FAQs

Find an answer

We’ve received many questions since we started, and we’re always happy to help support families in their infant feeding decisions. To help you, we’ve included a number of popular questions here.

Will I be able to breastfeed?

The most important factor is feeling confident in your ability to breastfeed your baby. Most women are able to breastfeed. When your baby is born, both of you will need to learn how to breastfeed. Give yourself and your baby time. There is no one “right way” to breastfeed. Trust your body. You grew your baby well during pregnancy and now you will continue to do well as you nourish your baby with breast milk.
For more information on how to breastfeed, please see our Resources section.

I’ve had breast surgery, can I still breastfeed?

A supportive physician and/or Lactation Consultant will need to assess what was done during surgery, where the incisions are, and the reasons for your surgery. Women who have had implants can successfully breastfeed. Attending local support groups and hearing others woman concerns will help you know that your experiences in breastfeeding are similar to other woman who are breastfeeding.

My breasts or nipples are so small, I’m afraid I won’t be able to make enough milk or feed the baby.

Rest assured that moms make just the right amount of milk for their baby no matter what the size of their breasts and nipples. Breasts and nipples come in all sizes and shapes and change during pregnancy in preparation for breastfeeding.  How often your baby sucks determines how much milk you will make.

My breasts or nipples are so large, I’m afraid the baby won’t be able to latch on.

You will find a comfortable position for your baby to latch on. Different positions, such as lying on your side and leaning forward to your baby may make nursing more comfortable, for you and your baby. Using props, such as a rolled blanket under your breast, can help to lift your breast high enough to allow your baby to latch on more easily. This can also help you to see your baby latch on.

I have inverted nipples. Does this mean I can’t breastfeed?

You can breastfeed and, depending how much the nipple is inverted and the elastically of your breast tissue, breastfeeding your baby will usually pull out inverted nipples. You should receive guidance from a Lactation Consultant, a supportive nurse or physician, who can see whether your baby latches well. A nipple shield, which also comes in different styles and thickness, may be recommended to assist with breastfeeding.
Link to Support & Services - Lactation Consultants and General Information, respectively.

Are my nipples the right shape?

There is no “right shape.” Some types of nipples may be more difficult for the baby to latch onto, especially in the early feedings. But babies don’t nipple feed: they breastfeed!

Your baby’s suckling will soften and shape the nipple and areola. Babies do most of the work in reshaping the nipple, if it is needed. If you have questions, talk to your Public Health Nurse or Lactation Consultant.

Why are my breasts leaking?

It is normal for a breast to start to make milk at about 16 weeks of pregnancy and continue throughout pregnancy. It is also normal for some women to leak colostrum or milk from their breasts before their baby is born. If this occurs, you can wear cotton or disposable nursing pads inside your bra.

Why aren’t my breasts leaking? Does this mean I won’t make enough milk?

Whether or not you leak milk can vary from woman to woman. Hormones and how often your baby sucks stimulates and determines how much milk you will produce, not whether your breast leaks or does not leak.

Does breastfeeding take a lot of time?

All new mothers’ lives are changed for a time by the demands of a baby. But keep in mind that the first few weeks after childbirth are a time of change, adjustment, and joy. This is true for all new mothers! While you may have heard that breastfeeding “ties you down,” many women actually like its flexibility. Unfortunately, some mothers give up breastfeeding in the early weeks before they really “get the hang of it.”. Give it time. This is a very short period in your life. The commitment you make to breastfeeding is important to your baby and you.

For more tips on how to make breastfeeding easy, please see our Resources section.

Will breastfeeding make my breasts sag?

No. It is the hormones of pregnancy, not breastfeeding, that affect the breasts and may cause them to sag. A good supportive bra helps. Your breasts will return to their normal or near normal size after you stop breastfeeding.

Do I need to follow a special diet?

You don’t need to eat special foods while you’re breastfeeding. Make healthy eating your goal. Healthy eating refers to your eating habits over time, not what you eat every now and then. Use Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating as your guide. If there is a strong history of food allergies in your family, you may want to discuss your eating habits in more detail with your health care provider—for example, a dietitian or nutritionist.

How can I breastfeed comfortably in public?

Many women feel uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in front of others or out in public. Be assured that you will learn very easily how to breastfeed in a discreet way. People who are not used to seeing a woman breastfeed may feel uncomfortable at first. But the more exposure they have to breastfeeding will help them to realize that this is a normal way to feed a baby. You have a right to breastfeed anytime and anywhere! You will also gain more confidence with breastfeeding as you become more experienced. Try wearing loose-fitting shirts that can lift up from the waist to make breastfeeding your baby in public easier.

You will be a good role model for other mothers and young people in your community. Breastfeeding in front of family and friends will help educate people about the importance of breastfeeding. You will also help influence the younger generation.

Will my partner be left out?

Absolutely not. There are many ways that fathers can be very involved in caring for your baby. They can cuddle, change, burp, rock, provide skin-to-skin contact, massage, read, play, and sing to them. These are just a few ways that fathers develop a close relationship with their baby. Early on, while you and your baby are building your milk supply, it’s true that your partner cannot help with feeding. But he still provides much needed support for you and your baby.

For more tips on how the father can be involved, please see our Resources section.

What about my other children?

Older children will be curious about breastfeeding. They may want your attention and be close by while you are breastfeeding. Make a snack for them before you begin to feed the baby and have them sit next to you to eat it. Encourage them to bring you a book to read or to do some quiet activity. Save special toys for this time. Talk to them about what’s happening while you feed. Sometimes older children feel left out or jealous of a new baby. This is normal. Assure them that they are loved and important to you.

Encourage them to take part in caring for the new baby. Teach them to hold or burp the baby. Ask your child to sing while you change the baby’s diaper and to pass you things you need. Perhaps they could answer the telephone while you are breastfeeding. A positive experience for your children may foster their future decision to breastfeed your grandchildren!

How can I breastfeed comfortably in public?

Many women feel uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding in front of others or out in public. Be assured that you will learn very easily how to breastfeed in a discreet way. People who are not used to seeing a woman breastfeed may feel uncomfortable at first. But the more exposure they have to breastfeeding will help them to realize that this is a normal way to feed a baby. You have a right to breastfeed anytime and anywhere! You will also gain more confidence with breastfeeding as you become more experienced. Try wearing loose-fitting shirts that can lift up from the waist to make breastfeeding your baby in public easier.

You will be a good role model for other mothers and young people in your community. Breastfeeding in front of family and friends will help educate people about the importance of breastfeeding. You will also help influence the younger generation.

Will my partner be left out?

Absolutely not. There are many ways that fathers can be very involved in caring for your baby. They can cuddle, change, burp, rock, provide skin-to-skin contact, massage, read, play, and sing to them. These are just a few ways that fathers develop a close relationship with their baby. Early on, while you and your baby are building your milk supply, it’s true that your partner cannot help with feeding. But he still provides much needed support for you and your baby.

For more tips on how the father can be involved, please see our Resources section.

What about my other children?

Older children will be curious about breastfeeding. They may want your attention and be close by while you are breastfeeding. Make a snack for them before you begin to feed the baby and have them sit next to you to eat it. Encourage them to bring you a book to read or to do some quiet activity. Save special toys for this time. Talk to them about what’s happening while you feed. Sometimes older children feel left out or jealous of a new baby. This is normal. Assure them that they are loved and important to you.

Encourage them to take part in caring for the new baby. Teach them to hold or burp the baby. Ask your child to sing while you change the baby’s diaper and to pass you things you need. Perhaps they could answer the telephone while you are breastfeeding. A positive experience for your children may foster their future decision to breastfeed your grandchildren!

Will I have to show a lot of breast while I am feeding?

Many women worry about breastfeeding in public. Think about places you can go to breastfeed in private, if you need to, such as dressing rooms in stores or family areas of malls. You will learn very quickly how to breastfeed comfortably in public. In fact, most women show very little, if any, breast while feeding. Once you get more established with breastfeeding, you will become more confident and at ease. Talk to other mothers about how they’ve coped in public situations.
Link to Support & Services - Support Groups.

Will my family members feel comfortable with my breastfeeding?

A few women also feel too uncomfortable or embarrassed to breastfeed in front of family and close friends. Your family and close friends may not accept or understand breastfeeding. Remember that many of today’s grandmothers did not breastfeed themselves and they are not familiar with it. The good news is that as more and more women breastfeed, others will see the amazing benefits. Give them time. They will become more at ease with the idea of breastfeeding. Talk to other mothers who have breastfed successfully about this.

Link to Support & Services - Support Groups.

I am thinking about going back to work or school. Can I still breastfeed?

Many women worry that they will have to stop breastfeeding when they return to work or school. Breastfeeding can continue for as long as you and your child desire. Remember that after six months of age, as your baby starts eating other foods, the natural weaning process has already begun. The number of breastfeedings each day usually starts to decrease. However, even when babies begin to take in other foods, breast milk is still an important part of your baby’s healthy everyday way of eating. Your breast milk continues to be nutritious and provides protection against illnesses. Breastfeeding also provides comfort and security for the older baby.

Consider your options for combining breastfeeding with your work or school situation.

Continued breastfeeding during the day
Find out if your workplace or school has a breastfeeding policy. You may be able to bring your child to school or to your workplace for breastfeeding during breaks. This is a good option if you are breastfeeding a baby under six months and your caregiver/partner can bring your child to you. You may also consider expressing breast milk during your breaks for your caregiver or partner to provide in your absence. Talk to your employer or your school to see what flexibility can be worked into your day for breastfeeding and/or expression.

Combining breastfeeding with a breast milk substitute (mixed feeding)
Some women decide to breastfeed at home and provide a breast milk substitute (e.g., infant formula) for their child while they are at work or school. If you feel that expressing breast milk is not an option, you and your child can still enjoy the many benefits of breastfeeding. Talk to your public health nurse or lactation consultant about your plans.

I think my breasts are overfull?

For more information on what to do in this situation, please see the Breastfeeding Handbook.

What can I do about sore nipples?

For help on what to do about sore nipples, please see the Breastfeeding Handbook.

Check out Dr. Jack Newman’s post on sore nipples.

How can I tell if my baby is getting enough breast milk?

For more info on how to tell if your baby is getting enough milk, please see the Breastfeeding Handbook.

Check out Dr. Jack Newman’s post on this topic.

What if my baby is refusing to latch?

If your baby is refusing to latch, please consult the Breastfeeding Handbook for more information.

Check out Dr. Jack Newman’s post on this topic.

How can I get off to a good start with breastfeeding?

For more information on how to start breastfeeding, please see our Breastfeeding & You section, as well as the Breastfeeding Handbook.

Check out Dr. Jack Newman’s posts on establishing breastfeeding and the importance of skin-to-skin contact.

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