Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Common Questions About Early Breastfeeding

on January 6, 2014


Can I breastfeed after having a Cesarean (C-section) birth?

Yes. Many mothers breastfeed in the recovery room after a Cesarean birth. The sooner you can hold your baby skin-to-skin and breastfeed, the better for both of you. If you are separated from your baby for any reason, the baby’s father or another family member can hold her skin-to-skin until you are available. Because you have had major surgery, you will likely need to take pain medication. This should not interfere with breastfeeding. Ask for help to find a position that is comfortable for both you and your baby.

Early and Often


Do I need to eat extra nutritious food to have good milk?

You do not need to eat any special foods or be concerned if you don’t eat a balanced diet every day. Nature ensures that the baby gets the right amount of nutrients automatically by using vitamins stored in your body as needed. It’s important for all women to eat healthy food for themselves and for their babies.  Read more about it here.


How do I know if my milk is rich enough for my baby?

Human milk is designed with all the nutrients in the right proportions for human babies. Mothers all over the world, eating many types of foods, have similar nutrients in their milk. If a mother is very malnourished her milk can have low amounts of some nutrients, but this is extremely rare in Canada.


Should I give my baby a soother (pacifier, dummy)?

Most breastfed babies don’t require a soother because they naturally get enough comfort sucking at the breast. Soothers were invented for bottle fed babies because, when full, they may need more time to suckle. During breastfeeding, suckling happens naturally because the milk flows more slowly at the end of a feeding. This gives the baby time to suckle for comfort and not get a lot of milk; her hunger and sucking needs are both met. It’s an all-inclusive baby resort!

If you find that you need to use a soother, it is best to wait for at least a month before introducing it. Giving babies soothers or bottles before they have learned how to breastfeed can be confusing for them. Give your baby a chance to learn one thing at a time.


Where can I nurse when I’m out with my baby?

Legally in Canada you can nurse your baby out in public wherever you and your baby are allowed to be. Most mothers find that with a little practice they can comfortably nurse their babies in many different environments. Planning ahead with your wardrobe and stops can make it easier to relax and nurse your baby when he needs it.



What is colostrum?

Colostrum is the ‘first milk’ produced by your breasts, starting during pregnancy. It is a concentrated form of “mature milk”, which is very high in protein, antibodies and other protective components that are important for your newborn. It is thicker than mature milk and often has a yellowish colour to it. It is produced in small amounts (10-100 ml/24 hours), which is perfect for your newborn’s tiny tummy. The smaller volumes also give your baby a chance to learn to nurse without being overwhelmed by a large flow of milk in the first few days. These smaller feedings encourage your baby to go back to the breast often in the first few days. This frequent stimulation is what increases your milk production – a lovely and effective feedback loop!


If I don’t hear swallowing in the first few days is the baby getting anything?

In the early days, when the baby is getting colostrum, many mothers don’t hear swallows. This doesn’t mean that your baby is not getting milk. Often you will be able to see swallows as your baby’s jaw drops closer down to his chest for an instant. It is this drop in the chin that tells you that colostrum is going into his mouth; it may look like his suck is deeper and longer. Often babies then rest for a couple of seconds before continuing a pattern of little sucks-dropped jaw-pause. It is important for the baby to be latched on to the breast deeply and effectively so he can get all the colostrum he needs.


In the summer, does my baby need water so he doesn’t dehydrate?

No, a breastfed baby does not require anything other than your milk. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months. Your milk will adjust to ensure that your baby gets all the fluids she needs to stay hydrated. You will likely want to drink more fluids to meet your extra fluid needs.



It hurts when my baby is breastfeeding. What can I do?

The most common cause of nipple pain is a shallow latch. This means that your baby does not have enough breast tissue in his mouth. Babies need a deep latch to get enough milk. If your baby is not latched correctly, you may notice a crease across the tip of your nipple when it comes out of your baby’s mouth. Or it may be shaped like a new lipstick, or white at the tip. If the pain does not resolve or you’re having difficulty getting a deeper latch, consider having a lactation expert (A LLL Leader,  International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or knowledgeable health professional) observe your baby at breast.

By Linda Wieser, LLLC Professional Liaison Department


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking  or  Internationally  







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