Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will I make enough milk?

The more your baby nurses, the more milk your body will make. The size of your breasts does not have anything to do with how much milk you will make.

Can I smoke?

When breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid drugs, alcohol, tobacco and secondhand smoke because of the harm they can do to your baby. While quitting smoking is best for your baby, if you nurse and choose to smoke:

  • Do not smoke while breastfeeding
  • Allow as much time as possible between smoking and breastfeeding
  • After smoking:
    • Change your clothes before you hold your baby
    • Wash your hands, face and hair
    • Drink lots of water, milk, or juice

Do I have to eat a perfect diet?

You do not have to eat a special or perfect diet. However, it is always best for good health to eat a variety of nutritious foods. All babies are different. Be aware of how your baby acts and what you are eating. Some moms find that some spices, chocolate, vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) and some fruits can upset your baby. Avoid fish with high levels of mercury.

What if I take medicine or drink alcohol?

Some things, like medicines (prescription or over-the-county) and alcohol can be found in breast milk so talk to your doctor or nurse if you plan to breastfeed and need to take medicine. Alcohol stays in breastmilk as long as it is in your body – 2 hours for each drink you have.

Will breastfeeding change my breasts?

No. Breastfeeding does not change the size of your breasts or make your breasts sag. When you are breastfeeding, your breasts will be about the same size as when you are pregnant.

Will breastfeeding tie me down?

No. It will be easy to take your breastfed baby with you when you go out. There is no formula to mix and warm, and no bottles to wash. If you need to leave your baby with someone, you can nurse before you leave and when you return. Or, you can leave a bottle of breast milk or formula.

Can I breastfeed if I go back to work or school?

Yes. Many mothers work or go to school and still breastfeed. They breastfeed when they are home. When they are away, they leave bottles of breast milk or formula for the baby. Some mothers pump their breasts while away, saving the milk for the next day’s feedings.

Are breastfed babies spoiled?

No. Babies cannot be spoiled. They learn to trust if they are picked up when they cry. Breastfeeding your baby will give both of you a really close feeling.

Can I breastfeed if I’m nervous?

Yes. Nursing will help you feel more relaxed. Your milk is still good even if you do get nervous, worried, sad or angry.

Does breastfeeding hurt?

Breastfeeding should not hurt. When your baby is nursing and getting milk, you feel a tug. If you do get sore or have pain, something needs to change. You may need to change the position or teach the baby a better way to get on the breast. Your doctor’s office or clinic can help.

Can I breastfeed lf I have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS?

The HIV virus can be passed to the baby through breastmilk and give your baby the disease. Current advice is that mothers in the US who have the HIV virus or AIDS should not breastfeed.

Additional Resources

Special needs infant breastfeeding tips:

Helping teen mothers with breastfeeding:

Breast milk storage and power outage guidelines:

  • Storing expressed milk – the correct way to store expressed milk including what to do in the event of a power outage.

Breastfeeding and previous breast surgery:

Human milk banking:

  • Human Milk Banking Association of North America – When maternal milk is inadequate or lacking particularly for high risk or premature infants, pasteurized donor milk is the next best option. Donor milk banking plays an important role in meeting these recommendations.