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Breastfeeding Basics

There are so many questions around Breastfeeding – Here are some of the basics
Food & Nutrition for Mom

While you are breastfeeding it is important that you maintain a healthy, balanced diet.

  • Breastfeeding is not the time to be dieting- it is the time to make healthy choices & as always, be aware of what you are eating.
  • The Canada Food Guide recommends 1-2 additional servings per day.
  • Mothers of twins should consult with a nutritionist or health practitioner as it is usually recommended that they get additional servings of certain food groups daily.
  • It is also recommended that Breastfeeding women continue to take their prenatal vitamins for 6 months after they have stopped breastfeeding their child.
  • It has been suggested that certain foods be avoided to avoid increasing the risk of allergies – there are varying schools of thought on this so consult with your medical professional 🙂
  • It is sometimes recommended that certain foods be avoided during breastfeeding.  While some Moms swear that diet had no bearing on how “gassy” their breastfed babies were, others (myself included!) have experienced the exact opposite. Here is a list of some well-known (and some less-known) suspects:
  • Onions
  • Corn
  • Peppers
  • Anything spicy
  • Garlic
  • Garlic powder
  • Green or wax beans
  • Peas
  • Other beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Grapes
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Food & Nutrition for Baby

While your baby is breastfeeding exclusively, baby is getting all his required nutrients from the breast milk that he gets from you – except for VITAMIN D. When your baby is breastfed exclusively, Health Canada recommends supplementing with Vitamin D. Consult your pediatrician.

Feeding your baby

Breastfed babies need to eat 8-12 times daily and it is generally recommended that they are fed “on demand” which means when they ‘ask’ for it (i.e. cry or show other signs of hunger such as fist in mouth, searching for the breast etc.). If you have a sleepy baby, which is quite common in the first few days of life (especially a baby who is jaundiced), it is important to wake baby up & make sure he gets his feedings. The time between feeds is counted from the beginning of the feed- so if you are feeding your baby every 2 hours and you just started feeding at 2:00 PM then you will be feeding again at 4:00 pm. This can be very demanding so you need to ensure that you are eating properly as well.

Eventually your baby will fall into more of a routine or pattern which makes it easier to schedule your day- but remember that babies have growth spurts at different times and that when they need more they will “ask” for it. Give them what they need. You will not over-breastfeed your baby. On a similar note, your breasts will adjust to produce more or less milk based on your baby’s demand, so while there are cases of women who have trouble with milk production- these are far less common- so you need not worry about not having enough milk to feed your baby.

There are various positions in which you can breastfeed your baby:

  • cradle
  • cross-cradle
  • football
  • side-lying

It is recommended to breastfeed your baby until the first breast is empty & to then switch to the next breast until she is satisfied. Keep note of the last breast taken as this is the breast that you should begin feeding from for the next feed. There are great apps that will help you to keep track of feedings, as well as baby’s stools & their colour & which breast was taken. Keeping track is useful, especially in the hospital where they will ask you to keep track of these things, but also at home where you will want to keep track of things more closely for the first few weeks. It will also be helpful to answer the questions of your CLSC nurse when she comes to visit.

Burping your baby

There are several positions in which you can burp your baby:

  • Over the shoulder
  • Baby lying over your arm
  • Baby lying across your lap
  • Sitting baby up on your lap while you support his head by holding up his chin

You can burp baby by

  • Tapping his back
  • Rubbing his back in circular motions

Baby will need to give one or two good burps & will usually be fine. If your baby is still irritable try…try again! You may choose to switch positions.


There is definitely equipment out there (breast pump, breastfeeding cushion, nursing bras, etc.)  that helps make breastfeeding easier.


I recommend electric, but it can be pricey. I had Ameda Egnell “Purely yours”. Worth its weight in gold. You can see Kalliopi Athanasoulias at Walmart in Kirkland or on Decarie – you can also rent pumps from her to try & see if you like them. You will have to buy the attachments & bottles that actually touch the breasts & contain the milk, but this is a small investment compared to the cost of the pump.

There many brands of electric pumps – the other brand that people swear by: Medela.

If price is an issue, then Avent Isis (manual pump) is also excellent.  About 80-100$.

TWINS OR MORE: If you are exclusively breastfeeding twins, I would suggest that an electric pump is a necessity more than an option- to store milk in case you need to be at the doctor or hospital with one & not the other or simply to relieve you on a very tiresome day.

Breastfeeding cushion

Many brands- I used the “jolly jumper”. Most are good & should do the trick.

TWINS OR MORE: there are special ones designed to hold 2 babies at once. I know they used to be available at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal…you’d have to check if they still are today!

Seating for Feeding (Breast or Bottle) for parents

We had a “glider” type of rocking chair with ottoman that is comfortable for either breastfeeding or bottlefeeding.  If unavailable, just make sure you have somewhere comfy to sit while feeding your babies.

TWINS OR MORE: A glider is not necessary-so if you have at least one that should be fine.  If you are bottlefeeding & your spouse/helper will feed at the same time as you then just make sure there are 2 comfy feeding places that can be used at the same time.

Steam Sterilizer 

In either case (breast or bottle), you may want a steam-sterilizer. If you have a microwave, Avent makes one that you can use in the microwave. If not they have one that plugs into the wall. (I bought the latter as I don’t have a microwave). With my first child I opted for the boiling in a pot option & had a minor fire when I fell asleep sterilizing my pump at 1 am. I bought the sterilizer for the twins & used it frequently. It was worth it.


You may have questions about breastfeeding – like at what point is it OK to let my baby sleep through a longer stretch – i.e. miss a feed?  Click here for FAQ  about breastfeeding.

Happy Feeding!


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