How to breastfeed...

 

You and your baby will need to experiment to find which way works best. Your baby should be awake and alert and ready to feed. This may take some time, so don't be discouraged if all doesn't go well the first time around.

1.    Get comfortable. Try either lying on your side or sitting up with your back supported well. Whatever position you choose, try not to lean forward to put your nipple in baby's mouth. This will become uncomfortable very soon and you need to keep this position until baby is finished feeding.

2.    Cradle your baby in your arm so that his whole body is facing you. If you are sitting, placing a pillow in your lap will help position baby's mouth closer to your nipple.

3.    Support your breast with your free hand. Place the palm of your hand just below your breast on your rib cage and place your thumb on top.

4.    Bring the nipple towards baby's cheek so that it brushes the corner of his mouth. This will stimulate the rooting reflex and make baby turn towards this touch. Bring baby to your breast rather than your breast to baby.

5.    As he opens his mouth, lift your breast upward and pull baby in so that he can "latch on" to your nipple. Make sure he grasps all of the nipple and some of the aerola in his mouth. Sucking on just the nipple will make your nipples sore. His chin and nose should be nuzzled close to your breast.

6.    You may need to repeat these steps a few times before your baby latches on correctly. The most critical factor in nipple soreness is the baby's latch. When the baby latches on correctly, soreness is rarely a serious problem.

7.    Let your baby suckle at the first breast for as long as she wishes (at least 10 to 15 minutes), and then offer the second breast. During the first feeding after birth, the let down reflex may not take place for 3 minutes or more after you begin the feeding. Once breastfeeding is established, the let-down occurs within seconds after the baby begins to suckle.

8.    When your baby finishes at the first breast she will stop sucking and release the breast. If you need to take the baby off of the breast, simply place your finger in the corner of her mouth until you break the suction.

9.    Burp the baby, but do not be concerned if the baby doesn't burp until your milk comes in. (see chapter on burping your baby for more information).

10.  Allow your baby to nurse from the other breast. At each feeding you should alternate breasts because baby will not nurse as much on the second breast as she does on the first.

11.  When you are finished with the feeding, pat your nipples dry and expose them to the air for a few minutes. This will help to toughen them and eleviate any soreness.

12.  Once you milk has come in you should nurse often encouraging baby to nurse from both breasts. If there is any milk left after baby is through with her feeding, you should try to express the remainder. This milk supply can be saved in the refrigerator or freezer for future feedings.