FAQs About Breastfeeding

Children’s Healthcare Associates in Chicago, and Northbrook, IL is dedicated to providing the best pediatric care.

What Is Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding, or nursing, is the act of feeding an infant directly from the mother’s breasts. Babies are instinctively born with a sucking reflex that allows them to attach to their mother’s breasts and stimulate the production of breast milk.

What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding?

During the last few weeks of pregnancy, the mother begins producing colostrum, a thick, nutrient-rich liquid, which will gradually turn into breast milk within a few days after giving birth.

Breast milk is naturally produced and contains the exact amount of nutrients infants need for healthy growth during the first year of life. It also contains antibodies to help infants fight off infections and chronic diseases.

How Often Should I Breastfeed?

Breastfeeding can vary from baby to baby, but on average newborns should breastfeed about 8-12 times daily for the first month. Since breast milk is easily digested, newborns are hungry more often. 

During the first few weeks of life, breastfeeding is typically done “on demand,” about every 90 minutes to 3 hours, or whenever the baby is hungry. As they grow, it will be less frequent and babies can be on a more consistent schedule. It is recommended that newborns should not go more than four hours between nursing sessions. 

Should I Alternate Breasts for Feedings?

Lactation consultants will also recommend rotating sides for each nursing session to help keep up the milk supply in both breasts. This means if the baby starts feeding on the right breast, have them start on the left breast next feeding.

I’m Having Issues Getting My Baby to Latch. What Can I Do?

There can be difficulties that arise with infants and the “latching” technique during breastfeeding.  The board-certified pediatricians at Children’s Healthcare Associates in Chicago, IL are available to provide support for any breastfeeding concerns or issues, as well as access to lactation coaches and support groups. 

How Long Should I Nurse My Baby?

Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months, but it is a personal choice. Breastfeeding can continue through 12 months (or longer) if it is working for mom and baby. 

Are There Other Options Besides Breastfeeding?

If breastfeeding is not possible for a mother or the baby, breast milk can be extracted using hand expression or a breast pump. Infant formula is also an alternative option to breast milk for mothers and babies who have difficulties with breastfeeding.

When you are ready to begin your breastfeeding journey, the pediatricians at Children’s Healthcare Associates in Chicago, IL are here to answer any questions you have. Contact us for an appointment in Chicago, IL, at (773) 348-8300, and in Northbrook, IL at (847) 480-1500.

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Chicago Office Children's Healthcare Associates
2900 N Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: (773) 348-8300
Fax: (773) 348-7163
Northbrook Office Children's Healthcare Associates
1535 Lake Cook Rd. Suite 102
Northbrook, IL 60062
Phone: (847) 480-1500
Fax: (847) 480-1510