Memorial Hermann - A New Beginning

WILL MY BREASTS LEAK ALL THE TIME?

This will be different for each person. It’s possible for you to have a let-down response when you are not feeding the baby. Applying gentle pressure to the nipple will usually stop the flow of milk. This can be done discreetly by crossing your arms and pressing them against your chest. Disposable or washable breast pads are available to wear on the inside of your bra to protect your clothes from wet spots. Make sure to change them as needed so the dampness does not break down your nipple tissue. Leakage becomes less of a problem as time goes on.

CAN I BREASTFEED IF I HAVE HAD BREAST SURGERY?

Several factors can affect your milk production such as the time since your surgery and the type of surgery. Any type of surgery (biopsy, lumpectomy, lift, reduction, implants) may decrease breast stimulation and interrupt the flow of breast milk. Studies have shown that some women can still be successful with breastfeeding even though they have had these types of breast surgeries. Double pumping may be needed for extra stimulation to the breasts. If needed, a supplemental feeding device can be used to give your baby extra milk while at the breast. Discuss a plan with your lactation consultant. Also review your breast surgery history with your baby’s health care provider. They will want to carefully monitor your baby’s weight gain.

CAN I BREASTFEED IF I AM TAKING CERTAIN MEDICATIONS?

Many medications pass into the milk, although in very small amounts. Most are not a problem for breastfeeding. There are times when you may need to pump and discard your milk while on a particular medication. Contact your health care professional or lactation consultant for the most updated information on a particular medication you are taking.

IS IT OKAY TO USE CAFFEINE WHILE BREASTFEEDING?

As in pregnancy, caffeine should be used with caution during lactation. Caffeine has been shown to interfere with the breast milk let-down reflex. Caffeine may cause symptoms of colic or irritability in your baby, so avoid it or only have 1 to 2 servings per day.

CONTRACEPTION

Non-hormonal methods of birth control such as the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM), condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, intrauterine devices, vasectomy or tubal ligation are compatible with breastfeeding.

Clinical reports indicate that any hormonal birth control method may negatively impact the quantity of breast milk produced if taken before lactation is well established. For example, Depo-Provera taken within the first 3 days after birth may permanently reduce milk supply in some women. Birth control pills containing progestin-only (such as the mini-pill) and Depo-Provera have the least impact on breastfeeding if they are given 6 weeks postpartum. If you have any questions, contact your lactation counselor or health care provider.

DRUGS

If you’re using illegal and street drugs—like cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines—you will pass them to your baby through your breast milk. As you can imagine, this is very harmful to your baby. Marijuana may be legal in some areas, but experts recommended you avoid it if you’re breastfeeding. That’s because THC—the active chemical in marijuana—is passed to your baby through your breast milk. Just like adults, marijuana can make babies sleepy and groggy. It can be hard to wake them for feedings, which can lead to slow weight gain and affect their overall development. Plus, THC can be harmful to a baby’s brain growth at this critical time.

WARNING

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends that breastfeeding mothers not use drugs of abuse, because they are hazardous to the health of the infant and mother. Unless otherwise ordered by the doctor, breast milk will not be used if you and/or your baby have a positive urine test for any illegal drugs.

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Your Guide to Postpartum and Newborn Care

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