Please note: NO medical advice will be given on this page. If you have a specific question relating to a medical or lactation issue, please contact one of the helplines or a credentialed lactation support provider listed in our Resource Guide.

Help!!! It hurts when I breastfeed feed my baby!!! What should I do???

First, unlatch your baby and BREATHE. Next, contact one of the certified professionals listed in our Resource Guide. There are many reasons you may be in pain, and while pain is common, it is NOT normal. Some causes can be remedied quickly and easily while others are more complex and may require medical intervention. Either way, please don't wait.

Help! My breast hurts when I'm not nursing! Is something wrong? Will I need to stop breastfeeding or pumping?

Letdown of milk can be uncomfortable, but is completely normal. Some moms don't feel it at all, others describe it as a strong tingling, but for some moms, it can feel like an electric shock.

Engorgement is that feeling of firmness and fullness and can be uncomfortable, especially if you are very engorged, but is also considered normal in the early days of breastfeeding. Please read http://www.llli.org/faq/engorgement.html for more information on how to deal with it.

Depending on the type and severity of the pain, it is possible that something is wrong. If you are in pain, please contact one of the certified providers listed in our Resource Guide as soon as possible. Be prepared to describe the location, timing, and severity of the pain. Words to use when describing your pain include: stabbing, throbbing, sharp, pins and needles, tingling, burning. You may be asked about redness, swelling, fever, nausea, firmness of the affected breast, and other symptoms. It may also be helpful to know when you last nursed or pumped from the affected breast.

In most cases, it is still safe to feed or pump from the affected breast. In many cases, breastfeeding or pumping from the affected breast is part of the recommended treatment.

Help! It seems like my baby wants to nurse ALL THE TIME!!! Does this mean I don't have enough milk?

It is possible to have low supply, but it is more likely that your baby is teething, going through a growth spurt, or otherwise just wants the comfort that breastfeeding provides. While this may be tough on you (and your nipples), all that nursing is likely to INCREASE your supply. Read http://theleakyboob.com/2011/10/help-my-milk-supply-is-low-or-is-it/ for more information. If your baby is not producing enough wet or poopy diapers, seems dehydrated, or you suspect a health problem, please contact a certified professional.

Help! My baby won't latch on to eat! Does this mean my baby is sick? Is my milk bad?

Sometimes, a baby will not latch because they are sick, but there are other reasons a baby may not be latching. It does NOT mean your milk is bad! Please contact one of the certified providers listed in our Resource Guide as soon as possible. Be prepared to describe the age of your baby, what you have tried already, what has and has not worked, and when your baby last ate. You may be asked for additional information about your baby and your nursing experience so far.

Help! My breasts don't feel like they used to! Does this mean my milk is gone?

In most cases, your breasts will continue to produce milk for as long as there is demand for milk. It is normal to experience changes in firmness and fullness at various points throughout the duration of milk production. Please read http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/basics/milkproduction-faq/#change for more information on these changes. If you are concerned that you may have a drop in supply, please read http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/low-supply/ or contact one of the certified providers listed in our Resource Guide.

I need help! What support and services are covered by my insurance?

Under the Affordable Care Act, Lactation Support Services and breast pumps should be covered by insurance, however, the exact coverage varies greatly depending on your plan and insurer. Follow the links on the Healthcare page then contact your insurer or Human Resources to find out what is covered.

I need help! What support and services are available if I don't have insurance?

There are lactation support services available for FREE or on a sliding scale based on what you can afford. Consider attending one of the support groups listed on the Events page. Support through La Leche League is always FREE. If you qualify for WIC, you can get FREE support and services. There are several other breastfeeding helplines listed in our Resource Guide that will provide lactation advice and support for FREE. Contact the hospital you delivered at or your pediatrician's office to find out what lactation supports are available to you, they are often either FREE or can be provided at a reduced cost. Contact the other certfied professionals listed in the Resource Guide to find out if they can provide you with the support and services you need at a reduced cost.

Can I keep nursing my baby if I'm sick?

In most cases, yes, but please read http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/illness-surgery/mom-illness/ or check with a certified professional for more information on your specific illness.

I need to take medication. Can I keep nursing? Will the medication affect my baby or my milk supply? Do I need to "pump and dump" my milk while on the medication? Do I need to stop nursing completely?

You may find that the Infant Risk Center website, MommyMeds and LactMed apps contain the information you need to have an informed conversation with a doctor, pharmacist, or certified lactation professional regarding your specific case. Not all medical professionals are experts on the safety of medications while breastfeeding.

My family and friends are telling me that I should feed my baby formula. What should I do?

The decision on how to feed your baby should be made by YOU. Successful breastfeeding is almost always possible with adequate support. Consider attending one of the support groups listed on our Events page. Please contact one of the certified providers listed in our Resource Guide to discuss any specific concerns you may have.

I need to travel by air. Can I bring breastmilk and a pump? What do I need to know about getting through security at the airport?

Yes, you can bring both. Please visit http://www.tsa.gov/traveling-formula-breast-milk-and-juice for current information.

I'm going to another state with my breastfeeding child. Is breastfeeding in public protected there?

Forty-nine states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have laws that specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location. Please visit http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx for more information on the laws in those locations.

I'm going back to work soon. Will I be allowed to pump at work?

In most cases, pumping at work is protected by federal law. Contact your supervisor and Human Resources as soon as possible to discuss arrangements and accommodations regarding your pumping schedule and location. Follow the links on the Employers and Legal Rights pages for more information. For support and information to help you pump at work, check out http://www.workandpump.com

I pumped milk, but now It's don't know how to store it. How long can I keep it before it "goes bad?"

Breastmilk is very easy to store and is still good for hours, days, or even up to a year if properly stored. Please read http://www.llli.org/faq/milkstorage.html or http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/milkstorage/milkstorage/ for more details on proper milk storage.

Does breastmilk require special handling procedures because it is a bodily fluid?

Not exactly. Yes, it is a bodily fluid. However, cow's milk is a bodily fluid too. Eggs and meat are also body products. In general, following good food safety procedures is sufficient for breastmilk as well. For more information, follow the milk storage links above and check out the CDC's guidance regarding handling of breastmilk, quoted below.

CDC does not list human breast milk as a body fluid for which most healthcare personnel should use special handling precautions. Occupational exposure to human breast milk has not been shown to lead to transmission of HIV or HBV infection. However, because human breast milk has been implicated in transmitting HIV from mother to infant, gloves may be worn as a precaution by health care workers who are frequently exposed to breast milk (e.g., persons working in human milk banks).

For additional information regarding Universal Precautions as they apply to breast milk in the transmission of HIV and Hepatitis B infections, visit the following resources:

    • Perspectives in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Update: Universal Precautions for Prevention of Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Hepatitis B Virus, and Other Bloodborne Pathogens in Health-Care Settings. MMWR June 24, 1988, 37(24):377–388.
    • CDC. Recommendations for prevention of HIV transmission in health-care settings. MMWR1987, 36 (supplement no. 2S):1–18S.

If you have a question that you don't see here, please email lehighvalleybreastfeeding@gmail.com