How Long Do I Breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life, however, babies can breastfeed for as long as both the mother and baby want. After talking to baby’s provider, you may be able to slowly bring other foods into your baby’s diet after 6 months of age

Does My Baby Need Additional Vitamin D?

In most cases, babies need more vitamin D then what is supplied by breast milk. Talk to your provider about you and/or your baby taking extra vitamins.  Vitamin D is usually given to breastfed infants every day.

Is it Safe to Smoke, Drink, or Use Drugs?

If you smoke, the best thing for you and your baby is to quit. Ask a provider or nurse for help quitting smoking! If you can’t quit, it is still better for baby to breastfeed. Breastfeeding may protect your baby from SIDS and other health problems. Be sure to smoke away from your baby, and change your clothes to keep your baby away from the chemicals in cigarette smoke.

Try to stay away from alcohol. If you do drink, the American Academy of Pediatrics says you should wait 2 hours or more before you breastfeed. You can also pump milk before you drink to feed your baby later.

Illegal drugs like cocaine, heroin, and PCP can harm your baby. Side effects in babies include seizures, vomiting, poor feeding, and tremors.

Do I Need to Pump Milk?

If you need to be away from your baby, it’s important to pump milk during the times you would normally feed. This will help to make sure you continue to make enough milk. Milk can be pumped through a breast pump or by hand. To help get your milk flowing, have a picture of your baby, your baby’s blanket, or a piece of your baby’s clothing that has your baby’s scent on it. You can also apply a warm towel, gently massage your breasts, or sit quietly and think of a relaxing place.

Always wash your hands before pumping and make sure the area is also clean. After each pumping, you can put your milk in the refrigerator or cooler. You can also freeze it in small (2 to 3 ounce) batches for the baby to feed later. It is very important that you use soap and water to clean your pumping supplies after EACH use.  You can keep germs from getting into the milk by washing your pumping equipment with soap and water and letting it air dry.

For more helpful information about life with your newborn, click here.

What are Common Breastfeeding Challenges?

There are some challenges that may make it hard to breastfeed. Some common ones are:

  • Sore nipples. Once you and your baby find a good latch and position, breastfeeding should feel comfortable. Try changing positions when you breastfeed to try to relieve some of the pain. Do not wear bras or clothes that are too tight. Change nursing pads often.
  • Low milk supply. When your baby is around 6 weeks to 2 months old, your breasts may not feel full anymore. This is normal. If you think your baby is not getting enough milk, make sure your baby is latched on well. You can also breastfeed often and let your baby decide when he or she is done.  Offer both breasts at each feeding.  Talk to your provider if you are still worried.
  • Oversupply of milk. If you have too much milk and it is uncomfortable for you and your baby, there are some things you can try. Breastfeed on one side for each feeding, use your hand to get some milk out before feeding or try pumping for a minute or two before breastfeeding.


There are other issues that could occur during breast feeding. Click the button below to learn more.