Techniques for the Breastfeeding Mother

The way your baby "latches on," or attaches to your breast, is one of the most important things to master for successful breastfeeding. Making sure your baby correctly latches on will help prevent or minimize sore nipples. Gently lift and support your breast, with your fingers below the breast and your thumb above, well away from the areola (the dark area around your nipple). Gently stroke your baby's bottom lip with your nipple in a downward motion several times. Pause to see if he will open his mouth. Repeat this until your baby opens his mouth very wide. Then quickly pull him onto your breast so that his nose, cheeks, and chin are all touching the breast. Most of your areola should be in the baby's mouth. If your nipples become sore as the feeding continues, remove your baby from your breast, after breaking the suction, and try reattaching him. You should call our staff if you develop sore nipples.

When you breastfeed in the sitting position, hold your baby on his side facing your breast, with the baby's lower arm tucked around your waist. Your baby's face, tummy and knees should be facing you, in a snug tummy-to-tummy position. If his nose is blocked, pull his bottom upward and closer to you so his head will move back slightly.

Alternate the breast offered first at each feeding. Babies should be offered both breasts at each feeding. When your baby loses interest in the first breast, stop and burp him. Then offer the second breast for as long as you both want. Generally, most newborns should feed for a least 10 minutes and they should be able to complete a feeding in about 60 minutes or less. To change breasts, put your finger into the corner of the baby's mouth between the gums, and he will open his mouth, releasing the suction. Let your breast completely air-dry after nursing.

Check the information below for signs that your baby is getting enough breast milk Please call our office if you are concerned that your baby is not feeding well, or if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or just unsure about the breastfeeding process. Getting help early will often prevent problems from developing.

If you need to be separated from your baby at feeding time, once breastfeeding is well established, you can leave behind a bottle of milk that you express from your breasts. You can express breast milk by hand, or by using a breast pump (click here for more information). If one is needed, our staff can refer you to a lactation consultant for assistance in selecting and renting or purchasing a breast pump.

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