Breastfeeding doesn't always just happen. In fact, it can be hard at first. That's why it's good to learn as much as you can before the baby gets here.
A "good latch"
Getting your baby to latch on the right way is one of the best things you can do from the beginning.
- It will help you avoid sore nipples
- It will make sure that your baby gets plenty of milk
Tips for getting a good latch
- Hold your breast with your free hand, thumb above the nipple and your other fingers below your nipple
- Your thumb and index finger should form a "C" over your nipple
- Gently touch your baby's lips with your nipple
- When he or she opens his or her mouth, put your nipple in his or her mouth and bring the baby closer to you
- Hold your breast until you're sure the baby has latched on
- Your whole nipple and an inch of your areola (the part around the nipple) should be in his or her mouth
No one position works for everyone, so you will want to try until you find the ones that work best for you. If you can't find a good position, keep in mind that comfort and being relaxed are two keys to successful breastfeeding. Some good positions are:
The cradle hold
- Sit in a chair with armrests or stack pillows under your arm
- Rest your feet on a footstool or ottoman
- Hold your baby on your lap, lying on his or her side with face and tummy facing you
- Tuck the baby's bottom arm under your arm and gently move him or her until the baby is resting on your forearm
- Your hand should support his or her back and bottom
- Line his or her nose and mouth up with your nipple
- Try to get your baby to latch on as described above
The football hold works well if you had a C-section
- Sit in bed (or in an armchair) and wedge a pillow behind your back; also put one on your lap
- Position your baby next to you on the side you are nursing from, cupping the back of his or her neck in the same hand
- Position his or her legs so they are tucked between your arm and your side, toward the back of the bed
Side-lying hold is a great position for nursing in bed.
- Put one or two pillows under your head
- Put your baby on his or her side until facing you, cradle him or her in your arm and position him or her so the mouth is right in front of your nipple
- Pull your baby in close to you and follow the steps above to get your baby to latch on
Talk to a lactation expert, nursing groups like La Leche League International and other nursing moms.
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