Breastfeeding How To
So you’ve read my Introduction to Breastfeeding How To page, and you’re ready for the essential Breastfeeding How To! Below is my comprehensive step-by-step Breastfeeding How To guide with diagrams to help you through it!
Breastfeeding How To | The Essential Guide On How To Breast Feed
- The most important tip for a breastfeeding how to: RELAX! It’s really important that you are relaxed for the experience. The let-down process has been proven to be stalled by stress and anxiety. Whats more, babies can actually sense when their mums are stressed, so it doesn’t do any good for your bub either. Relax and enjoy the experience.
- Choose a comfortable place to sit where your back is supported, ensure that you are not leaning back (a pillow behind your back may help). You may also wish to elevate your feet. Place a pillow on your lap. Make sure that anything you may need is in easy reach (water, phone, remote, burping cloth, etc.).
- Hold your baby across your body (cross handle hold*) using the pillow to support the baby’s weight. Unwrap your baby and turn her onto her side so you are chest to chest and her head is level with your breast. Tuck your baby’s lower arm around your waist and her feet around your other side. Support your baby’s head with your hand by placing your palm between her shoulder blades and use your thumb and index finger behind her ears. If your baby is feeding from the right breast then you should support her shoulders with your left hand and position your breast with your right hand.
- Holding your breast like a sandwich (flattening it slightly), bring your baby to the breast with her head tilted slightly back, leading with their chin. Her nose should be level with your nipple. Stroke her cheek and then lips with your nipple in a downwards motion. This encourages the baby’s ‘rooting’ reflex, this should cause her to open her mouth wide and this helps achieve correct attachment. Squeezing a little milk from your breast will encourage this more. Your focus should be on your baby dropping her bottom lip.
- Once your baby has begun to open her mouth wide quickly bring the baby’s mouth onto your nipple. Ensure you bring the baby to the breast not the breast to the baby. Aim your nipple at the roof of the baby’s mouth. The idea is to have your baby’s bottom lip and tongue reach the breast first and touch your breast as far from the base of the nipple as possible. Your baby should take a large mouth full of the breast. Both the nipple and the areola (the coloured skin around the nipple) should be in her mouth. You should be able to see more of the areola above her mouth than below it.
- Your baby’s jaw will begin to move up and down as she rhythmically sucks drawing the milk down. The baby will suck rapidly at first and then settle into a slower deeper sucking pattern. Check that your baby’s chin has made contact with your breast and that her nose is clear or only just touching the breast and that her lips are not ‘sucked in’. If you feel comfortable draw your baby in closer and try to relax. You can now hold her however you feel comfortable. Take a deep breath and relax your arms and shoulders, you may even wish to lean back now. This will help you to release or ‘let down’ your milk. Taking a drink of cold water may also help. You might feel anything from a pinching to a tingling sensation when let down occurs, as the muscles around the alveoli contract releasing the milk flow. Your baby may pull away from the breast when this occurs as the milk can flow very quickly. Simply re-attach your baby and continue feeding. She will become used to this over time!
- Your baby may fall asleep at the breast, after all, drinking is hard work for a newborn. To ensure she gets a full feed stroke your baby’s cheek to encourage her to keep feeding when she begins to doze off. If this does not work remove her from the breast by slipping a clean finger between her lips and your nipple, thus breaking the suction gently. Next burp her and change her nappy. This should wake her enough to be interested in feeding once more so you can offer the other breast. If she does not wish to continue feeding you should remember to note which side she has fed from and offer the other breast at the next feed to avoid engorgement and possible mastitis.
Keep a note pad beside you and after each feed note the duration, which breast the baby fed from and whether she had a wet or soiled nappy. Often in the first few months’ exhaustion can take hold and remembering all of these details can be difficult. There are bracelets and even Apps available which are specially made to help breastfeeding mothers keep track of feeds and other baby information!
Breastfeeding How To – Handy Hint #2
There are several ways to hold your baby while feeding. Over time you will find the most comfortable one for you and your baby.
Breastfeeding How To | Signs Of A Good Latch
The best way to ensure you are breastfeeding correctly is to ensure the baby is correctly latched.
Signs of a good latch:
- Feel is more important than look. If it feels right and you are not in any discomfort then you have probably got it right.
- Your baby is relaxed and content, not frowning or turning their head or flailing their arms.
- You can see and hear the baby sucking and swallowing.
- Your baby’s chin is touching your breast and her nose is clear of the breast.
- Your baby’s lips are turned out not in.
- You see little or no areola (depending of the size of your breast). If areola is showing, more should be seen above the baby’s lips than below them.
- When the feed ends your nipple should not be flat, compressed or blistered. It may look longer and rounder but should not look distorted.
We hope you enjoyed this breastfeeding how to page! I also found this great video if you wanted to see it done in person: Breastfeeding How To Video. If you’re done, please leave us your own personal breastfeeding how to tips in the comments section below! Otherwise please continue on with our About Breastfeeding Centre.
Although the information on this page includes well thought-out, educated opinions, and all care has been taken putting it together, it is intended to be a guide only, and is NOT intended to be medical or other professional advice. The information contained herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, and you should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional on all issues relating to you, your baby or otherwise. We, any of our related entities, the author, or any other person or entity associated with the creation of this page or website does not accept any liability for any loss of any nature whatsoever arising out of them, and none of those parties shall be held liable to any extent whatsoever for any such loss.