Great, you have made a start with breastfeeding. And after quite a few wobbly attempts, in the beginning, you have come to a point where you and baby are getting on well. Baby has learned to latch on properly, and breastfeeding has nearly been established.
Well done! This was the hard part. From now on, you can enjoy building this tremendous emotional bond with baby everyone keeps talking about. Or can you? How come you are wondering all sorts of things, like do breastfeeding and alcohol mix??
Embarrassing Breastfeeding questions
You have a few questions niggling in your head, but they just seem a bit awkward. While you know your health care provider has most likely heard them all before, you’d prefer not to ask her these out loud.
Well, fret no more. We have listed the questions about breastfeeding you always wanted to ask (and their answers) right here, leaving you more time with your baby and less time to worry.
1. Can I drink wine before breastfeeding?
After nine months of abstinence and a marathon birth session, you might feel you deserve that drink. While your thoughts have mainly been preoccupied with all things baby, you can’t help but wonder, “will there ever be a wine o’clock again for me?”
While various international medical experts have different advice on breastfeeding and alcohol, all agree on one thing: you’ll have to wait until after the first month when breastfeeding is established. According to the experts at the NHS, in the first few weeks, mother and baby are just getting used to breastfeeding when the mother’s milk is regulated by supply and demand. This can be a time of significant adjustment, causing stress with baby and mom. With this in mind, alcohol should be avoided during this time.
Given that alcohol finds its way through your breast milk, you will have to be careful with wine, beer, or spirits, too, until your baby is at least one month old. Best to leave binge drinking off your list of hobbies and just have a social drink every now and then.
What if you have baby’s christening coming up and you’d like to have a few drinks?
Once you’re past the first month, medical advice is to wait 2-3 hours for each drink you have before breastfeeding your baby. This way, you won’t expose your little one to alcohol in her breast milk. Just plan ahead and express some milk beforehand and keep that safe in the fridge for later. So, when the christening is over, you can kick back while daddy feeds her the expressed milk.
Prevent SIDS: Never sleep with baby after drinking
2. Will I lose weight when breastfeeding?
Yes, it certainly can help you lose weight. By breastfeeding your newborn, you burn up to 500 calories a day. Yay! That’s right, no mum and baby boot camp for you.
3. What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Well done for nursing your baby! You’re giving your baby a great start in life. You might be aware of a few benefits, but did you know it could make your child smarter? Or that it reduces the chances of childhood obesity? Or even that by breastfeeding you can do your bit for the planet by not disposing of cans and packets? Read all about the surprising benefits for baby and mum linked to breastfeeding.
4. I’m breastfeeding and my baby is gassy
At first, breastfeeding can be challenging enough, without your baby turning red from crying, pulling her legs up to her tummy or clenching her fists. Yes, your baby gets gassy during breastfeeding, and you’re tearing your hair out. You’re wondering: Did I not hold her right? Should I give up on dairy? Can I be passing on my own gas to my baby? Was it that broccoli quiche I ate for lunch?
While you could be forgiven for thinking that her gassiness is something to do with what you ate, it’s most likely not. According to Kellymom, the most common cause of baby’s gassiness when breastfeeding is her immature digestive tract. Only time will cure this.
Other reasons for gassiness:
- Your baby is crying. When babies cry, they swallow air.
- If your little one has thrush, she can be gassy.
- If she is not latched on correctly, she can take in too much milk too quickly.
- Baby can be sensitive to something in her mother’s diet, i.e., dairy.
How can you relieve your gassy baby?
- Always make sure you listen out for her signals when she’s hungry; if you get there on time, she won’t cry too much and won’t have swallowed too much air before feeding.
- Check if she is latched on correctly. You can unlatch your baby by slipping your clean finger in the corner of her mouth. This will break her suction. Then try again.
- Baby massage. Give her a bit of time after feeding, and then lie your baby on her back, then very gently rub her tummy in a clockwise motion, after which you pull your hands down the curve of her belly. Repeat until all trapped gas is gone.
- Burp your baby gently before, during, and after a feed. Just take it very slowly.
- Feed at an angle (head and neck should be slightly higher than her tummy) and sit baby upright after feeding.
- Bicycle baby’s legs. Lie her on her back, hold her legs, and cycle them slowly back and forth. Take a brake in between. Sometimes it helps if you press her knees gently into her tummy.
- Keep a food diary, to see if she gets worse after certain foods. Track her gassiness and any new foods you may have been introducing
Find out if baby has thrush
Truth be told, thrush can be hard to spot since she doesn’t always show any symptoms. If you suspect your baby has it, please check with your health care provider. Some signs to look out for:
– a persistent nappy rash that doesn’t clear up when using nappy cream
– a shiny look inside her mouth
– white patches on her tongue, inside of her cheek or on the roof of her
-pulling off the breast
But if nothing works, please check in with your lactation consultant or your local health care provider.
Finally, if you’re gassy yourself, don’t worry, you can’t pass it on to your baby. Anything residing in your stomach won’t pass into your breast milk. That carbonated drink you drank earlier shouldn’t have an effect on her.
5. What are the best breastfeeding foods I should eat?
If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, you will lose an extra 300 to 500 calories a day, so just make sure you eat one or two extra healthy snacks a day, like some fresh fruit or a whole grain sandwich.
Other than that, stick to a healthy diet with plenty of greens, pulses, and fruit. Make sure you vary what you eat, exposing your child to a range of different tastes. In my experience, this really helps to develop their palettes. Don’t be afraid to eat a variety of foods, including garlic and spices, they shouldn’t make baby fussy or gassy. If you think about it, there are many cultures where new moms eat spicy foods, and there is no evidence that their breastfed babies are more gassy or fussy.
Make sure your food is always cooked through, to avoid food poisoning.
Foods and drinks to avoid or limit
Other advice by the NHS states that you should avoid eating shark, swordfish, and marlin, and limit fresh tuna steaks to two a week, or two medium cans, due to their mercury levels which can impact brain development.
Breastfeeding can make you thirsty. Drink water rather than coffee, though you can drink two cups of coffee or one cup of filtered coffee (and 6 cups of tea). Too much caffeine can lead to a fussy baby. If you think you’ll miss the taste of your morning coffee, just switch to decaf.
6. My baby grunts while feeding
When you read up on breastfeeding and looked at the accompanying photos, no one mentioned the sounds baby can take while breastfeeding. So, you could be forgiven for thinking nursing her was going to be a silent and serene affair, but reality has set in, and instead, you feed her to a soundtrack of her little baby grunts. As cute as they may be, should you be worried?
Don’t sweat, it’s normal for babies to grunt while feeding. It usually means that they consumed your milk too quickly. So try to unlatch baby, burp her, and then try again.
When you read up on breastfeeding and looked at the accompanying photos, no one mentioned the sounds baby can make while breastfeeding. So, you could be forgiven for thinking nursing her was going to be a silent and serene affair, but reality has set in and instead you feed her to a soundtrack of her little baby grunts. As cute as they may be, should you be worried?
Don’t sweat, it’s normal for babies to grunt while feeding. It usually means that they consumed your milk too quickly. So try to unlatch baby, burp her and then try again.
According to LaLeche, if you are still worried that something may be amiss, then consider if you agree with below statements:
- Baby has at least three to four yellow stools and six to eight heavy wet diapers every 24 hours (after she is at least five days old and during the first two months after birth).
- Baby is gaining weight well. In the first month, your baby should gain about five to ten ounces each week. During the second and third month, she should gain four to eight ounces each week.
- Baby is usually comfortable and happy.
- Your baby will sleep an hour or more between feedings. Baby eats eight or more times in every 24 hours. You feel that you both enjoy feedings, and neither of you is in any pain.
Ultimately, if you think one or some of them don’t match up with your situation, then please contact your lactation consultant or local health provider.