Links & Resources
The following are some Frequently Asked Questions from parents. You may find your answer on this page or in one of these recommended reads. You may also wish to speak with a peer supporter or contact specialist support.
My baby won't latch, what can I do?
My baby is always feeding. Do I have enough milk?
Most parents are very surprised to find that their new baby feeds almost constantly in the early days and weeks. While there are instances when this might be a concern, generally it's just normal and eventually passes with age.
Babies like to be held and often times they like to be on the breast, not just for food, but for comfort. If you are finding this too intense then you can try using a baby carrier to give your arms a break and to also settle baby away from teh breast. Partners also find this a good way to bond with baby and to give you a break.
Babies usually nurse more frequently at night and fuss consistently for a few hours, known as cluster feeding. This is a helpful link that describes cluster feeding.
My nipples are hurting, do they just need to toughen up?
We are often told that breastfeeding normally hurts and that we just have to sit it out and it will get better. Whie it is common that women have a bit of pain in the early days, it should not be endured without qualified breastfeeding support to help. Painful nipples are more often than not a sign of shallow or poor latching and a skilled supporter will be able to give some ideas on how you might be able to get a better latch. You can find a Milk Mentor peer supporter to help you or visit our skilled breastfeeding support section below to find someone to help.
This link talks about early day nipple pain when feeding:
My baby isn't pooping. Is this okay or is it constipated?
It is very common to hear that breastfed babies don't poo every day, sometimes they can go 7 days or more between a poo. This can be true in babies that are older than about 6 weeks, however if you have a younger baby, then this combined with other symptoms, like slow weight gain and/or constant feeding, can be a sign that baby may not be feeding well or getting enough milk. If you are concerned about this, seek skilled breastfeeding support to try and work out what might be going on and what can be done.
Babies who are taking Gaviscon or having been having formula top ups can become constipated.
When a young baby isn't pooing, it is always worth just speaking to a breastfeeding counsellor or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to get reassurance or support on how to move forward. You can find details for support in our skilled breastfeeding support section.
My baby's poo is green. What is wrong?
There are many reasons why a baby's poo might be green, including that it is normal for babies to have green poos on occasion.
This link shows a range of baby poo colours and what might be the cause for the changes in colour and textures.
My baby isn't gaining enough weight, should I give it a bottle of milk?
Baby's weight gain can be one of the biggest concerns for parents.
Often times it can be that baby loses a lot of weight in the first few days after birth, but sometimes it can be that baby isn't gaining weight quickly enough in the weeks and months following birth.
If it is the first case and baby is losing weight quite quickly post birth, then you will want to speak to someone skilled straight away, as this is an issue that needs immediate support. If it is that baby is dropping centiles over weeks then have a read of this link and seek further support from a breastfeeding counsellor, LLL Leader or IBCLC.
In situations where you feel that baby needs to receive extra milk, you can read more about milk storage, pumping, and paced bottle feeding under the "How do I pump, store and feed my expressed milk?" FAQ.
My baby doesn't sleep! Help!
Most parents are surprised to find that their baby does not want to sleep in a moses basket or cot or anywhere away from them and will often spend most of the night crying and feeding. So this begs the questions, when will you ever get any sleep again?
Many parents are surprised to learn that babies don't want to sleep away from their bodies, and that bed sharing can be a safe alternative where teh parent adheres to safe bedsharing guidelines. The following links are very helpful in offering support to breastfeeding parents when bedsharing or co-sleeping.
My baby cries all evening. Is it colic or silent reflux or wind?
Many parents find the evenings to be a very unsettled time for their little ones. Evening are usually associated with cluster feeding, however when baby doesn't even want to feed, it can make us wonder if there is something more wrong with them. Could it be colic, wind or silent reflux? All of these are often diagnosed in the newborn baby when they are unsettled in the evening and there is no obvious cause of why they are crying.
It may be reassuring to know that this would also be considered "cluster feeding" behaviour, even when they don't necessarily want to feed. This link about fussy evenings explains this phenomenon more and also talks about why it is important to just hang in there, if you can. It does eventually settle and you will get calmer evenings.
My baby is being sick all the time. What can I do?
Many parents can be concerned to see their baby sick up what appears to be large volumes of milk. It is very normal for young babies to be sick, as their digestive systems are still very much developing, but it generally settles down on its own.
Lucy Ruddle IBCLC also has a fab little 1 minute video showing how much baby is really sicking up and why it's not always as concerning as it looks.
My baby was sleeping through the night but now wakes all the time. What can I do?
It's the oldest trick in the book. They get you comfortable with a full nights sleep and then chuck the spanner in and begin waking frequently again. It's important to know that sleep progression is not linear. We often refer to increased night waking as a sleep regression, but baby has not gone back, in fact they are usually going through developmental leaps when they begin waking more. They will eventually go back to sleeping more, but there may be times when they being waking more again. When it comes to sleep and babies and young children, having an idea of what to expect, knowing what's normal, and looking for coping strategies can be the best way of getting through it.
The 4 month developmental leap:
I am returning to work. Will I need to give bottles?
We often worry that we will have to get our babies used to bottles or wean them from the breast in order to return to work. In truth, it will depend entirely on how old your baby is when you return and who will be caring for them while you're away, as to how you go about managing your return to work.
If your baby is exclusively breastfed and has not yet been weaned onto solids, then you will need to express when away from your baby, and you may find that a bottle or cup is a suitable option for the caretaker to offer this milk. If baby is having solids then you might find that you can offer solids alongside some water or expressed milk and then continue breastfeeding when you are back with your baby.
This link talks about returning to work, and looks at options for how you can go about managing your return. If you do plan on using bottles then you may also want to have a look at our "How do I pump, store and feed my expressed milk?" FAQ.
Some babies will begin nursing more frequenty in the evenings or on the days when mum is around. This is very normal. When a nursing baby/child nursing more through the night than the day it can be termed "reverse cycling". Here is some more information about reverse cycling and some tips for what to do https://kellymom.com/bf/normal/reverse-cycling/.
How do I pump, store and feed my expressed milk?
Knowing how to express milk and store it can bring on lots of questions! For example, which pump do you buy? How much do you express and how can you transport it and store it? How do you heat it up and how do you know when the milk has gone off?
The following links are helpful around all of these topics:
How to increase pumping volumes:
What are my rights when feeding in public?
Nursing in public can feel like a daunting task to take on when starting your breastfeeding journey. However, it is important that you feel encouraged and supported to do so, because it will be a necessary part of breastfeeding if you plan on leaving the house at any point.
Because breastfeeding and nursing in public is recognised as a human rights issue, the law supports you to feed your baby. You can find out more about your rights at this Maternity Action link.
If you would like some tips on breastfeeding when out and about, this link has some mother to mother tips and tricks that you may find helpful.
I think my baby is lactose intolerant or has a dairy allergy/intolerance. Do I need hypoallergenic formula?
Whie it is very common for adults to have lactose intolerance, it is extremely rare for a baby to have lactose intolerance and in these situations, a baby might be come extremely ill. What is more common is that a baby might have a cow's milk protein allergy or intolerance.
Here is some additional information about breastfeeding a baby showing signs of intolerance or allergies: https://www.laleche.org.uk/allergies/
How do I wean my baby/child from the breast
There are many reasons why a mother may need to wean her little one from the breast. You may feel that you are ready to stop and now is as good a time as any. This link gives tips on how to wean your baby and also how to reduce your own milk supply.
If you are feeling upset about weaning and are unsure it's something you really want to do, but just feel you don't have another option, we would encourage you to seek support, either with a Milk Mentors peer supporter, or with another qualified breastfeeding professional who might be able to help you find a path forward that you are happy with.
Can I continue to breastfeed if I'm pregnant?
Sometimes we find ourselves in the situation where we are nursing one baby or child, and then become pregnant with a new baby. This is becoming more and more common in our culture, and in most cases it is perfectly fine to continue breastfeeding through pregnancy and beyond, should that be what you and your current breastfeeding child wish. This link talks through common concerns around miscarriage, milk supply and choosing weaning or tandem feeding.
Adventures in Tandem Nursing is also a good book read. It is currently out of print, but the second edition should be on the shelves soon. Your local LLL library may have a first edition copy to borrow.
How do I know if I have a blocked duct or mastitis?
Often parents can get confused as to whether they have mastitis or a blocked duct. Are they one and the same? Or is it always the case that a blocked duct will turn into mastitis?
There may be times when an untreated blocked duct then turns into an infection and you end up with mastitis. It is also possible that you can get bacterial mastitis, where a blocked duct hasn't occured. This link talks about blocked ducts and mastitis and may help you determine which you have and how to treat it.
If you are finding that treatment isn't working for you, then you may want to consider seeking support to rule out a breast abscess.
If you have a white spot or blockage at the tip of your nipple then you may have a bleb, or milk blister. This link explains more about this and how you can treat it.
How do I know if I have nipple thrush?
The following is a full PDF document from The Breastfeeding Network specifically about nipple thrush, including signs and symptoms and treatments. If you think you have it, you can visit your GP for a wet swab and you can take this leaflet with you as reference.
Preparing to Breastfeed
Comprehensive Breastfeeding Books
Sleep and the Breastfed Baby
Weaning onto Solids
La Leche League Great Britain
National Helpline: 0345 1202 918
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
National Helpline: 0300 330 5453
The Breastfeeding Network
National Helpline: 0300 1000 212
National Childbirth Trust
National Helpline: 0300 330 0700
Lactation Consultants of Great Britain
Association of Tongue-Tie Practitioners
Politics of Parenting & Breastfeeding
Other Topics Pertaining to Breastfeeding
Skilled Breastfeeding Support