6. My baby feeds too much
Breastfed babies naturally feed very often – up to every two hours and more (including at night). Breast milk is easily digested, tummies are small and babies can’t read the time yet. Cluster feeding (feeding on and off over a period of hours) and suddenly feeding more ahead of a growth spurt are both normal and help stimulate milk supply.
However, worrying this is too much or that something is wrong is common. People might tell you that your baby should feed less, but feeding whenever your baby wants to (known as responsive feeding) helps ensure you make enough milk. The more your baby feeds, the more milk you make, so trying to feed less often means your supply can drop. After all, how many adults eat and drink to a set routine?
If you’re worried about how much your baby is getting, you can look at other signs here. Can you hear them swallowing? Do they look hydrated? How many nappy changes are they having?
7. I can’t exclusively breastfeed
Sometimes, if you have a condition such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, or a physical issue with the development of your breast tissue, you might (but not always) find it difficult to make enough milk to fully breastfeed your baby. Other times, your baby might have needed some formula in the early days, or you have made the decision to introduce a bottle once a day.
Just because your baby has or is having formula doesn’t mean you need to stop breastfeeding altogether. It’s not a case of either/or but there’s a whole spectrum in the middle and some breastfeeding alongside formula will help protect your baby more than stopping breastfeeding altogether. Talk to a breastfeeding specialist who can help make sure you make as much milk as possible.
8. I’m expecting more than one baby
Discovering it’s twins (or more!) can be a shock, but you do not need to change your feeding plans.
Many women breastfeed more than one baby, even breastfeeding an older child at the same time. The more your babies feed, the more milk will be produced. It can feel challenging, but the alternative of bottle feeding two babies is not straightforward either.
The best thing you can do is get as much support and information as possible from those who have experience of feeding multiples. Check out the Breastfeeding twins and triplets website and Facebook page.
9. My family feels left out
Food and love go hand-in-hand in many cultures and you can see why partners and grandmothers wanting to feed the baby is a common request, especially in the early days when all babies seem to do is sleep and feed. They may also be doing it out of concern for you, thinking they are helping out by feeding the baby. However giving formula can reduce your supply and expressing milk (unless you want to) is not always straightforward and adds to the things you need to do.
There are many other more helpful ways family can bond. They can cuddle the baby in a sling between feeds, be responsible for bath time or baby massage, or make sure you are well fed (which indirectly feeds the baby). If they really genuinely want to help you, they can do the housework so you can rest.
10. I’m worried about feeding in public
Feeding in public or in front of others is a common concern, particularly when the media frequently stir things up by publishing stories of bad experiences. However, you need not feel worried – you are protected by law to feed your baby wherever and whenever you want. There is no excuse for anyone to tell you to move to feed, especially not to a toilet – would they like to eat their dinner in there?
Despite the fear, most people find no one even notices you are feeding. Remember it’s a bit like flying – we only ever hear the rare horror stories rather than the millions of planes that take off and land smoothly. If it helps, take a friend along, strategically drape a muslin cloth, or face away from others. Practising in front of the mirror before your first time can be reassuring.
If you have any further questions about breastfeeding your baby you can contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline. And remember, women have been breastfeeding their babies for thousands of years. If in doubt, ask questions, seek support, but most of all, believe in yourself.