If you’ve never tried it before, it’s only natural to wonder how you’ll do with breastfeeding. Here are a few practical tips for beginners.
Arm and back support. Before you feed, make sure you’re seated comfortably with full support for your back, feet and arms. Use a breastfeeding pillow or other firm, thick pillow to help support the baby’s weight. She’ll seem very light at first, but after 20 minutes she’ll feel a lot heavier!
Make the nipple sandwich. Compress the entire dark part of your nipple with your thumb on top and fingers underneath. Tickle baby's mouth with your nipple so her mouth will reflexively open and then stuff the whole nipple sandwich as far back into her mouth as you can. The object is to get the “sprinkler” part of your nipple to the very back of her tongue. You’ll know you’re positioned right when the baby’s mouth makes a tight seal around almost all of the dark part of your nipple.
Take your time. In the first weeks, you can’t feed too often or for too long. Let your baby feed on demand and for as long as she wants on each side. It can take a newborn as long as 30 minutes a side to get enough, and she will probably need to feed every one to three hours. Once you and baby get the hang of it, feedings will naturally start to get faster and further apart.
Count diapers. There’s no simple way to tell exactly how much milk a breastfed baby gets at a feed, but you’ll know your baby’s getting enough if you see her jaw moving and hear her swallowing, if she produces at least six wet diapers every 24 hours and if she’s gaining weight at a rate of at least a half-ounce per day.
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