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August 22, 2016
Breastfeeding Basics: Five Common Questions Answered

Harrington offers a free weekly breastfeeding support group! Click here  for more information.

We appreciate how many challenges and changes come with having a newborn. We respect each parent’s right and comfort level, but as a healthcare facility, we encourage our moms to try breastfeeding if possible.

Many of Harrington’s maternity and labor nurses are certified lactation counselors, available to all moms whenever needed to offer support and advice. When you deliver here, we provide one-on-one personal care for you and baby 24/7, including helping with feedings and newborn behaviors.

Our childbirth and maternal educator, Rosanne Palumbo, RN, BSN, CLC, has offered answers to five of the most common questions asked among breastfeeding moms.

1) How do I know when my baby is hungry?

Babies give cues when they are hungry. It is better to feed them before they start crying, especially in the early days. Some of the cues they exhibit are becoming more alert, moving their legs and arms, mouthing and bringing their hand(s) to their mouth and rooting (turning their head from side to side if their cheeks are touched). It’s best to feed frequently and keep baby close by so caregivers can be sensitive to feeding cues.

2) What are some good techniques to get my baby to latch properly?

When mothers are sitting upright, gravity pulls the baby’s body down. In the early days, a good way to do away with the gravity factor is for mom to be in a semi-reclining position supported by pillows. She can place the baby tummy down on her semi-reclined body. Many babies held in this position will latch on to mother’s breast by themselves.

3) How long should each breastfeeding session take?

Some babies nurse for 5 minutes at a time, others for much longer. There is no specific length of time that each feeding should be. Rather baby should be offered the breast whenever there are feeding cues. Some babies will only take one side at a feeding; others will take both. It is better to feed frequently (at least 8-12 times in 24 hours) rather than to feed for longer times less frequently.

4) Are there certain food restrictions when I’m breastfeeding? What are common signs my baby might be reacting to my diet?

There is no food restriction list that mothers should follow when breastfeeding. Usually, when a baby is fussy or gassy, it is due to their immature digestive systems, and not necessarily a reaction to something in mother’s diet. If a mother has concerns, she should consult her primary care provider.

5) Is breastfeeding supposed to hurt?

Breastfeeding should not be painful. Pain can be a sign of a shallow latch, or unusual tongue movements or a possible tongue tie. Mothers should consult their pediatrician or a lactation specialist.

Harrington offers a free weekly breastfeeding support group in Southbridge. Classes are held from 1-2 p.m. in our 61 Pine St. building. Contact Rosanne for questions or more information.

Rosanne Palumbo offers many classes throughout the year for expectant parents, as well as babysitting courses for ages 11-14. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She can be reached at rpalumbo@harringtonhospital.org.