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Answers to Common Breastfeeding Questions

Nancy Heidel will celebrate 40 years of being an RN in 2022. She now works at Memorial Medical Center's Family Birthplace. Nancy is a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and has helped hundreds of moms learn how to breastfeed as the coordinator of lactation services.

For Nancy, breastfeeding has always been a part of her work. The vast majority of her years as a nurse she has worked with families around the welcoming of a new baby.

Her advice for expectant moms... start learning early.

"Often I am asked what women can do to prepare to breastfeed. I love that question! I always answer to begin learning early and I encourage women to explore the community resources available to them. We, here at MMC’s Family Birthplace, are one such resource. Get your questions answered 24/7!" – Nancy Heidel, RN

We asked Nancy to help answer common breastfeeding questions.

Common Breastfeeding Questions

Is it painful to breastfeed?

Nancy: The answer is a clear, no, it shouldn’t be. If a woman finds it painful… it is time to seek out help. Human babies are born with the instinct to eat, however, they learn how to take in their food. Usually pain occurs because the baby’s latch can be improved with easy suggestions and tips.

Is my baby getting enough at breast?

Nancy: Do you know that the #1 reason women stop breastfeeding is they are concerned their baby is not getting enough? We need to watch our babies and their behavior from periods of being alert and awake to sleeping, their showing of feeding cues, cues to say, “I’m full”, number of feedings along with wet and poopy diapers, and learn to monitor if our breasts are more full before we feed and less full after our babies eat.

Does caffeine and alcohol transfer into my milk?

Nancy: Yes and because of this a woman who is breastfeeding may want to avoid or limit both alcohol and caffeine intake.

What can a woman do if she finds she has too much milk?

Nancy: In general supply reflects demand. Double check to see if this balance is out of proportion and adjust as needed. But, this is a great time to remind everyone that MMC is a donor site for the Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. We would love to help any woman donate her extra milk. Just contact the Family Birthplace and we can share specific steps to do so.

"I like encouraging women and families to be independent and creative in their parenting but with breastfeeding I’d urge the opposite. Get help sooner rather than later so they don’t become frustrated or discouraged." –Nancy

Mother nature is very smart and having human babies receive human milk is a goal we’d love to help support.

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Shanda Ledin took advantage of the support provided by lactation specialists.

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The day you give birth is one of the most important of your life. Creating a birth plan ahead of time helps you make decisions about how you want your labor and delivery to be, and lets others know your wishes. So when the big day arrives, you can focus on what’s most important — bringing your new baby into the world.

A birth plan serves as a road map to follow during your labor and delivery. This can include everything from who you want in the room with you to pain management. Thinking through these things can calm your fears, help you make better decisions in the moment, and be as prepared as possible for what’s coming.

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