering your breast to your baby. If your baby is frustrated, stop and try again later. You also can try when she is sleeping or very sleepy.
  5. Try various breastfeeding positions, with your bare skin next to your baby's bare skin.
  6. Focus all of your attention on your baby, and comfort her with extra touching and cuddling.
  7. Try breastfeeding while rocking in a quiet room free of distractions.

The Federal Government Source for Women's Health Information. "Breastfeeding."
http://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/common-challenges/#h

Does my baby need anything else besides breast milk?

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No, your baby should not need anything else besides breast milk, unless recommended by your doctor for medical reasons. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), however, suggests all infants and children receive 400 IU of vitamin D daily beginning soon after birth and continuing throughout childhood for overall bone health. But make sure to discuss vitamin D with your doctor.

More questions? Call Feeding Expert at 800-986-8800 or contact your health care provider.

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Breastfeeding
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  • Up to $329 in membership benefits
 
†Offers may vary.  
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