Breastfeeding is a completely natural process but that doesn’t mean it is an easy one. Learning to breastfeed takes time because your new baby is trying to figure things out, too. Even if it does take a little work to get mommy and baby on the same page, learning out how to breastfeed a baby for the first time is a rewarding experience and a responsibility that you will be glad you accepted. How to breastfeed? Don’t worry, once you get the steps down things will go smoothly, so you both can enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding.
How To Breastfeed Your Newborn Baby And Enjoy Motherhood
In this article:
- 1. Get Comfortable
- 2. Position the Baby
- 3. Give the Baby a Tickle
- 4. Get a Good Latch
- 5. Troubleshooting the Latch
1. Get Comfortable
The first step is to find a comfortable place to sit. This is something you can do even before the baby is born. Set up several breastfeeding stations around your home, so there is always a place nearby for you and the newborn to relax.
Make sure you have the necessary supplies before you start, so you don’t have to interrupt the feeding. You need things like a baby blanket and maybe wipes or a washcloth. Have stuff there for you, too, such as a glass of water and a pillow for your head.
2. Position the Baby
When it comes to breastfeeding, you want skin-to-skin contact. Lay your baby down on your bare tummy with the head resting between your breasts. The combination of being next to your skin and feeling that warmth plus your breasts against the face work to tell a new baby that it is time to enjoy some breast milk.
3. Give the Baby a Tickle
Ticking the lips is a classic move to get the baby to open wide. Your goal is to get what lactation specialists call a good latch — that is the connection between the baby’s mouth and your breast. With one hand, support the back of the baby’s head. Use the other one to hold your breast and tickle the baby’s lips with the nipple.
4. Get a Good Latch
When the mouth falls open, gently press the baby’s head into your breast. Bring the baby to you, don’t lean forward to make that connection. Push your full nipple into the baby’s mouth while you guide the head closer towards you. You’ll see everything from the nose to the chin touch your body.
When you feel your breast pull inward, you have a good latch. If the baby’s tongue rests on the tip of your nipple but there is no pull, you are not quite there yet. Move the breast around a little and if you don’t get a latch, pull it out and try again.
5. Troubleshooting the Latch
Check to make sure the entire nipple going into the baby’s mouth. The glands that produce milk are behind the dark circle, or nipple, on your breast, so you need the whole thing in there to stimulate milk production. Without milk, a new baby may not know to latch.
If you are struggling to get the nipple in, cup one hand under the breast with the other holding the baby’s head. The baby’s body should be securely nestled on your tummy. Squeeze your breast with your hand almost like you are squeezing a bottle. This move pushes the nipple out and flattens the breast, giving the baby a smaller, more manageable bit.
It may take several attempts to get a good latch, but it is important to keep trying. The latching process ensures the baby gets good milk flow and is comfortable during feeding. If you are struggling, start from the beginning with the other breast. You might consider switching your positions, too. If you are sitting, try lying down with a few pillows to prop you up. It is possible your baby might prefer it that way.
Now that you know how to breastfeed, find out more hacks to help you with your new born:
The sooner you start breastfeeding a newborn, the better. Ideally, the baby will eat every few hours in the beginning. If nothing seems to work to get your baby to latch, take a break but don’t give up. If you are feeling the stress of trying to breastfeed, talk to your family and friends. Breastfeeding is the gold standard for newborns and new mom’s, so it is worth the effort.
Do you have other tips on breastfeeding for beginners? Let us know in the comments section below.