Get answers to common questions about breastfeeding.
Should I Use Baby Bottles?
That depends. Some babies reject the breast if given bottles while they are learning to breastfeed. Milk flows faster during bottle feeding, and your baby gets milk instantly with little effort — so going back to the breast may be harder. If you want to continue to breastfeed more than a few weeks, don’t offer bottles for the first month.
If you must give a bottle to supplement breastfeeding, offer it after breastfeeding. If using a supplement, check with a lactation consultant or your baby’s healthcare provider for recommendations about options other than bottles and nipples, such as finger, syringe or cup feeding.
Can I Go Out While Breastfeeding?
Yes, as soon as you feel recovered from delivery and are ready for a much-needed night out. For the first three to four weeks, you may find it more enjoyable to simply bring your baby along when you go out. Newborn babies are easily carried and don’t require a lot of equipment.
If you need to leave your baby with a family member or babysitter, explore options for enabling the caregiver to feed your baby while you’re away, such as expressing your milk.
Can I Breastfeed in Public?
Yes. California laws support your right to breastfeed your infant in any public area. A sweater that pulls up or a blouse that unbuttons from the bottom works well. Most slings also allow for discreet nursing, or you can place a baby blanket or shawl over your nursing infant.
Shopping malls often have large ladies’ lounges suitable for comfortable breastfeeding. Many stores provide diaper-changing tables. Take a little time to survey which stores and restaurants best meet your needs.
Consider a support group for nursing mothers; it can be a valuable connection for encouragement, answers and tips on ways to manage going out with your baby. Check with your healthcare provider to find support groups in your area.
What About Sex?
Physical closeness and loving support help ease the transition from pre-baby to new motherhood. Even so, you should avoid intercourse until after vaginal bleeding has stopped for a few days. Remember, intercourse isn’t the only way to maintain intimacy.
Your sex drive may be somewhat lower after delivery due to vaginal discomfort, lowered estrogen levels and fatigue. Less estrogen may also cause the vagina to be drier, so a water-soluble lubricant may help. Be patient with yourself and your partner during this short transition period.
Try to feed your baby before making love, if possible, so your breasts will be softer, more comfortable and less likely to leak. During nipple stimulation and orgasm your milk may begin leaking. Your milk lets you know how well your breasts are functioning!
You may not begin a regular menstrual cycle for several months while breastfeeding, but you may ovulate. Use some type of contraception if you don’t want to become pregnant right away.