Breastfeeding FAQs


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning breastfeeding.

  1. 1. What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

    Breastfeeding is normal and beneficial for both the mother and the baby. Breast milk includes hormones and special proteins that fight against diseases (antibodies) that protect your baby from germs and illnesses. This protection is exclusive and changes to meet your baby’s requirements. Few more reasons to breastfeed are:

    • Breastfeeding provides vital nutrients
    • Breast milk is a nutritionally balanced meal for the first few months
    • Breast milk is easy to digest
    • Breast milk helps fight disease

  2. 2. Until what age should I breastfeed my baby?

    Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of a baby’s life and it should be continued at least up to the baby’s first birthday. Complementary foods can be introduced after 6 months, though breastfeeding can continue alongside till the baby is 2 years old and beyond. Solid foods are included after 6 months.

  3. 3. How does breastfeeding benefit the mothers?

    Breastfeeding can benefits the mothers in many ways:

    • The release of a hormone called oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract is triggered by breastfeeding. This helps the uterus to achieve its normal size more rapidly and may reduce the bleeding you have after the childbirth.
    • Losing weight is easier during breastfeeding.
    • It reduces the chances of getting breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  4. 4. How do I get a proper latch on to my breast?

    Holding your baby directly against your bare skin immediately after the birth stimulates the reflexes that help the baby to attach or “latch on” to your breast. You can latch your baby by cupping your breast in your hand and stroking the lower lip of your baby with your nipple. The baby will open his or her mouth wide. Hold your baby close to you, focusing on placing the nipple toward the roof of the mouth.

  5. 5. What are the signs that tell me that my baby is hungry?

    When babies are hungry, they appear alert, close their fists, bend their arms, and put their fingers close to their mouths. Offer your breast to the baby at this time. Don’t wait for your baby to cry for a feed since an unhappy baby finds it difficult to latch.

  6. 6. What should be the frequency of breastfeeding?

    Allow your baby to set their own schedule. During the first weeks of life, majority of the babies feed every 2–3 hours, which is almost 8–12 times within a single day.

Here are the answers to some of the questions that many women ask, related to things to be done and avoided during breastfeeding.

  1. 1. What kinds of food should I consume during breastfeeding?

    During breastfeeding, your body requires about 450–500 extra calories a day to make breast milk for your baby.

    • Eat fish and seafood 2–3 times a week
    • Avoid fish with high mercury levels
    • Continue taking your prenatal multivitamin supplement even during breastfeeding, if your doctor asks you to
    • Drink plenty of fluids
  2. 2. Can I drink caffeine during breastfeeding?

    Caffeine should be consumed in moderate amounts, i.e. about 300 mg a day. Newborns and preterm babies are sensitive to the effect of caffeine.

  3. 3. Can I drink alcohol during breastfeeding?

    If you want to drink alcohol occasionally, then wait at least 2 hours (after a single drink) before you breastfeed. During this time, as the alcohol leaves your bloodstream, it will also leave your milk. But consuming more than two drinks per day on a regular basis can harm your baby and may lead to weakness, drowsiness, and abnormal weight gain.

  4. 4. How do I know what medication is safe during breastfeeding?

    Most medications can be safely had while breastfeeding. But if you are breastfeeding and need to take a prescription medication to manage a health condition, consult a doctor.

  5. 5. Why do I need to avoid smoking while breastfeeding?

    Second-hand smoke from cigarettes can affect infants and children adversely. It also increases the risk of asthma, allergies, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Smoking can make it difficult for the baby to gain weight because it affects your milk supply.

  1. A fact sheet from the office on women’s health: Breastfeeding. Cited 2016 May 10. Available from:
  2. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Breastfeeding Your Baby. Cited 2016 May 10. Available from:
  3. World Health Organization. 10 facts on breastfeeding. Cited 2016 May 10; Updated 2015 July. Available from:
  4. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Breastfeeding Your Baby. Cited 2016 May 10. Available from: