How to Breastfeed Your Baby

Several new mothers are unaware that successful breastfeeding does not have a lot to do with the way you sit (or lie back). The most important thing is to be comfortable so that your baby can easily latch on and get feed from your breast.

For some mothers, the initial few breastfeeding days or weeks can be quite challenging. By working on the right latching-on technique, you can make breastfeeding a smooth process for you and your baby.

Step-by-step guide for breastfeeding

1. Position
When you’re just starting to breastfeed, it is a good idea to lie back or sit in way that the back gets support and you are comfortable. Then raise your knees or feet if required. For those who prefer to sit up, the use of a pillow is recommended as it will take your baby’s weight and free your forearms from additional work.

2. Latching
All experienced lactation consultants will give you one common piece of advice: It’s all about latching. So here is how you can get your baby to latch on to your breast correctly.

The babies need to be positioned on their side so that they can face the mother directly. The belly of the baby should be touching the mother’s belly. You can use the pillow for propping up your little one (if required) and hold him/her up the breast. There is no need to lean over the baby.
You need to put your fingers and thumb around the areola and tilt the head of the baby slightly backwards. Tickle the baby’s lips using your nipple till he/she finally opens a wide mouth. Support the baby in “scooping” your breast into his/her mouth. This can be done by first placing the lower jaw followed by the nipple.
Remember, the baby’s nose (not mouth) needs to be parallel to the nipple. It offers room to the baby to tilt the head back right before latching onto the nipple.

Benefits of correct latching
Why is it important for your baby to open a big mouth when trying to latch on? Well, this way the baby can draw on to the mother’s breast deeply into his/her mouth. So the nipple will reach the back of the baby’s mouth and touch the softer area, instead of the hard mouth roof.
With the correct latching, a baby is equipped to utilize his/her tongue easily and rhythmically, aligned with the breast’s under-surface. This action helps in the removal of milk from ducts.

Quick tips for breastfeeding
Here are a few quick tips to help ease the process of breastfeeding in the initial days.

  • Place your palm at the back of the baby’s shoulders. The thumb and index finger should be behind the baby’s ears.
  • You can gently cradle the baby's head using your hand and guide the baby with the hand heel.
  •  Buy breast pumps for feeding. These are easily available in all mom and baby supply stores. These can be covered by your medical insurance plan.

Article Reviewed By Crystal Ibetoh MD, MBA reviews each article and ensures the accuracy of the health information. Dr. Ibetoh has strong medical interests in women's health and preventative medicine. She is also a mother of three and uses her medical expertise in addition to personal experience to provide advice about breastfeeding.

*The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding breastfeeding.*

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